By Marie-Therese Nanlong
The controversy trailing the scheduled burial of the late former Minister of Defence and Member of the Supreme Military Council, Lt. Gen. Domkat Bali has taken a new twist as some kingmakers to the stool of Ponzhi Tarok have cautioned their kinsmen not to politicize the burial as the late Bali was not the Ponzhi of the Tarok people.
It would be recalled that a Tarok socio-economic and cultural development group, Ngwang Ishi O’Tarok, NIO had faulted the military for not carrying along the Tarok Traditional Council in the burial arrangements for the late elder statesman who they say was still the Ponzhi Tarok at the time of his demise.
Similarly, the Chairman of Langtang North local government area, Joshua Ubandoma and his Langtang South counterpart, Nimchak Rims noted the military was disrespecting the tradition of the Tarok people as burial arrangements were made without their input.
The duo, stated that the Tarok Traditional Council should be allowed to perform their traditional rites before the Military can take over, because “he was a first-class Chief that cannot be buried like that without cultural and traditional input as Tarok custom demands.”
However, some Tarok kingmakers in a statement signed by Nicholas Musa (Ponzhi Tumwat), Nanman Bale (Ponzhi Dambar), Binfat Zitta (Ponzhi Mbin, Lagan, Zinni), Ladip Binfat Fanmak (Ponzhi Mbin, Gani) and Zwalnan Butdip (Ponzhi Mbin Bwarat) maintained the controversy is not needed because the deceased was not a king.
According to them, “We have read, with utmost regret, the spontaneous media war that is ongoing in recent days, on the burial arrangement of the most respected elder statesman, Gen Domkat Bali. We are particularly worried that the death of Gen Bali has been politicized as most of the gladiators are seeking to take advantage of the situation for mischievous reasons.
“While we mourn the late Gen Bali, let us state for the purpose of the records that Gen Bali was never installed at any time as Ponzhi Tarok. The December, 2010 election of Ponzhi Tarok was marred with several controversies and needless intuitions. As King makers, some of us were deprived of the opportunity to participate in the exercise; and truly, there was no election that day.
“Government however went ahead to appoint Gen Bali who was one of the contestants into the office. That fiat by government triggered various litigations in courts. Some of the cases are still ongoing and there are subsisting judgements that stopped Gen. Bali from performing the role of Ponzhi Tarok or presenting himself for installation as Ponzhi Tarok.
“While these cases were yet in Court, Gen Bali resigned from the position and his resignation was duly acknowledged by the Government. On 20/3/2017, the Governor of Plateau State, Simon Lalong convened a meeting of Tarok stakeholders at Government House, in Little Rayfield, Jos and announced to the Tarok nation that Government was aware of the resignation of Gen Bali as Ponzhi Tarok and had acknowledged the same.
“The Governor further announced that the stool of Ponzhi Tarok is vacant and that the only legal instrument known to Government on the Ponzhi Tarok stool is the 1975 Gazette and not 2010 Gazette that was unilaterally promulgated by Plateau State Government. The Tarok nation was to communicate with the Government when it is ready for the installation.
“Our explanation above suggests that assuming that Gen. Bali had no legal challenges on the stool and was not stopped by competent court of law, he had resigned the appointment and was never installed at any point as Ponzhi Tarok nor given any staff of office to strength his position as Ponzhi Tarok.”