The 2015 general elections are already around the corner with Benue state bubbling with political activity aimed at throwing forth future elected officers.
With intrigues and permutations on high gear the battle is however fiercest on twin fronts; the Governorship of the state which has over 15 aspirants in hot contention and also the controversial Benue North East Senatorial District, dubbed Zone A.
So far the state has witnessed high level political alignments and major shifts with its following conflicts.
It already common knowledge that the Benue state governor like many of his colleagues, has an eye on the senate to represent the Benue North East Senatorial District (Zone A).
This battle has become the most heated of all fronts as the Suswam seems to be fighting more than the battle to abuja where he is not finding it easy either, especially with the arrival of former chairman of the Benue Internal Revenue Service (BIRS), Mr. Andrew Ayabam who recently declared his intention to run against him in the state’s major opposition party, All Progressives Congress (APC), even as he is fighting a former National Chairman of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) and current senator representing the zone, Sen. Barnabas Gemade.
Pundits have severally also revealed that even though the battle for the senate will be Suswam’s front, the battle for who succeeds him will also play a major role in determining his fate.
atiterkula findings prove that Suswam is already in a quagmire as to the choice of a successor while trying carefully to cage some party members and guber hopefuls in an attempt to prevent any negative spill-over, perchance there is need for one.
It is believed that chiefly amongst such threats are former Attorney General of the federation, Chief Mike Aondoakaa and Samuel Ortom.
Chief Samuel Ortom is no new entrant into Benue’s political arrangement; after serving as local government chairman, state PDP secretary, PDP national auditor and most recently minister of state and supervising minister for Trade and Investment as well as aviation respectively.
Ortom is a leading guber aspirant known to be the toast of the people, endeared to them by his grass to grace story and most especially his deep pocket which has been accompanied by his penchant for goodwill.
Although he has visibility across the state with supporters falling over themselves for him, he is a however believed not to amongst Suswam’s favourite for the governorship. The state governor has often times been rumoured to have categorically singled him out as one of those who can never suceed him.
Even as the specific reason for this is not known analysts believe that the former minister’s high cult-like followership and relationship with all power blocs especially the opposition whose leader, Sen. George Akume has been at logger heads with Suswam but in close relationship with Ortom. It is thus believed that Suswam’s grouse may not be far from the fear that the latter may on assumption of office play him same way he dealt Akume.
Although Suswam may not be disposed to granting Ortom his desire, it is sure that he wills to keep him in the PDP and also ensure he remains loyal. However this may just be another item on the governor’s wish list this is even as the Former Minister is touted to be hobbnobbing with the APC who are believed to be waiting on him to cross over to contest the governorship in their party.
Ortom a former opposition figure, has become an item in the general political calculations of the state without regards to zones and thus Suswam’s desire to keep him caged in PDP. Pundits have already predicted that with unfolding events it is most likely that the former minister will remain in his party as a non-participant observer or will join the APC as a guber aspirant. What has however been acertained is that Ortom is a known fighter and with his large base of support in Zone A, he stands a chance to rock Suswam’s boat in retaliation come 2015.
Chief Mike Aondoakaa, needs no introduction save for the fact that the former Minister for Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, is also in the governorship race and moreso in hot contention.
Aondoakaa obviously with one of the deepest pockets in the race, is how ever believed to be out of favour with the state government as regards politicking in the state.
The former minister who like Ortom is also a decampee from the opposition, is from the same senatorial district with the governor and is believed to have been seduced into the race by the Suswam who is contesting for the Senate of that zone, traditionally zoned to the Kwande /Ushongo bloc from where Aondoakaa hails and would have stood a better chance to clinch.
Evern though he was hoodwinked into the race by Suswam, it is touted that he is not on the preffered list of governorship hopefuls.
Aondoakaa has been a known threat to the the state governor as it is evident in Suswam’s close marking of the former Minister in the heat of the opposition in 2011, where the governor spent all his nights at Aondoakaa’s to keep tabs on his activities.
Sources close to the former minister and de facto president have indicated that he is ready and willing to support his kinsmen who have denied the alleged loan to Suswam in their bid to claim their heritage- Senate.
Senator Barnabas is sure one of the politicians with the biggest political curriculum vitae in Benue state, a serving Board Of Trustees member and Senator, he is facing one of the fiercest battles of his political existence.
Gemade, who is angling to return to Abuja for a second term seems to however found himself in a wilderness of indecision as he complained of various forms of injustice metted him by his only opponent and political former bedmate, Suswam.
The former National Chairman of the PDP, is already suspected of moves similar to those in 2003 when he supported the opposition United Nigerian Peoples Party (UNPP), as he is seen parambulating with the state’s leader of the APC and former political arch-enemy, George Akume.
It is thus feared that a replica of 2003, as if he looses to Suswam in the primaries, especially with already shown signs of malpractice and rigging by Suswam.
With yesterday’s conduct of delegate elections and its attendant hoarding of delegate forms which has deprived the above trio of delegate election forms as well as further signs of possible rigging and sidelining of candidates it is plausible that Suswam and his ilk should anticipate an implosion within the PDP, which will certainly cost him his senate bid.