AN IDP ON THE BALLOT: The Example of Barnabas Nyator, Written by Rex Elanu


One of the events that put Nigeria on the map of countries at war, is the Herders/Farmers crises that took the North East and North Central by storm. The violence was purely a failure of governance as whereas Lake Chad has dried up, and herders embarked on a wild and ruthless exodus taking their cattles to find water, thereby displacing farmers and outrunning villages, settlements, and towns. Sadly, a vindictive and ethnicist government of impunity, led by General Muhammadu Buhari saw only anti-Fulanism. The president never saw solutions economically through ranches, but barbaric RUGA.

Also, outright failures in governance like Samuel Ortom heaped years of propaganda on the clashes as the reason for his failure to deliver on all the promises to build a new Benue through social welfare, planned subsistence agriculture, and Infrastructural advancements. What we got from Ortom in his eight years of failure is the real reason Benue people punished him at the polls.

In the midst of injustice, grief, pain and hardship, youths who had been at the center of such generational hazards never took the oppressions and hardships lying low. Benue youths and people have been resisting and organizing. Some of them in the worst conditions of living in Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps like Comrade Barnabas Nyitor took a courageous step to further the struggles and constant advocacies for good governance and social justice by contesting for the House of Assembly seat in Guma LGA of Benue state.

Barnabas is a person with disability, also an Internally Displaced Person (IDP), a human rights activist who has spent the last six years of his life in an IDP Camp in Daudu, Guma LGA. He has been a vocal advocate for human rights and social justice. From advocacies to protests, he has always stood up for justice, even with all the inconveniences associated with civil disobedience in Nigeria. On March 15, 2021 he led fellow comrades to join an AAC nationwide protest in Benue State, where the AAC protested the connivance of INEC in hijacking the Party, demanded the true independence of INEC, electronic and diaspora voting, and expressed its lack of confidence in the leadership of INEC amongst other issues.

This brilliant and courageous dude, on June 12, 2021, was arrested and detained by the Nigeria Police Force with 5 other comrades, for protesting against the incessant killings in Benue state, under the hashtag #BenueIsUnderAttack to mark the national Democracy Day.

In the same year, he participated in a protest to the National Directorate of Employment (NDE) when people living with disabilities in Benue state were denied their statutory job slots from a national program which was meant to empower youths across the 774 LGAs in Nigeria.

His dogged advocacy for the Internally Displaced Persons in Benue state caused him to be invited to Abuja by the United Nations High Commissioners For Refugees (UNHCR,) to discuss critical issues concerning IDP rights in a program they organised. His contributions and active participation distinguished him to be chosen as a signatory representing IDPs in Nigeria on the communique of that meeting.
Even within the IDP Camp where he resides, he has been able to attract a number of free medical outreaches to his camp, as well as a solar power installation for lighting and charging points for devices. One of the programs had 20 women trained in bead making. He is also a volunteer teacher in the primary school within the IDP camp.
Being a member of the ‘Take It Back’ movement, #RevolutionNow movement and the African Action Congress (AAC), he leveraged on the policy of AAC that offers free forms to people living with disabilities, teachers, students, emergency workers amongst others who wish to contest elections. His political ambition to represent his constituency at the State House of Assembly represents genuine hope for the downtrodden in Guma LGA, especially the abandoned IDPs. His proven commitment and integrity in fighting for the rights and welfare of IDPs, Persons with disabilities and even the general public is a testimony to how relevant his presence in the State Assembly will be.

His manifesto focuses on advocating and legislating resolutions for fundamental issues such as:

  1. Insecurity
  2. Refusal to domesticate Disability Act in Benue State
  3. Boundary Demarcation (Benue/Nasarawa)
  4. Free education, skill acquisition and empowerment.
  5. Free medical care for nursing mothers and children from 0-5years.
  6. Governance accountability.

He has also promised to support the cultivation of 10 hectares of land (Cluster farming) in each of the six council wards in Guma LGA.
The candidature of Comrade Barnabas Nyitor is an opportunity for the common and vulnerable people of Guma to change their situation for good, by voting one of them who has always stood up for their rights and wellbeing, and not those who only show up every four years to deceive and enslave the constituents.

All lovers of justice and democracy should be a part of this success story and revolutionary victory, as we support, pray and vote for Barnabas in the 2023 House of Assembly election (Guma Constituency, Benue State).
The people of Guma LGA deserve true and conscious representation, one that sincerely speaks for them and uphold their interest, one that they can always hold responsible and accountable. March 18th is another day to write history. Let’s us repay hardwork, honesty, and consistency with Legislative responsibility. Barnabas is the voice of the Guma IDP, even when not contesting, the people will be more proud to vote their chosen servant formally. There is an IDP on the ballot. It’s time to displacing impunity. Another Guma is very possible!

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