Open Letter To Prof. Steve Ugbah

Posted: November 18, 2014 in Benue 2015, Opinion, political
Tags: , ,




Prof. Steve Ugbah

Let me begin by congratulating you for doing the unthinkable in the political history of Benue State. That is, pursuing your mandate recovery to a logical conclusion in the face of series of intimidation, harassment, victimization and self-denial. You have by this singular gesture endeared yourself and won the confidence of many even as you have placed yourself above many politicians of your kind chiefly Prof. Daniel Saror who is believed to have sold out in 2007. Accept my congratulations Sir.
May I also congratulate you for creating a new political path for yourself. It means that you have decided to be ‘your own man’ in betrayal to your long-standing ‘loyalty’ to Sen. George Akume, which among other things forms the crux of my discourse.
I wish to express my surprise at your recent entry into the Benue State Governorship race. While I am not ignorant of your right to seek any office of your choice in Nigeria provided that you have the needed requirements. A number of issues have made your new ambition an embarrassment to many of us who supported you in 2011. This is first because your new ambition is believed to have been hatched from quarters opposed to the spirit of opposition politics in Benue State before it was brought to the leader of the opposition in the Nigerian senate and in Benue State Dr. George Akume.
A number of reasons have been advanced for the aforementioned act. First, that you are more popular than Sen. George Akume, you rather helped him to secure a second term in the Nigerian senate in 2011. In a more raw way, that Akume used you to secure a second term bid as he had lost out with the people of the state prior to your coming in 2011. You have also agreed with this theory as all your actions point to this fact. Secondly and most unfortunately, that Sen. Akume hates the people in Zone A and would do anything to frustrate them, you should try to get yourself out of his camp, but first you have to destroy it. This you have also agreed to by running for governorship against the advice of the senator. Thirdly, that Akume takes delight in using you against your brother Dr. Gabriel Suswam and so you should refuse his advice of going to your maternal home in Kwande to seek a loan for a senatorial seat. Again, that Akume wants to go to the senate and has zoned the governorship to MINDA, which will brighten his chances in 2015.
Before I continue, let me inform you that I belong to a group of young people who ignited the ACN flame in Gboko Local Government Area of Benue State. God knows that what I did earned the ACN so much in the traditional headquarters of the Tiv people.
But sir, I did all that first to defend the position Senator George Akume came to represent in the politics of Benue State and the Tiv people as we profiled so low under the new presidency of Dr. Goodluck Jonathan.  Secondly, to give you benefit of doubt that perhaps, you could have something to offer the people of Benue State considering your exposure and level of education. This I believe was the position of many. You may wish to know that nobody celebrated you in particular in Benue State. The people of Benue State most enthusiastically accepted Late Jonathan Biam as their new ‘Messiah” until he answered the call of the Lord, may he rest in peace. Be also informed that most of your campaign songs were those composed for Jonathan Biam, little changes were only made to insert your names appropriately. In summary, what you witnessed in 2011 was the quest for change, which will never stop even if God forbid, you pass on.
May I also inform you that before you came in 2011, the people of Benue State had resolved that Sen. George Akume should return to the Senate. Just as well-meaning people in Abuja and Benue today resolve that Gemade and not Suswam should be the senator representing Zone A in 2015. Even your uncle Wantaregh Paul Unongo openly endorsed Akume’s senatorial bid as he always told the governor to leave Akume alone as both of them were not traveling to the same destination. He also knew this was important for peace to reign in Benue State and to checkmate the ill-treatment of the Tiv people by the Jonathan administration.
Before I continue, let me also bring to your notice that prior to your emergence on the political scene, Senator George Akume had fought and won many political battles including an assassination attempt. Ever since becoming governor in 1999, your uncle Wantaregh Paul Unongo, Chief Barnabas Gemade, Sen. David Mark, Prof. David Iornem, Prof. Daniel Saror, Alh. Abubakar Tsav and many leaders from Zone A made sure that he had no rest. They adequately mobilized Maurice Tsav, publisher of the Alternative Newspaper and Iornem’s TNT to further their struggles. That Akume later accepted these people in the heart of his political project is a strength most of them will never emphasize before you.
In 2003, most of the aforementioned names vowed that Akume would not go back to government house, but he went back sir. In 2007, they made sure that his ambition to go to the senate was frustrated leading to the politics of 12-13. The above names collapsed with the powers given to them by Abuja to frustrate Akume. Not only did he go back to Abuja as a Senator, he planted Gabriel Suswam as governor.
In 2011, the governor beat his chest that Akume will not go to the senate. He went, this time before your very eyes. Let me also inform you that this is not the first time Sen. AKume’s brother and your childhood friend Dr. Iyorchia Ayu will be fighting on the side of the senator’s enemies. He tried it in 2007 when he brought a new party the AC but not only were his evil plans against Akume unsuccessful, the party failed at all levels. Do not be deceived by his Machiavellian theories.
