Value Shift in Tivland as Intellectual Emerges King
Contrary to the tendency for retired military officers or technocrats to clinch the traditional ruler position of many cultural communities in contemporary Nigeria, an intellectual has emerged the fifth Tor Tiv. It is not a common practice across Nigeria. The impact remains to be seen but, on the surface, the process speaks to a value shift reflect in favour of intellect although cultural considerations might have decided his fortune. Professor James Ayatse who emerged the fifth Tor Tiv, the leading traditional ruler in Tivland, holds a PhD in Biochemistry from the University of Surrey in the UK. He has been Vice-Chancellor at two Nigerian universities.
To be now known and called Orchivirigh Professor James Ornguga Ayatse, Tor Tiv the 5th, Ayatse is succeeding the late Alfred Akawe Torkula who died on the throne in November 2015. He was on the throne from 1991. Dr Torkula who also held a PhD was, however, a technocrat, not an academic. Interestingly, another professor and former Vice-Chancellor of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria equally contested the seat but lost along with two others, one of them a businessman.
The announcement of the outcome of the election on Radio Benue in the 3 p.m news yesterday is said to have caught everyone unaware because only recently the state governor, Samuel Ortom, urged the Tiv Traditional Council to be done with the selection of the new Tor Tiv by December 20th. Nobody knew it would be done with as to be announced exactly by December 20th. This is more so as there were still permutations being speculated but which the announcement has now put paid to. Whatever the case, the emergence of a Philosopher-king carries with it huge expectations in critical oversight in moral health of the larger Benue, especially management of communal security and inter-group relations. Such expectations put the new Tor Tiv in the public gaze for professorial level performance.