Before 1999 nobody knew or even cared about the eventful lawyer, Bar. Gabriel Torwua Suswam, very few had even heard this name. Rt. Hon. Gabriel Suswam, became a member of the Federal house of Representatives in 1999 until 2007 where he was very popular and outspoken.
Though his tenure at the House of Representatives was eventful with bouts of controversy ranging from his role in the popular “Buharigate” to the controversy shroud bribe scandal and his anti 3rd term role. He was the most eventful representative Benue had ever sent to that chamber.
In the same style, was his gubernatorial campaign in 2006. Obviously the youngest of the top contenders, Suswam swam his way through the big time sharks to emerge winner in the party primaries and eventually, though in his normal style very eventfully became governor of Benue state.
Suswam in his signature style, eventfully bumped into his second tenure at the Benue government house. This bumpy ride was characterized by legal actions, political remarriages and several allegations. Starting from his former political bedmate Sen.Akume George to Chigozie Ukpabi and newest political heavy weight, Prof. Steve Ugbah.
Suswam’s eight years as governor are in its twighlight, elapsing by May 19, 2015, where he hopes to hand over the state to a favourable successor and head for the senate; the unofficial retirement for all former governors. This after-government house journey however is already bearing all the traits customary to his previous political sojourns-controversy.
The governor who had before now refuted claims to an ambition to settle at the senate after his eight years at the food basket government house, last month led a group of traditional leaders from his Sankera geopolitical axis to Kwande to demand loan for the senatorial seat which is originally zoned to the Kwande/Ushongo Federal constituency.
The ceremony which ended with the Kwande traditional and political leaders loaning the position to Sankera personified in Suswam, has however been enmeshed in a lot of controversy and the usual brouhaha that accompanies his political travails.
Prior to this loan there has been no love lost between the governor and the senator representing Benue North East Senatorial District (Zone A), Sen. Barnabas Gemade, who is also angling to stay put at the hallowed red chambers. Gemade has since drawn the battle line between himself and the governor in a fight to finish.
Since the open declaration of intent by Suswam, Gemade has vowed to fight this ambition to a standstill even vowing to go dirty if warranted. The fight which has already began with salvos flying.
This has resulted in an open confrotation between the duo at a funeral occassion where Suswam supporters booed the serving senator.
This battle has witnessed the reawakening of Suswam’s earlier demon-the infamous certificate saga. In a recent edition of Power Steering Magazine alleged to be sponsored by Gemade, the magazine sought to revisit Suswam’s already popular certificate matter and also discredit his administration. The publication which has earned the publishers a One billion Naira suit was immediately replied by Suswam appologists with the publication of another magazine, Capital Post, which without reservations apart from accusing the serving senator of maliciously sponsoring campaigns of calumny against Suswam, went further to discredit Gemade’s four year sojourn.
Meanwhile even as the loan request may sound like a deal signed, sealed and delivered, there seem to be protests from the Kwande constituents, many who have disassociated themselves from the action of their political and traditional leaders.
These opponents have variously written open letters to drive home their dissapproval of the loan they describe as a financial venture aimed at benefitting the principal actors and not the generality of the Kwande people. In a strong worded open letter written by KWANDE YOUTH VANGUARD, signed by 257 signatories, the group apart from condenming the loan adventure and condenming Suswam’s alleged neglect of Kwande in citing of projects and appointments, also gave conditions for such loan to be considered.
Although the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC) is enmeshed in crisis and nearly commatose in the Zone A senatorial district, pundits believe that if the party brings up a viable candidate from Kwande then it might stand a chance at grabbing the rug off Suswam’s feet.
This is even as the APC at the time of filling this report were said to be contemplating on fielding former NITEL director Mr. Adaa Maagbe, who is known to be a grassroots person and believed to be man enough to face Suswam save for his shallow purse. However, the party is believed to hold another joker in case Maagbe fails. It is believed thay banking and investment guru, Mr. Manz Denga, who has never hidden his longing for the seat may step in if the Maagbe card fails.
Denga whose purse and financial strenghth is not in doubt might also be convinced to consider joining forces with Maagbe per chance he looses the party’s ticket. atiterkula gathrered that already some Kwande leaders have already began negotiations with him in this light, in a bid to persuading him to forget his ambition and instead join forces with Maagbe.
As these obstacles continue to present itself, Suswam’s return voyage to Abuja, continues to take the semblance of a de ja vu, while political watchers and the state at large watch in suspense what will eventually play out.