It is common parlance to hear people say “when the frog in front falls in a pit the ones behind take precaution”, meaning it is wise to learn from what happens to others lest you fall victim of the same circumstance.
This adage will very well suffice in today’s political situation in Benue state. The Supreme Court in a unanimous decision today dismissed the appeal by the candidate of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP), Rt. Hon. Terhen Tarzoor while upholding the victory of
Governor Samuel Ortom of the All Progressives Congress (APC) at the polls.
Prior to this judgement the Benue political mood was heightened as players and actors were polarised against party loyalties with the hope of the judgement going either ways.
The above situation certainly had elicited some criticism, personal attacks and even unsavoury behavior from supporters of both actors. Chiefly in the midst of this battle was the sectional claim of Ihyarev versus the Nongov of MINDA extraction in Tiv land.
Even prior to the general election there had emerged a clear dichotomy between the two clans in Tiv land over the rights to the governorship as per Tiv zoning formular. This antagonism has extended even till date thus the Ihyarev whom are aggrieved owing to the fact that they are the majority in the senatorial district and deserve the shot are in perceived antagonism with the Nongov whom currently have produced the governor and claim to it being the eldest but least populated clan in the MINDA arrangement.
It is in view of the above political conflict that it is pertinent to recall the eight years of former Governor Gabriel Suswam (especially the last four), who was of SANKERA extraction, in order to direct the MINDA from committing same blunder.
Gabriel Suswam was elected in 2007 under controversial circumstances which led to a litigation process instigated by his major challenger, Prof. Daniel Saror, from the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP), who claimed ownership of the victory. Fortunately for Suswam his fight with Saror ended even before it began as the aggrieved Professor was impressed upon by well-meaning elders to withdraw his appeal and support the government of Suswam which was seen as a SANKERA victory. This he did.
Suswam without any court hindrance and minimum opposition from the opposition party (especially because it was led by SANKERA), ran a moderate government with modest efforts at delivering dividends of democracy.
Unfortunately after four years Suswam sought re-election and was again confronted by opposition from his kinsmen especially, Terver Kakih of the PDP, Prof. Daniel Saror of the ANPP and newest entrant, Prof. Steve Ugbah of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN).
This election like the former, ended sour with the trio heading to court and fighting the governor for over three years of his four years of election renewal. Running from tribunal to Supreme Court within the period, the governor faced litigation.
Suswam ran four out of which three were spent in and out of court; he lived a life in the government house and courts; he shared his time with judges and lawyers neglecting the people; he was distracted, saving himself and position occupied center stage while delivering of dividends became secondary.
Meanwhile the arrow heads of this opposition were exponents from Sankera and as a result, those Suswam needed around him to make the state and indeed his home- SANKERA (remember charity begins at home) a better place courtesy of their advise, became adversaries. The state and Sankera indeed suffered with nothing to show for the period.
Today the leadership of the state has come to MINDA, it will be wise for the leaders of MINDA to come together and gather their sons in a bid to declare no winner or loser as this is a MINDA turn to prove their ability to be one and indeed prove they can lead.
It is also pertinent for them to know that this is a one in a lifetime opportunity for them to prove and also develop their enclave which is today the most infrastructural underdeveloped area of Tiv land. It will be foolhardy if the opposition led by MINDA sons (very intelligent ones at that) will rather distract than oppose constructively to enhance the leadership of their son.
For the governor, it is instructive to remember always that beyond political party lines, there is the oath to serve and protect the people as such this is not an APC victory but an opportunity to serve.
It is certain that many will still cling unto the nay saying maxim of “he will never do well”, however it is your opportunity to prove them wrong and also open your arms wide to all especially your MINDA brothers who are willing to join you even as it is ordained in the faith you profess and are known to adhere- forgiveness and love.
MINDA this is your time to show the world your dance steps!