A larger majority of the people went through winding drudgery, but kept their fate in their hands since no one was willing to give genuine and free assistance.
Admittedly, the struggle for a Middle-Belt region has been tough, rough and protracted.
Gladly, the prevailing political climate in the country has empowered a renewed awareness among the people of the region, who are now involved in their various groups fighting for the actualization of the region. The New Vision will endeavour to propagate the aspiration of the people of the region.
We will present issues in their real perspectives without playing to the gallery. We shall call a spade a spade and every comment will be backed with salient facts and will maintain an abiding principle, which will be for the good of the majority of the masses. We shall not compromise our stand.
One could only kill someone with an idea, but cannot kill the idea with him; which is why the good work started by the great Joseph Tarka and other compatriots is now coming to fruition.
But, Tarka was not an ordinary man. He was a man of superior courage, indefatigable in zeal, tenacious in purpose and very steadfast in resolve. By 1967, Tarka’s vision was realized when Nigeria was restructured into twelve states by the Gowon Administration, by which act the subservient status of the Middle-Belt came to an end, and the light and dawn of liberty was kindled, never to be extinguished! Glory be to Almighty God.
The article you are reading now is part of the resurgence of that spirit of freedom and liberty after a regrettable lull. The Middle-Belt has a great history of patriotism and a crystal clear identity.
We have pioneers such as late Pastor Lot, Mr. Patrick Dokotri, Da Vom, Chief Solomon Lar of Plateau, Joseph Tarka, George Ohikere, Joseph Ohiani, Kokori Abdul, Chief Ajayi of Kabba, J.S. Olawoyin of Kwara and a great many others.
What our elders started, our senior brother, Gen. Yakubu Gowon completed by the creation of 12 states in 1967! That reality is a legacy every Middle-Belter should be proud of.
We like to share with you, today, the sum total of our mission:
- To take our rightful place in the polity and commonwealth of Nigeria and to perform our duties and claim our rights arising therefrom accordingly;
- To resist and reject the evil of fiefdom in all its ramifications through dialogue, discourse and discuss, and by means of constructive engagement with authorities and even with those opposed to us.
- To abhor violence as a means of seeking redress, as much as it lies in our power, and to seek peace and pursue it, even if it costs trials and tribulations. The end-in-view to this non-violent posture is to maintain the political unity of the Middle-Belt and to enhance the economic growth of Nigeria in general, and the Middle-Belt Region in particular.
- As free citizens of Nigeria, we are entitled to be protected by the state. However, when attacked unprovoked in a barbaric and dehumanizing manner, to fight back as ferociously as our elders fought to help win the Nigerian Civil War some three decades ago. Every citizen is entitled to a minimum of self-defence – and Middle-Belters are not exception.
- All Middle-Belters are hereby reminded that the Middle-Belt is like an octopus. Put another way, the Region is as a body with many parts with each part playing its necessary and vital role for the health and wellbeing of the whole body. Tribes, tongues and faith may differ, but our goals and aspirations are the same – to liberate and develop the people and land of the Middle-Belt.
- To stretch forth hands of fellowship to other groups from across the length and breadth of Nigeria, whose aims and objectives are similar to ours in a joint resolve to achieve a structurally balanced, peaceful and progressive Nigeria! There shall be no compromise or negotiation on the resolve to fashion, nurture and sustain separate but decent identities for ourselves. To these aspirations we dedicate ourselves even as we commend same to you.
But rest assured of one: Our co-operation is yours for all time – in line with our aims and objectives. Great Middle-Belters – the task we have set for ourselves is by no means an easy one.
There are going to be traitors and saboteurs both amongst us and from our oppressors. This should not deter us at all as a decent future is the reward of the just. Please, share these words of God with us:
“When you go out to battle against your enemies and see horses and chariots and people more numerous than you, do not be afraid of them; for the Lord your God is with you, who brought you up from the land of Egypt.”
“Hear, O Middle-Belt; today you are on the verge of battle with your enemies. Do not let your heart faint; do not be afraid, and do not tremble or be terrified because of them; for the Lord your God is He who goes with you, to fight for you against your enemies, to save you,” Amen! (Deut. 20:1-4)
Join hands with us to mould a decent identity and a decent future for our children!