BENUE POLLS: WINNERS AND LOOSERS

Posted: July 18, 2011 in BENUE, makurdi, political, Uncategorized

It is no longer news that of all the hot spots in the nation, Benue state was the toughest of battle grounds in the middle belt. The elections have come and gone with the victors celebrating their victories and losers counting their losses amidst preparations for another phase of the battle which will take place at the tribunals.
With the tense politicking atmosphere of campaigns and canvassing gone, National Accord takes a peek at the outcome of the polls to bring you the victors and the vanquished.

GOV. GABRIEL SUSWAM

This young political gladiator had a smooth ride to the Benue government house in 2007 and even bragged of a much smoother one in 2011, until he fell out with his erstwhile benefactor, former state governor, Senator George Akume. In the build up to the polls there suddenly emerged stiff opposition to his return bid especially from his home local government of Logo where his strongest opposition emerged.
Many in the state predicted Suswam’s doom but like a cat with nine lives, he has proved that he is in-charge by scoring 590,776 votes to defeat his closest rival Prof. steve Ugbah who got 499,319 votes. For surviving the Akume led ACN tsunami which swept across the state like wild fire, he is obviously the greatest victor of all and has certainly earned him a spot as a top victor.

SEN. GEORGE AKUME
Even though Sen. Akume failed in his bid to remove Gov. Gabriel Suswam, he deserves a spot as a victor for retaining his Benue North-West senatorial slot. Akume who occupied Benue government house for eight years successfully installed a successor but that has proved to be his greatest undoing as towards the end of his first four years at the senate, he was engaged in a running battle with his successor, Gov. Suswam, who was bent on replacing him.
Observers believed that it would be impossible for the ex-governor to return to the upper legislative chambers considering the bad blood between him and the governor with the strength of the arsenal directed towards him. But the senator who had earlier decamped to the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) as a result of his fallout with his erstwhile god-son, single handedly bankrolled the party in the state proved his mettle by defeating his rivals to retain his Benue North-West senatorial seat at the Senate.

SEN. DAVID MARK
For a retired General, three time senator and senate president, a return to a place so familiar should not be problem but this was not the case for Senator David Mark as all his old rivals teamed in the ACN up to ensure the old war horse never returned to the comfort of the senate. Many believed he would not make it considering the parade of heavy weights fighting him led by another retired General, Lawrence Onoja, to the dismay of his opponents and watchers he renewed his mandate.

CHIEF BARNABAS GEMADE

Gemade , former People’s Democratic Party chairman,is sure to make this list of victors for fighting and defeating an old rival, sen. Joseph Akaagerger, in his bid to represent Benue North-East at the National Assembly. His victory was also unexpected as his rival had pitched tents with the leading opposition party in the state, ACN, with a determination to once again humiliate the former minister at the polls. His victory was one of the first victories recorded by the PDP in the state, fulfilling his age long dream to represent Benue North-East senatorial district at the senate.

PROF. STEVE UGBAH
Though little known before the April polls, Prof. Steve Ugbah, was Suswam’s foremost challenger to the Benue government house. A Professor in the United States of America , Ugbah was drafted into the race by Sen.Akume and Iorchia Ayu to replace the incumbent governor. Running a hurricane styled campaign which ran the length and breadth of the state. Many touted Ugba as the next occupant of Benue State government house come May 29, 2011, unfortunately, this was never to be, as his hurricane could not stand the PDP might in the state.
Although the Professor alleges rigging and has headed for the tribunals to reclaim his mandate, till it happens he remains top of our loosers.

HON. TERSEER TSUMBA
Speaker of the Benue state house of Assembly, Hon. Terseer Tsumba, is one of the few people whose failure to win his elections did not come as a shocker. Before the April polls, he had stiff opposition from his kinsmen even before clinching the ticket of the PDP but he was banking on the power of incumbency and his relationship with the state governor to scale through and possible remain the speaker of the assembly.
Unfortunately, owing to the gang up of heavyweights and the volatile nature of his constituency, Tsumba’s dream to make it back to the Benue State House of Assembly was truncated at the polls. He thus makes it unto our list of loosers.

HON. TERNGU TSEGBA
Gap-toothed, smiling , Tengu Tsegba was sure he was going to smile his way to the upper national legislative chamber, banking on his legislative experience in the House of Representatives where he even served as speaker pro-tempore and his relationship with the state governor who is at war with Terngu’s rival and former god-father, Sen. George Akume.
During the campaigns, many of his supporters were doubly sure their principal was making it to the senate. Unable tocontain Akume’s might Tsegba lost his bid after even engaging in an auto crash a day before his election. He thus earns a spot in our top looser category.

Meanwhile, as the gladiators head to the tribunals there is a jostle among elected house of assembly members on who clinches the coveted Speakership position. This seat has been rendered vacant owing to the failure of the speaker, Hon. Terseer Tsumba, to renew his mandate losing to Hon. Aduku Gbileve of the ACN.
Top among contenders for the seat are David Iorhemba , Emmanuel Tarzoor and David Orjime all who are from the Benue North-West senatorial district and belong to the PDP.
Hon. David Iorhemba, who represents Guma State constituency alongside Hon. Emanuel Tarzoor are the most favored for this seat owing to their close relationship with the state governor.
As the wait to swearing-in and elections continue, lobbying and negotiations are on course among the new assembly members who are made up of eight Action Congress Of Nigeria and twenty People’s Democratic Party members.

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