BENUE 2011: OPPOSITION CLOSES IN ON SUSWAM
Armed with a burning desire to strategize ahead of 2011 election, at least five opposition political parties and three governorship candidates in the 2007 elections in Benue State have jointly endorsed Mr. Jonathan Biam to slug it out with the incumbent, Governor Gabriel Suswam.
The five political parties include All Nigerian Peoples Party (ANPP), Action Congress (AC), Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), Labour Party (LP) and All Peoples Grand Alliance (APGA).
At a grand ceremony in Zaki Biam, Katsinal-Ala Local Government area, Biam, a retired Director in the Pensions Office of the Ministry of Police Affairs, was endorsed to contest the governorship to help the state recover from what they described as 'years of underdevelopment and stagnation.'
The 2007 governorship candidates, who personally attended the occasion and gave full backing to Biam included Professor Daniel Saror (ANPP), Mr. Shima Ayati (AC), and Mr. John Tondo (APGA).
Speaking at the event, ANPP chairman in the state, Chief Godwin Ukpoju, described Suswam's administration as a failed one, a development which, he noted, made the opposition parties to come together to back one candidate whom they are sure would oust Suswam in the next election.
He stated that the party had endorsed Biam because the state was seriously in need of development after what he described as years of stagnation under the present administration, adding that the state could not afford another four years of an administration which had failed to judiciously apply the resources of the state to improve the living condition of the people.
Former Minority Whip of the Senate and 2007 ANPP governorship candidate, Saror maintained that all the parties had coalesced in a bid to install a dedicated and committed Benue indigene as governor because of their interest in taking the state out of the poverty doldrums and set it on the path of development.
The state Chairman of LP, Ambassador Shisha Adi, opined that the party decided to support Biam towards the realization of his dream in the 2011 election due to the complete failure of the PDP-led government in the state:
'After three years of the incumbent administration, Benue State has lost its status as the food basket of the nation because of the failure of the government to deliver fertilizer to farmers. Fertilizer has become elusive since the PDP-led government took over power. We can no longer wait and watch. It is time to take action to move the state forward.'
State chairman of APGA, Mr. John Tondo, observed that the coming together of the opposition parties became necessary in view of the need to oust the ruling PDP because of the realization that unless drastic measures were taken, the state would glide into under-development. Publicity Secretary of CPC, Mr. Terseer Tange, decried the level of misrule and mismanagement of resources in the state which had continued without any meaningful challenge against those perpetrating the misrule.
Former AC governorship candidate in the State, Mr. Shima Ayati, noted that the party decided to team up with other parties to support Biam due to his antecedent as a man of integrity, accountability and progress. In his acceptance speech, Biam, who rose amid cheers, explained that his decision to join politics was borne out of the zeal to help restore Benue State after years of neglect and mismanagement of resources.
Biam lamented what he described as the pervading under-development and poverty in state despite the resources available to the government. He maintained that he had decided to present himself for service, and promised to justify the confidence, reposed in him once elected in 2011.