Ortom Lauds Buhari For Immortalizing Tarka, Says Honour ‘Well Deserved’

Following the renaming of the Federal University of Agriculture, UNIAGRIC, Makurdi to Joseph Sarwuan Tarka University, Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom has lauded President Muhammadu Buhari for the approval.


Recall that Buhari while signing the Nigerian Correctional Service Bill into law yesterday also approved a change of name for the institution.

The statement by Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters (Senate), Ita Enang said the new name for the institution is Joseph Sarwuan Tarka University, Makurdi.

The approval follows the president’s decision to sign a bill amending the law that set up the university.

Ortom who gave the commendation while addressing journalists at the Benue Peoples House, Makurdi said Senator Tarka left indelible footprints on the political and economic landscape of the country.

He said the late Tarka deserved the honour as it has been done to other notable sons and daughters of nation.


“Today, the likes of Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Nnamdi Azikiwe, Sardauna of Sokoto, Sir Ahmadu Bello and several other heroes of our land have been immortalized and so we appreciate Mr. President for honouring our great son”, he stated.

While also commending the National Assembly for passing the bill which sought to effect the institution’s name change, Ortom particulary commended the member representing Gboko/Tarka Federal Constituency, John Dyegh who sponsored the bill.

“We appreciate Rt. Hon. John Dyegh for reminding the entire nation and the President that there was the need to immortalize our father and hero of this land,” the Governor stated.

He further commended the president for the ban on the importation of agricultural produce, stressing that the decision would benefit farmers across the country as returns on investments in agriculture would also increase.

Joseph Sarwuan Tarka


Senator Joseph Sarwuan Tarka, popularly referred to as JS Tarka was a Nigerian Politician from Benue State who lived between 1932–1980. He was former minister for Transport and then Communications under General Yakubu Gowon. He was also one of the founding members of the United Middle Belt Congress, UMBC a political organization dedicated to protecting and advocating for the country’s Middle Belt.

He was elected to represent Jemgba constituency in the House of Representatives in 1954. He emerged president of UMBC in 1957. He was appointed a shadow minister of commerce in 1958.

Tarka’s UMBC contested the pre-independence election of 1959 and the subsequent election of 1963 against the Northern People’s Congress. Both elections led to violence in the Middle Belt, which contributed to the Major Chukwuma Kaduna Nzeogwu’s inspired military take-over on January 15, 1966.

Tarka was reelected in 1959. In 1962, along with other Action Group leaders, he was arrested on charges of treasonable felony but was acquitted for lack of evidence.

After General Gowon took charge in August 1966, Tarka was appointed Federal Commissioner of Transport and then of Communications, resigning in 1974 after allegations of corruption from a fellow-Tiv named Godwin Daboh were published. Daboh’s action was allegedly instigated by Paul Unongo and Benue-Plateau State Governor Joseph Gomwalk and a police probe into the allegations was led by Sunday Adewusi.

In the lead-up to restoration of democracy with the Nigerian Second Republic, Tarka aligned with northern politicians to form the National Party of Nigeria, on which platform he unsuccessfully competed in the Presidential elections. He was elected Senator for Benue East in 1979, and was appointed chairman of the Senate Committee on Finance and Appropriation, a position he held when he died on 30 March 1980, aged 48.


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