Again, it is not Akume that has zoned the governorship seat to the people of MINDA, it is a decision that is in line with the history of governorship in Benue State, the Tivs in particular. This fact has been affirmed by the governor of Benue State, the Peoples Democratic Party, and the Tiv Traditional Council. I do not see how Akume could have insisted that the above bodies zoned the governorship to MINDA to brighten his chances of going back to the senate. It violates every sense of reason.
Let me now register my disappointment in the thrust of your new governorship ambition. The Prof. Ugbah I envisaged in 2011 was someone who would be running for governorship on the ticket of credibility. That he has answers to the questions of underdevelopment and poverty in Benue State. But your running for governorship on the basis that the seat has been zoned to Chongo is not only embarrassing but is crafty, cheap, mischievous, arrogant and insultive to the sensibilities of the people of Benue State and MINDA in particular. This cant be coming from the Ugbah I followed in 2011. You should also know that there is a difference between America of July 4th, 1776 and a Nigeria of October 1st, 1960. I am sure you felt the difference when you made an un-ceremonial appearance at the governorship declaration of Rt. Hon. Barr. Emmanuel Jime at the IBB square yesterday.
Let me ask you to examine the people that may be cited as examples of Akume’s allege hatred for Zone A leaders and that he is only interested in moneybags from the zone. Rt. Hon Mzenda Iho was wheel barrowed to the Benue Speakership by Sen. George Akume and managed his ineptitude until the expiration of his tenure in 2007 after which he still supported him against the wish of many to go to the National Assembly, I don’t know how much Mzenda Iho had with him then. In this tall political profile of Mzenda Iho, did he deliver his council ward to you in 2011? How much did Akaagerger who was supported by Sen. Akume against Gemade did for you in Konshisha as a seating Senator? Better still, how much money did he have on retirement from the Army? Forget Iornem, we know why he is in the PDP. Only you, Akume and God can tell us how much you brought to earn the senator’s support in 2011. Many politicians from that zone want Akume to bankroll their political ambitions and pay their bills but they get a headache when he is called the leader of the party. I can’t waste my precious time on Aboho.
This is not to mention the fact that Akume pushed his brother Barr. Targema Takema to the boys quarters and offered you his house which you used throughout the electioneering period until you moved to Adaa Maagbe’s house after the elections. Of course, the message of Akume’s hatred for Zone ‘A’ couldn’t have been relevant especially at a time he opened the treasury of his government to them first in Terhemba Shija and later Barr. Emmanuel Udende as commissioners for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs. Suswam dare not try that to a Jemgbagh man, they will roast him.
You were massively voted in Senator Akume’s stronghold of Jemgbagh. In fact, the difference the ACN gave the PDP in Jemgbagh alone cancelled the entire difference the PDP gave ACN in the 9 local governments of Zone C, the records are there.
You may wish to know that the path created for you is quite familiar but before you leave to join the wagon to preach the message that APC is a Jemgbagh affair, let me draw your attention to the summary of what I have said.
That Senator George Akume remains the reason for your present political personality in Benue State, not the other way round. You can do the experiment. But many people irrespective of their knowledge of the fact that no magic can make you the APC flag bearer in 2015 are still blinded by the envy of your rising political profile to make sure that you go back to start from square one. You should have been a rallying point of all governorship aspirants on the platform of the APC now, you should have been a father.
You have nothing to do or add to Akume’s chances of going to the senate for the third time neither do you have anything to take away from it. Dont be deceived, the people who voted Akume in 2011 cut across party lines, many stakeholders in the PDP in earnest, worked for him.
The Tiv people give and withdraw sympathy in a very drastic manner, please, don’t trade yours. The Tiv people do not share governorship on the basis of Chongo and Ipusu. We have been playing intermediary politics on the issue of governorship since 1976. Your exposure should not present you as someone undermining the cosmology of his people.
Finally, do not be trapped in the politics of Zone A and B. Most of our brothers over there are not looking very far. Their only ambition is to downsize Akume. Am sure is not enough reason for you to have left California.
Sincerely yours,

Manasseh Aondohemba.

  1. emmanuel yawe says:

    You speak my mind. After reading you, two wishes gushed to my mind. I wish I could remove your name from this wonderful essay and put my own. Secondly I wish Prof Ubgah whom some of us hardly knew but sacrificed everything to work for because George Akume whom we have known for over four decades as a good man recommended him to us. There is this popular saying that ‘If wishes were horses, beggars would ride.”
    I am a Sankera man. Not a Prof; just an ordinary newspaper reporter. I have never been in power. But I have been a witness to power. Of late, I have looked on with utter disbelief the actions and utterances of my Sankera brothers – Iyorwuese Hagher, Daniel Iorkegh Saror, Mvendaga Jibo and now Torkuma Ugbah – all accomplished Profs.These are my elder brothers whom ordinary I should up to for deep thinking and wise counsel.. But as it has turned out, their level of thinking is not deeper than their pockets. It makes me sad.
    Emmanuel Yawe


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