Protocol it is with utmost gratitude to God Almighty, who in His infinite mercy has made it possible for us to gather here to celebrate with the Berom nation the 2022 Nzem Berom Annual Cultural Festival. It is with humility that we are gathered here to be part of this 40th Anniversary of the festival, considering the fact that a good number of those sons and daughters that initiated this grand festival, and even some who were with us at the last edition in 2019 are today no more. They have succumbed to the cold hands of death through various means and particularly through the current, but most unfortunate security challenges the entire nation is going through.

May I at this juncture request that we all rise up to observe a minute silence in honour of those departed Souls as we pray for the repose of their souls. It is a thing of delight to again note that this annual festival which was started in 1981 serves as a grand finale of the various festivals that have always been held at the various Districts and even village levels, and serve to herald in the rains. Fortis reason, the Berom nation offer prayers to God Almighty for a generous raining season that will translate into a bounty harvest. It will also interest all to know that these prayers are not only for a bumper harvest, but first of all a prayer for procreation (population growth), then for the bumper harvest to feed the growing population and for game (yes, the Berom are also a hunter nation) for proteinous food and the skin of the animals used for clothing and for storage of food items. This explains the incantation you heard earlier that gave the go-ahead for the commencement of the festival.

Distinguished Chairman of the 2022 Nzem Berom Cultural Festival, Your Excellency, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr. Boss Mustapha, Your Excellency, the Executive Governor of Plateau State, Right Honourable Simon Bako Lalong, the Guest of Honor Your Majesty the Tor Tiv, distinguished invited guests, ladies and gentlemen, may Ion behalf of the Berom Nation warmly welcome you to the 2022 Nzem Berom Annual Cultural Festival and to appreciate you for honouring us with your presence. The theme for this year is Building the Present and Future: Activating the Economy and Politics in Beromland. This theme was carefully selected after a deep reflection on not only our culture, but in view of world developmental dynamics, our economic prospects and political trends as well as to chart a way forward in partnership with fellow Nigerians for the much-needed security and general development.

At this juncture, may I remind us all that there can not be physical security in the absence of economic security. This also goes to remind us of the fact that we really need to realistically reevaluate the way forward taking into cognizance the reality of our history, knowing very well that Nigeria is an amalgamation of divergent ethnic nationalities. It is often said that those who forget or do not know where they are coming from will not know exactly where to go. This could be achieved through dialogue taking note of the fact that God did not make mistake when He located each ethnic nationality as neighbours to one another. The whole nation today is in a frenzy with heightened political activities and movements as the reality of the 2023 general elections draw nearer. This frenzy comes with the unrealistic political promises and gimmicks that are used to lure the very impoverished voters, whose votes may at the end not even count.

May we at this point plead with the political class to water down the undue and in fact unnecessary tension and the worsening insecurity that comes with the advent of elections. We also wish to -emind government at all levels and fellow traditional rulers that at the end of it all, we shall give account of our stewardship to the Creator of the universe, whom we all claim to worship.

You all recall as earlier stated that, this festival serves to usher in the rainy season and prayers for bumper harvest. These can not be achieved as quite a number of farming communities have been displaced due to the insecurity starring us in the face and keep worsening by the day. Farmers can not till the ground and herders are also losing their animals by the day and the trend goes on and on. Internally Displaced Persons’ Camps are growing in all parts of the country and rapidly becoming dens of gross immorality, indecency and criminality.

May I use this opportunity to remind the Federal Government and the Inspector-General Police of their promise to setup a Mobile Police Base in Gashish District of Barkin Ladi Local Government Area of Plateau State, as this is yet to be actualized. The displaced natives of this district can not go back to their ancestral lands to pursue their agrarian vocation, raise and train their children since the security threats still exist in the area. We plead for reconsideration of this promise. May we all be reminded that land is the principal item of economic asset God bestowed on human beings and for the reason of peaceful existence allotted each nationality their territories and boundaries. This reality must be taken into consideration as we together chart the way forward in truth and spirit. God created man with a conscience and for relationships with Him as Creator and with one another as humanity. The concept of survival of the fittest has never being in the Creator’s equation. God is love.

Despite the numerous challenges, the Berom nation has decided to recognize past and present achievers and we have lined them up for various awards; most of which are in the posthumous

category. Also, the Berom nation has thought is well to set up a TRUST FUND under a foundation known as the “Wurom Legacy Trust Foundation” for the deliberate development of not only Berom Land, but for the benefit of all citizens resident within the Berom Chiefdom. For this reason, we shall also witness the Unveiling of the Trust Fund Logo. May I notify you that at a no distant future you will be once again invited for the official launching of this Fund accordingly.

Distinguished Guests here present, let me once more sincerely appreciate your patience and to wish you a delightful time even as you visit the Berom Exhibition Pavilion. I most appreciate the modest contributions of the Berom in the development and sustenance of not only our culture, customs and traditions, but particularly in the field of science and technology as well as in other fi:icis of human and capital development.

As I end this address, It is our prayer that God that has brought us all from our respective bases and homelands, shall take us back safely. Meanwhile, we urge you to relax and enjoy the Berom hospitality.

God Bless you all.