Between Benue Peoples Amnesia and Suswam’s Insolence
Let the man who burnt down our yam barn not mock us for eating guinea corn during the yam season”!!
This evening during my usual internet trolling I came across a beautifully crafted piece authored by the immediate past governor of Benue State, Rt. Hon. Gabriel Suswam where he sounded very statemanly and nothing short of righteous, enough to fool everyone even an omniscience being of his love and patriotism to Benue state.
In the said comment made on his facebook wall, the two time member House of Representatives, not only condemned the prosecution of those accused of looting the state of funds totalling about 107 billion Naira but described it as divisive; ...“that such a trend is hardly helpful to the quest for a better and stronger Benue State which is only possible under an atmosphere of unity of purpose”.
It is rather amusing that at a critical time as this when the nation at large and particularly Benue state is in dire need of funds, one who has once sat in the seat of power and is supposed to be aware of the snags of such a position will underrate what 107 billion Naira will do to a state that is at its lowest economic ebb. What better step is it to ensure a better and stronger Benue than chase after looted commonwealth? How can unity of purpose be achived when a negligible number cart away a whooping chunk of ths states funds to service their greed and frivolities while the majority rot away in hunger and penury? This is surely mockery at its peak.
“May I say here that no government can in all seriousness afford to throw away a sizeable portion of its human resources such as the political family I and others do belong in but which is presently estranged from the ruling government in this state, not by our own making but by the deliberate choice of the government”.
I am not angered by his belief in Benue, neither am I in his pretentious concern for the well being of the people who have made him every inch of who and what he is today, the people on whose sweat and love he rose to national prominence.
However my perplexity lies not just with the authorship of such saintly pieces but also the readership and those addressed in these lovely pieces. I am gravely bewildered as to whether Gabriel Suswam has cast a spell of forgetfulness on the Benue people or they are in a grave state of amnesia.
“...By the time we as a political group were leaving the stage of power we had whetted the appetite of the people and lifted their democratic tastes to certain standards above what previously obtained.
It is the reality of having attained such standards of Democracy that today places a minimum level of expectation by the people on the ruling APC controlled government in Benue State. And these are expectations that could only be met through ingenious application of available resources to execution of projects which are of priority to the people.”
I would have largely concurred to the above assertion if he and his brigade had whetted this appetite by wilful commission and not as a result of hunger and frustration meted out on the people while hoodwinking them with sprinkles of the larger chunk of the loot they took from the state treasury for themselves- a situation which caused the general disillusionment and led to booting out the draconian reign of looters and brigandage, it was no plan of theirs.
It should have made better advice if he had told the Benue people for whom he so loves and is advocating, how much he had saved on their behalf like his Anambra counterpart, Peter Obi did for his successor Willie Obiano, on his exit from office instead of counselling on how the deficit treasury he fled the state leaving behind should be used to execute projects.
It is barely two years since when Suswam could not wait to witness the swearing-in of his successor but fled on its eve to faraway America to avoid the boos, jeering and probable lynching of the angry fleeced Benue civil servants whom he had pocketed their salaries or the students whom had been locked out of school for months even as the state not only received massive federal allocations but also chunks of millions from windfall of crude sales.
The Benue man may be patient but not stupid.
Ati Terkula is the Senior Special Assistant to the Benue State Governor On Media/ICT- SDGs