Tiv song and music have come to play important roles in Benue politics.
The late legendary composer and entertainer, Akile Bende, told me that it was the late Ugoo Iwoo who had advised Senator Sarwuan Tarka to utilize traditional folk songs and music in political mobilization and campaigns and that he obliged.
That was in the late fifties.
Since then Tiv folk song and music have become an integral part of the political process in the state throwing up various notable composers in the emerging dispensations.
In the second republic, Kor Tondo, alias One Nation, came to limelight as the composer of the ruling National Party of Nigeria, NPN, and the Benue State Governor, Aper Aku, while the late Faga Adinge held a similar position in the opposition Nigeria Peoples Party, led by Wantagh Paul Unongo.
The current political dispensation which was inaugurated in 1999 has also thrown up many composers with Gabon Akuhe and T K Baba holding sway in the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and the opposition All Peoples Congress, APC.
The next dispensation has also started breeding its major actors in folk political entertainment.
In the Ortom camp alone ten noble composers have registered their presence.
These include Damsy Kaha from Ukum, Atim Ate, Katsina-Ala, Thaddeus Tsaga, and Victor Ukuma, from Guma, Aga Anikpa, Kwande, and the late Gabriel Anyiman from Konshisha.
Others are Ukeyima Nyibiam, Gwer West, Aso Mbadam and Abughdyer Number 2, from Gboko as well as Tersoo Anongo Data from Vandeikya.
The Five Star band of Gboko have also produced an album on Chief Dr Ortom.
All the compositions have extolled the leadership qualities of the former Minister, his experience in politics and governance at all levels as well as contributions to the socio-economic development of the state through the Oracle conglomerate and its foundation.
They appeal to the people to give him the mandate more so as according to them he would govern with the fear of God and promote peace and unity.
The most prolific in the pack is Tsaga, Chief Dr Ortom’s kinsman from Nzorov, Guma local government area.
So far he has produced nine volumes of albums on Chief Dr Ortom and his aspiration.
The songs are captivating even to those who do not understand what the ryrics are saying.
Here is a sample:
“Wan u Adaga oo,
ka m lu wou u dedoo a ior cii la,
i lu u akor a saa u ken ityumbe ga yee;
Wan u Adaga oo nomou ngu a ieren i doon,
Ayaba na iyol na ior mba tsuan anyi kpa ve ye Ayaba cii ye. “
The daughter of Adaga (Mrs. Eunice Ortom)
it’s your good relationship with the people,
that makes your seed yams to finish from the barn;
The daughter of Adaga,
your husband has good behavior,
the banana has softened itself so that even the toothless can chew it.”
Download or play some of these songs at https://samuelortom.com/campaign-music/