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Governor Gabriel Suswam listen to the Plight of Teachers

A leader is someone who has the interest of his followers at heart, one who strives at all times to ensure that he carries the people along in his daily duties and governance. No leader who is genuinely elected by the people can or should despise the people because he owes what he is to them. And considering the transience of power and life, he knows that someday he will leave power and go back to the level of the people. No matter how tasteful power is, he must guard himself from becoming power drunk.

Gabriel Suswam the Executive Governor of Benue State, is someone you will say emerge due to imposition and rigging of elections in his favour. A benefit he derived from his erstwhile god father, George Akume. He has been in charge of Benue for the past 7 years and i must confess that his tenure has not been savoury. Suswam is someone you will say is power drunk and since the people played little or no role in his emergence as governor, their wishes are no business of his, he simply doesn't give a hoot about them and they can go to hell for all he care!

It is in this drunken state that he has become hardened and has neglected his primary responsibility to the people of the food basket State. Did i say food basket State? Well, that was then not now.

One area where this drunkenness comes to the fore, is the way the governor has handled issues bordering on the strike by primary school teachers. Suffice it to state that primary schools in Benue State have been closed since July 2013 and its dear governor finds nothing wrong with this. If you visit Benue, you find children of school age hawking fish, orange, mango, and some of them are conductors. The other day i asked young boy who is a conductor, he is not in school, he said his teachers have been on strike and that his parents lack the means of sending him to a private school.

Governor Gabriel Suswam is himself a product of the LGEA, one therefore wonder why he has decided to be this harsh with his alma mater. Imagine if the governor during his time had closed down schools for this long, would he have risen to where he is today? Allowing primary schools to be shut down for this long shows one thing; Gabriel Suswam does not value and appreciate education!

The effect of this closure can cannot be quantified. Imagine the number of teachers who have been idle for a long time. Most of them have nothing to do and were primarily dependent on their meagre salary which government has graciously held on to. They are humans and they have responsibilities which they must meet. They must feed, clothe, and do other things. If they are not working and have earned nothing for eleven months, how would they meet these demands? A lot of them have died and more are dying. But government is still adamant!

We dare not forget the dependants of these teachers, who have been forced to adjust to the realities of life. I have met some of them and i tell you its not been easy. Life has been a living hell for a lot of them. No wonder crime rate has increased. Who takes the blames for this increase in crime, is it the people who have been pushed into committing crime or the person who pushed them?

The number three citizen of Nigeria is from Benue State. Supposing he wants to feign ignorance of the ongoing strike by teachers on the premise that he has not visited the state for a long time, which is not possible, atleast he was here on th 29 May 2014 where he praised the governor and even described him as his son. Why hasn't he therefore adviced his son to the the appropriate thing? President Goodluck Jonathan is also a close pal of the governor. Why hasn't he adviced him? Why haven't the elders of Benue State adviced him? Or is it that this man does not listen to advice?

I am making a passionate plea to well meaning Nigerians to intervene in the ongoing crises beween the governor and teachers in Benue State.

All stakeholders should please intervene to save Benue from imminent collaspe.

Let me also call on the Nigerian Union of Teachers to also intervene and urge its branch in Benue to let reason prevail let also not forclose the opportunity for dialogue and the hardline stances adopted by it should be reconsidered.

Frank Ijege
@Foijege on twitter

Disclaimer: "The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of Frank O. Ijege and do not necessarily reflect those of The Nigerian Voice. The Nigerian Voice will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article."

Articles by Frank O. Ijege