A recent press conference, orchestrated by prominent Idoma elites aligned with the All Progressives Congress (APC), has ignited a crucial discussion surrounding the marginalisation experienced by the Idoma community within Benue State. Particularly concerning is the disparity in representation when compared to the dominant Tiv population. Chief Audu Ogbe, the former Minister for Agriculture, pointedly highlighted the absence of an Idoma governor since the state’s inception in 1978.
The sentiments expressed by Chief Ogbe found resonance with Air Vice Marshal Monday Morgan, Rtd., leader of the Benue Rebirth Movement. He underscored the prevailing lack of Idoma representation within the current Benue Government, where key positions are predominantly held by individuals of Tiv ethnicity.
This situation has reignited the discourse on the potential creation of Apa State. This proposed political entity seeks to address the marginalisation faced by the Idomoid-speaking population situated in Zone C of Benue State. Apa State would share boundaries with Nasarawa, Benue, Kogi, Enugu, Ebonyi, and Cross River States.
A vocal advocate for Apa State, John Amuche Abbah, outlined compelling reasons for its necessity. These encompass empowering the Idoma people with a stronger political voice, safeguarding their rich cultural heritage, and harnessing the region’s abundant resources for development.
At the heart of the Apa State movement lies a historical pattern of marginalisation stemming from the establishment of Benue State in 1976. Lingering tensions between the Idoma and Tiv communities have significantly contributed to this sentiment.
A range of factors, including disputes over federal appointments, university admissions, and infrastructure development, have further fueled the demand for Apa State. The recent construction of the Loko-Oweto bridge, bypassing Makurdi to link Nasarawa State with Benue State’s southern zone, is perceived as a tangible sign of growing disconnection between the Idoma and the rest of Benue State.
On the industrial front, proponents of Apa State underscore the untapped potential of mineral resources within the Idoma region, which encompass coal, limestone, and fertile agricultural land. The prospect of economic growth through agriculture and natural resources further bolsters the appeal of the proposed state.
Despite previous efforts to establish Apa State during the Abacha and Jonathan administrations, the aspiration remains unfulfilled. Nevertheless, proponents maintain an optimistic outlook, believing that the unwavering determination of the Idoma people, combined with shifting political dynamics, will eventually pave the way for the creation of Apa State.
In conclusion, the vision for Apa State as a remedy to the marginalisation experienced by the Idoma community within Benue State persists with resilience. Driven by a deep-seated desire for enhanced political representation, the preservation of their cultural identity, and the economic prosperity of the Idoma people, advocates persistently champion this cause.