By Ameh Comrade Godwin
I was shocked reading online recently of my inclusion among the Benue natives who used social media to chase PDP out of the state.
Well, before I accept that commendation, I need to make some clarifications here. No doubt, I was one of those who campaigned tirelessly for change in Benue State. But my campaign was not against any political party but personality.
The battle started few years back when I teamed up with my friend, Enenche Enenche to campaign for the reconstruction of Otukpo-Otukpa road.
When our cries got to the chief priest of our political shrine, the road was fixed (though not complete at the moment) -that is what I call change.
In 2007, I was also among other persons who insisted that power should move to Benue south, but the then Governor, George Akume overpowered us and installed his beloved son, Suswam.
Suswam on assuming office promised to hand over to an Idoma person in 2015.
The governor made this solemn pledge before the Idoma community shrine and he won the heart of the people in 2011 and he was voted in for second term.
Amazingly, in 2014 before the primaries election of the Peoples Democratic Party, Suswam claimed he had an encounter with God who asked him to anoint Terhemen Tarzoor as his successor.
Now the elections are over, between Suswam and God, who lied?
In 2014 before the primaries of all the political parties, I had written to warn my people not to be deceived by the bait of the state creation by David Mark but focus on how to break this 38 years old jinx.
My people took my warning for granted and my prophecy came to pass.
Unknown to many, Idoma community is yet to spearhead the affairs of the Benue State since its creation in 1976.
As my boss Ali Adoyi would say, ”heeding to promises is a remarkable core-value of honest people. It defines the level of everyman’s integrity. Truly and undoubtedly, whenever someone fails to follow through on an earlier promise, it communicates betrayal and such people are hardly ever forgiven. Victims of failed promises are mostly demoralized, disappointed and feel cheated. People hate being forgotten or dumped. It’s extremely important not to promise at all, if you were not going to keep your words, as your words will live even after you are off the scene. People tend to forget that there will always be a next time.”
Suswam used and dumped Idoma people but the gods of the land which he sworn before outran him.
As we wait for May 29 handover date, let me quickly highlight some major mistakes the new government should not make.
You can do without Suswam
Suswam initiated his ‘unholy romance’ with the yet to be installed government to be captained by Samuel Ortom when he called to accept defeat during the guber election.
Many persons were amazed and have asked why Suswam would call to concede defeat in a contest that was between Ortom and Tarzoor.
While we were still trying to solve that riddle, the governor made another headline with the donation of 8 SUVs to Ortom on his birthday.
Political analysts have adjudge Suswam as “a failed governor” due to the unnumbered of unfulfilled promises in the name of his much talked about social contract with the people of the state.
Though fondly called Mr. Infrastructure, many believe that the present administration in the state may have thrived on deceit and gross economic irresponsibility, others say that Suswam who, on assumption of office in 2007 vowed to channel state fund into developmental projects to turn around the state and leave enduring legacies on the sands of history, is today exiting in office with a catalogue of unfulfilled promises.
With the above ‘legacies’, it would be unfair for Ortom to take advice from Suswam who has already ruined the state.
You are not an APC governor
The new governor should not forget that Benue State still belongs to all of us –Tiv, Idoma, Igede, Akweya, Etulo, PDP, APC, Accord et al.
The election ended in April 11 and we are now back as one united Benue. The incoming government should not fail to carry everybody along in its CHANGE train.
Don’t joke with civil servants
One of the factors that contributed to the misfortunes of Suswam was his utter disdain for fellow civil servants.
The governor, aside slashing workers’ salaries by 10 and 25 per cent also subjected them to untold hardship with his refusal to pay them their entitlements.
If you borrow, the state will be in sorrow
It is also on record that the arms of N13bn debt are widely open to receive the Ortom’s administration as soon as they assume office come May 29.
This is courtesy of Suswam’s excessive borrowings. The governor aside milking dry the state’s treasury is also leaving many projects undone.
Never you rule the state from Abuja
At a time, many citizens were wondering if Suswam was elected as Benue State governor, Abuja chapter.
He abandoned the homesphere to run errand for President Jonathan in Abuja and before he could return, Fulani herdsmen had taken over the state, thereby killing hundreds of indigenes.
We don’t need pigs; we need bridges
The outgoing governor decided to invest the state’s allocation on pigs instead of building bridges where they are needed. To put things straight, Benue State needs bridges and not pigs.
Education is light; farming is our pride
Benue State is no doubt living a direct opposite of its slogan -food basket of the nation. Suswam’s hatred for education is alarming. Children attending public primary schools in Benue State were stuck at home for 10 eight months following a deadlocked dispute over teachers’ salaries since the implementation of the national minimum wage.
Other tertiary institutions were also shut for months over the governor’s refusal to pay teachers’ salaries.
Don’t take the masses for granted
An old African proverbs says; the cane that was used in chasing the first wife is still waiting for the second wife.
We voted you to effect change and failure to do that would amount to another clamour for a change. Don’t forget, Suswam took the people for granted and he paid for it.
Don’t forget to handover to Idoma
Above all, the baton of leadership should be handed over to an Idoma man after your tenure elapses. Don’t forget, what is good for the goose is equally good for the gander.
Suswam made that mistake and that counted against him in Zone C during the just concluded election.