By James Ibechi
Born Egbe Emmanuel Ijuo, he is popularly known among his peers and friends as Armstrong.
This budding and suave up-looking young man would in Nigerian parlance ordinarily be
referred to as ‘nobody’ or hardly be known in the state’s political turf.
Neither would he be a promising young person to watch among the people that matter in his own clime, as he presently is.
A young chap such as Armstrong truly could be nobody necessarily because he is of Igede, a tribe and a place relegated to the backwaters of the state politics by the two dominant tribes, Idoma and Tiv who constitute the first-two of the three parts of the triumvirate – Igede being the third – around which the state power is supposed to ordinarily revolve.
But which is not seen to be happening because the major tribes won’t let Igede.
Second reason a person of Armstrong’s origin can hardly become anybody in Benue is because the political structures of the state in terms of recruitment, powerbase and ideological postulations are still basically tribal and primordial; so that the powers that be still appropriate the distribution of opportunities, wealth along tribal, majority and minority line, leaving merit, equity and federal character to suffer jettison.
Tell me, how then can somebody of Armstrong’s ethnic background become somebody in the state? This could be the reason erudite Prof Ode Ojowu once wrote: “The only tool in the hands of the minority tribe like Igede is education because that of number they never have.” Ojowu, therefore, exhorted Igede people to get education.
Armstrong might not be politically there yet, neither is he economically arrived, but his story is a very interesting one.
In the build up to the 2015 governorship election in the state, a leading aspirant, Emmanuel Jime of then Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) before it became All Progressives Congress (APC), came all the way from Tiv land and appointed Armstrong from Igede the publicity secretary of his campaign organization.
Not only that, the former guber aspirant added a Jeep, not merely to enable Armstrong carry out his duties, but essentially to decorate and add colour to his life, which goes to provide an insight into a kind of leadership Benue people would have enjoyed in Jime governorship. That perhaps explains why onto today, Armstrong remains a diehard follower of the ex-guber aspirant.
So, Jime farmed out Armstrong from among Igede youths, found some good attributes in him worthy of recognition, dusted and brought him to limelight as one of a good youth leaders in Igedeland.
The young man is hardworking, respects elders. He is zero-tolerant on imposition of candidates and said to be one of the leading figures who led the protest vote that sent Adoga Ona to the state House of Assembly against the ruling party’s candidate in the past. He is successfully established in business.
Fast track to 2017, Igbo community in Igedeland, after observing Armstrong’s pedigree decided to honour him with a most revered tiltle of Aka Ekpuchi Onwa, recently.
Jime’s impact on the life of Armstrong combined with the chieftaincy award conferred on him by the Eze Indigbo, has thrown the Igede youth leader deeper into limelight and when he posts on facebook he commands large followrship.
Born on August 2, 1983 to the family Mr/Mrs Daniel Ijuoh of Okpodom-Ega, Okileme in Ibilla Council Ward, Oju Local Government area of Benue State, Armstrong started out at Army Children School, Bori Camp, PH, River State.
He Proceeded to Garden City Commercial and Technical College, but on his father’s retirement from the Nigeria Army, he completed his secondary education at the Igede Community Secondary School, Okileme, Ibilla, Oju LGA of Benue State.
On completion of his secondary education, he got admission to the Benue State College of Education, Oju. Armstrong a youth leader and mobilizer, is the President of the Oju LG Township Youths; President Liberal Club Int’l and member of so many organizations.
As already stated above, but for emphasis, he is a politician and a grassroots mobilizer. He was Director, Media to the Defunct Emmanuel Jime Campaign Organization; Deputy Director, Media Dan Onjeh Campaign Organization an Executive at ward level.
Armstrong is the MD/CEO, Armstrong Ventures International. He has so many awards to his credit.