Akume lacks moral standing to comment on Benue’s security issues – Suswam
By; Jacob Onjewu Dickson
Immediate past Governor of Benue State, Gabriel Suswam has lashed back at his predecessor, Senator George Akume, saying that he lacks the moral wherewithal to comment on security issues.
Suswam who was reacting to a publication credited to Senator Akume in The Nation Newspapers of Monday December 28, 2015, alleging that Suswam failed to protect Benue Communities from attacks by Fulani herdsmen when he was the chief security officer of the state.
“If integrity means anything to Akume, he would have known right within him that he lacks the moral stand to comment on issues of security, especially as they affect Benue State. Let him equally be reminded that, (though he once told the Nigeria Senate that it was from 1979), records show that he was Governor from 1999-2003; an inglorious era that unarguably witnessed the highest level of bloodshed in the history of the state.
“Who is in this country and particularly in this state and was at least of school age that cannot remember how almost all sections of the state, especially the Tiv speaking area were at war with one another with the state authority under Akume strappingly believed to have a hand in sponsorship of some? For a man who ruled over a state, unleashed terror on his people, with hundreds of people killed in cold blood while some of his relations went on exile for fear for their lives to come out and accuse another of compromising security, simply point to the fact that he must have gotten the meaning of the word ‘compromise’ from a brownish bottle not in an English dictionary,” he said.
Suswam explained that records would confirm to anyone who would want to verify that he inherited torrents of devastating communal clashes including the ones between Masev/Shangev; Kusuv/Ikyurav; Ipav/Ukan; Ukan/Gaav and many others too numerous to mention.
“Also, Makurdi the state capital and the other urban towns in the state remained insecured with criminals on the prowl. It is similarly a provable actuality that throughout Suswam’s tenure, issues of communal clashes were reduced to the barest minimum while issues of armed robbery and kidnapping were very scanty,” the statement said.
He reminded Akume that as the minority leader in the 7th Senate, he failed to be a voice that would contribute to providing security in his immediate constituency.
“Contrastingly, Sen. George Akume while the invasion of the greatest part of his constituency was on, understandably lost his voice at the Senate where he was the Minority Leader even as the likes of Emmanuel Jime and Christy Alaaga from lower chambers had on a number of occasions alerted the country of the devastation in their constituencies. The Zone B Senator never for once mentioned the issue of the untoward development either on the floor of the red chambers or at a press conference. Akume, should be educated further that security is not a one man show. Again, when ‘government’ is mentioned, it is beyond one person called the governor.
“Perhaps, he may have easily forgotten that, that was why during his kindergarten and sheepish handling of the Zaki-Biam crises resulting to the murder in cold blood of hundreds, this same Rt. Hon. Gabriel Suswam whom he now delights in running down and Sen. Daniel Saror then at the national assembly consistently blew the trumpet at the centre for the world to know of the ill-treatment and pogrom on their constituents. We await any evidence from the former Minority Leader of his contribution, intellectually or otherwise towards wadding off the war that enveloped almost half of his constituency.”
He advised Akume to be a responsible statesman and mind his legislative duties.
“Indeed, we are disappointed but not surprised for it is now common knowledge that it has become a tradition with a carefully composed anthem for Akume and his followers to run down the name of Gabriel Suswam at any function; be it as infinitesimal as naming ceremonies. As such, we would have, as usual, ignored his typical ranting especially as the report indicated the ‘lash’ was done during a ‘Christmas party’, where it is obvious enough booze, including Guilder could never have been absent. Yet, we still feel there is need to put records straight if not for anything, at least to enlighten the unsuspecting member of the general public.
“ Except for Sen. Akume and his likes nursing grudges against the person of Gabriel Suswam in perpetuity, any discerning mind who was in touch with happenings in Benue at the time and have an idea of what conscience is, would agree that during that organised inversion of Tiv and Agatu lands in Benue state, Suswam as Governor did his best in not only adequately mobilizing and relating accordingly with the security structures through his constant briefing of the President and Commander-in-Chief of the country’s Armed Forces, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan but equally significantly ensured the displaced persons as a result of the crises were tolerably taken care of. It was an understandable demonstration of a true leader who would want to authenticate the actual happenings within his kingdom that same Suswam nearly paid with his life when the prowlers opened fire at him and his entourage during an on-the-spot assessment of the devastation at Guma, same place Akume has never visited to brief the people as his constituents but now excitedly went to feed the people with slur campaigns against Suswam,” the statement said.