Tiv nation had been without a substantive paramount ruler since the death of Tor Tiv IV, His Royal Majesty, Dr. Alfred Akawe Torkula a year ago.The late Torkula who became Tor Tiv in 1991, died on November 22, 2015. He hailed from Tse-Torkula in Mbadwem District of Guma Local Government Area of Benue State.
The Tor Tiv V, Prof Ayatse, was selected by the kingmakers after a meeting of the Tiv Supreme Council (Ijirtamen) held on Tuesday, at the chambers of the Tiv traditional council in Gboko town of the state, the traditional headquarters of the Tiv nation.
Ayatse emerged occupant of the traditional stool in a keen contest with three other contenders. He polled 39 votes out of the 46 votes cast to defeat three co-contestants from the Ipusu bloc of Sankera intermediate area. The defeated contenders were Prof Daniel Saror, a former vice chancellor of Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) Zaria, who scored three votes, Prof Benedict Shinku, who also got three votes and Andrew Wombo, an erudite lawyer, who scored one vote.
BIRTH EDUCATION AND FAMILY LIFEProf. JAMES O. I AYATSE, an indigene of Mbakan, Shangev- Ya, Kwande Local Government Area of Benue State was born on the May 12th, 1956 to the family of late Iorzua Ayatse and Mrs Adeior Iorzua ( nee Achaa, Mbarumun, nanev)
He attended LGEA school, Orbiam, ikov, Ushongo LGA : LGEA school, Mbagbegba, Shangev – Ya and St Anne’s primary school, Adikpo where he obtained the first school leaving certificate. He attended and passed out with a WASC, division one certificate at Government secondary school Gboko. Armed with the excellent WASC certificate. Prof. Ayatse proceeded to the prestigious University of Ibadan and graduated with a BSc Biochemistry, he was the best graduating student in the department. He thereafter obtained his MSc at the University of calabar where he passed out as the best graduating student. Prof. Moved to the university of Surrey, England as a commonwealth student for his PhD in Biochemistry. He returned to University calabar for his MBA.
Prof Ayatse has had a sterling career in academics and educational management. He started his career in 1980 as a graduate assistant in the university of Calabar and rose steadily and rapidly in the university system to attain the highest rank of a professor of Biochemistry in 1993.
Prof Ayatse rose to the rank of Professor in 1993 in his thirties, becoming the first ever and perhaps still the only professor of Biochemistry of Tiv extraction.
He has held virtually all important positions in the university. He has taught at the university of calabar, University of Uyo, Benue state University University of Agriculture Makurdi, University of Abuja and Federal University Dutsin-Ma.
Prof Ayatse has taught Biochemistry, Business Management and public administration to different groups of students and produced several BSc, MSc, MBA, MPA, and PhD.
He has served as external Assessor for professional appointments /promotions and external examiner to several universities.
He has chaired the national universities commission committees on performance indicators and minimum bench mark for science programmes for Nigerian Universities.
He has chaired several panela for the accreditation of science programmes in Nigerian Universities.
He has also served in the capacity of chairman or member of of several communities or governing boards at international, National and state levels.
On three different occasions he was involved in formulation of the vision and blueprint for the development of Benue State.
He served as chairman of the visitation panel to the Benue state University.
He has numerous scholarly publication in both reputable national and international journals.
Prof Ayatse is the only Tiv man who has served as as Vice chancellor of two federal universities in Nigeria namely :
¡. Federal University of Agriculture Makurdi in 2001 – 2006
¡¡. Federal university Dutsin-Ma in Katsina State. 2011 – 2016
At the University of Agriculture Makurdi, a once restive University
Prof Ayatse used his sagacity and astuteness to restore peace and stability. He eradicated the menace of staff union strikes and violent students’ demonstrations. All through his tenure there was no strike nor student demonstrations arising from internal problems.
He inherited gigantic debts, but paid all of them and left a healthy balance for the institution. There was massive and rapid expansion of the University which led to the establishment of various new departments and colleges and the students population soared from the below 2000 he inherited in 2001 to about 7000 before the expiration of his tenure.