Governor of Benue State, Gabriel Suswam, on Thursday donated eight new Toyota Prado Sports Utility Vehicles to the state governor-elect, Samuel Ortom, his deputy, Benson Aboun, and their wives.
While making the donation in the state capital, Makurdi, Governor Suswam said the donation was part of the move by the outgoing administration to ensure peaceful transition to the new one on May 29.
Incumbent Governor Suswam, has been reportedly accused of stalling on workers’ salary for months, which eventually placed educational institutions in the state, on lock and key for months. Civil servants have had to reportedly make do with months of unpaid salaries or contend with half salaries.
It is believed that this and many other fallouts with elders in the state, led to the governor’s failed senatorial bid and the woeful performance of the PDP in the state, during the just concluded general elections.
Mr. Ortom of the All Progressives Congress had defeated the Peoples Democratic Party candidate, Terhemen Tarzoor, in the April 11 election. He polled a total of 422,932 votes to defeat the PDP candidate who had 313,878 votes.
Mr. Suswam is believed to have rejected Ortom, as a PDP gubernatorial aspirant then and unofficially ordained Mr. Tarzoor, a former Speaker of the Benue State House of Assembly; to take over from him. However, Ortom, who was defeated in the PDP primaries; swiftly defected to the APC, got the party’s ticket and won the gubernatorial elections.
Hence, Suswam’s gesture is seen as a peace initiative to dispel political tensions between both camps of the APC and the PDP in the state. Although, it remains to be seen, how sincere, this peace gesture, really is.
In another peace initiative, the outgoing governor also declared support for former Governor and political rival, George Akume in his bid to ?become ??the ?Senate? president?.
Mr. Akume, who is also the senate minority leader, was the governor of Benue State between 1999 and 2007. He represents Benue North East Senatorial District.
“My way of playing? ?politics is all encompassing and I am fully in support of Akume to emerge as the Senate President for the 8th Assembly since he is the only person from Benue vying for that position, which we understand has been zoned to the North Central,” Mr. Suswam said.
There are indications that the former governor fell out ?with ?Mr. Suswam shortly after the latter assumed office.
He asked journalists to give support to the incoming APC administration, which will be headed by Mr. Ortom.
“I want you people (journalists) to extend the same support and cooperation our government enjoyed to the incoming administration of APC in the interest of the nation,” the outgoing governor, who is a member of the Peoples Democratic Party, said.
Mr. Akume is a frontrunner in the race for the senate presidency. He was first elected into the Senate in 2007 and will returning to the upper legislative chamber of the third time in June.
If the APC leadership finally zones the position to the North Central, the Senate Minority Leader will square it up with a former governor of Kwara State, Bukola Saraki.
If elected, Mr, Akume will be the fourth senate president from Benue State. The others are Iyorchia Ayu (1992-1993), Ameh Ebute (1993), incumbent, David Mark (2007-2015).