By Ameh Godwin
As governor Gabriel Suswam of Benue State prepares to handover the mantle of leadership to Samuel Ortom come May 29, here are some major events that shook the outgoing government within the past eight years
as compiled by Ameh Godwin.
Close shave with death on 50th birthday eve
November 14, 2014 will ever remain memorable to Benue State Governor, Gabriel Suswam.
The governor and his deputy, Chief Steven Lawani, on this day escaped death by whiskers after their vehicle was involved in a ghastly auto mishap on the eve of his 50 birthday.
Eight people were injured in the mishap.
It was reported that the governor’s official vehicle in which he was travelling and his spare vehicle were directly affected by the impact of the crash. The two officials who were in the same vehicle escaped unhurt.
It was gathered that the governor and his deputy were on their way to an official assignment in Wannune, Tarka Local Government Area and Gboko when the accident occurred.
According to an eyewitness, an oncoming vehicle which overtook another vehicle lost control, sommersaulted, then hit the spare vehicle of the governor as well as the vehicle in which both the governor and his deputy were travelling. The accident happened at Angbaaye, a few kilometres after Makurdi, the state capital.
The governor’s spare vehicle was badly damaged while the impact of the accident on the oncoming vehicle was very severe.
Governor Suswam will not equally forget March 28 and April 11 in a hurry. These were the days the governor’s political career crumbled.
On March 28, the outgoing governor was defeated in his bid to represent the Benue North-East senatorial district in the senate.
Suswam efforts to unseat the incumbent, Barnabas Gemade came hit the rocks as he was humbled at the polls by the latter.
Also on April 11, Suswam once again received another deadly blow as his efforts to install Terhemen Tarzoor as his successor became futile as people of the state voted overwhelmingly for the APC candidate, Samuel Ortom instead.
Agatu LGA of Benue state witnessed heavy bloodbaths under the administration of Gabriel Suswam.
In fact, Fulani Herdsmen literarily turned the community to a slaughter filed. Checks by IDOMA VOICE reveal that no fewer than 500 persons were killed in Agatu within the last few years.
The current government also witnessed one of the longest industrial action in the education sector in the history of the state.
Children attending public primary schools in Benue State were stuck at home for 10 eight months following a deadlocked dispute over teachers’ salaries since the implementation of the national minimum wage.
Other tertiary institutions were also shut for months over the governor’s refusal to pay teachers’ salaries.
Certificate forgery scandal
In 2010, the governor hit major front pages of newspaper after some documents indicating that he may have forged the West Africa School Certificate with which he was purportedly admitted to the University of Lagos to study law.
The original certificate portrayed him as having passed five subjects, the subjects passed were without Mathematics and English, which is a pre-requisite subject for admission into law programmes in Nigerian universities.
However, the new certificate had significant changes indicating that Suswam passed “English and Mathematics”, significantly raising the possibility that the new document is “a complete forgery” according to Suswan critics.
The governor however paddled through the troubling water after a protracted legal tussle.
47 billion scandals (for pigs)
In 2009, the blogsphere was awash with the news that the governor was allegedly caught with 47 billion naira in the US.
According to city wags, when he was asked what he was doing with that kind of amount he said he wanted to buy with it.
Though this claim could not hold water as there were not much evidence to nail him to the political cross.
Culled from: Idomavoice.com