HM Tor Tiv (King) Begha u Tiv (Lion of Tiv people ) Professor James Ayatse Tor Tiv V is the. Reigning traditional monarch of the Tiv people of Nigeria and Cameroon
The Tiv people are an ethnic group considered 4th largest in Nigeria with around 15 million people. They have a traditional monarchy created during the colonial period for easy governance. The kings title is Tor Tiv or Begha u Tiv which means Lion of the Tiv people. Tiv people are famous for their traditional dress called Anger which is a reminder of the Zebra animal they used to hunt and use.
Crowned in 2017 to succeed the late King, he is a symbol of unity over the Tiv people who are around 15 million in Nigeria and a small number in Cameroon. He also serves as a the chairman of the Benue state Council of traditional obas /kings.
The King is famously known as professor James Ayatse due to his academic accomplishments as a professor of biochemistry and a vice chancellor of two universities. He broke the records of previous Tiv kings and could be the most academic accomplished King in both Nigeria and Africa
Ayatse started his career in 1980, as a graduate assistant in the University of Calabar and progressed steadily to the rank of a professor of Biochemistry in 1993, at the age of 37. His career spans teaching to education management. He taught at the University of Calabar, University of Uyo, Benue State University, Makurdi, University of Agriculture, Makurdi, University of Abuja and the Federal university, Dutisn-Ma. He taught biochemistry, Business Management and Public Administration to different groups of students and has bred several B.Sc., M.Sc., MBA, MPA and PhD holders in his over 35 years teaching career. Ayatse has served as External Assessor for Professional appointments/Promotions and External Examiner to a large number of universities; he chaired the National Universities Committees on performance indicators and minimum benchmark for science programmes in Nigerian Universities. He also chaired several panels for the accreditation of science programmes in Nigerian Universities. He served in the capacity of Chairman or member of several communities or governing boards at international, national and state levels. He was involved on three separate occasions in formulation of the vision and blueprint for the development of his own state of Benue.
In 2001, Ayatse was appointed the Vice Chancellor of the University of Agriculture, Makurdi succeeding Erastus Gyang. Reflecting on this in an interview preceding his emergence as Tor Tiv V, Ayatse stated that he inherited a student population of about 2000 and fluctuating cases of violent students’ demonstrations as well as staff union strikes, all of which he helped resolved amicably as the Vice Chancellor of the School. This earned him the reputation as the most peace loving Vice Chancellor of the Institution as there was no student demonstrations arising from internal problems throughout his tenure. He expanded the university by establishing several new departments and colleges that yielded students’ population of about 7000 before the end of his five-year tenure as the Vice Chancellor.
In 2011, Ayatse was appointed as the Pioneer Vice Chancellor of the Federal University, Dutsin-Ma – one of the nine Federal Universities established by President Goodluck Jonathan’s Administration. Ayatse went on to become the 1st Vice Chancellor out of the nine Federal Universities established at the time to graduate students and Mobilize them for Mandatory National Youth Service Corps (NYSC). He also conducted the maiden convocation of the university before completing his 5-year tenure. He laid the foundation for an ICT-driven University with computerized and online services, prompting Webometrics to rate the Federal University, Dutsin-Ma as the 14th Best University in January 2015 and 2016 ahead of many older universities in Nigeria.
He is married to another academician Queen Felicia Ayatse with five children.
He resides in Tor Tiv palace built by the Benue state government
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