First, let me congratulate Dr Gabriel Torwua Suswam, the outgoing governor of Benue State for his great “achievements” in life. Many at this moment, perhaps due to personal scores with him or for his abysmal outing as governor of Benue State from 2007 to 2015, are likely to be blinded about Suswam’s historical achievements.
I don’t know how it was in 1999 when Suswam newly joined politics and entered the House of Reps race for Katsina-Ala/ Ukum/Logo Federal House of Reps constituency; coming from Abuja as a relatively unknown lawyer throughout Benue State. For I know that in 2007 when he declared for the Benue Guber race, many didn’t give Suswam a chance.
There were so many others that were favoured to win that race in 2007-Inspite of those seemingly insurmountable odds, Suswam was not deterred. He pushed on and as at the close of the 16 years of PDP; a closure that, unlike in previous transitions which were caused by the military, was decided now by Nigerians through the ballot box in the 2015 election, the then unknown Lawyer has emerged as one of the biggest PDP creations. That is Suswam’s first achievement.
Secondly, he will soon join George Akume, former governor of Benue state as the second elected governor of Benue to have completed two terms as governor. This was a feat that even former governors Aper Aku and Moses Adasu before him, in all their glories could not achieve. Thirdly, although he entered in the our political picture as a relatively poor young man, but today he is one of the richest Nigerian men alive. These and more, hate or love him are achievements of Dr Suswam.
But with the announcement of a former dictator, Gen Mohammadu Buhari(RTD) as the next president of Nigeria by INEC, coupled with the fact that unlike George Akume who left power as governor to go the senate and has been using the senatorial platform to re-new his relevance, Suswam lost his bid to further consolidate his “gains” by doing same.
So he is now obviously tasked with creating a niche within the emerging system to stay afloat. We don’t know what the Buhari years that shall open as from 29th May when he officially takes over, actually hold yet-although it is the hope of many Nigerians that like Lew Kuan Yew, Mandela, Moa Tse Dung, who set their respective countries on sound developmental paths, Buhari too does same.
So Suswam in a new emerging environment that the expected political change has created , to remain relevant in the scheme of things, has just only two months to also determine his political future. His last two remaining months in office as a governor. Suswam has inspired most of us-young people from rural Benue or struggling Benue professionals in the cities; his life speaks to us that in spite of rigid societal structures and vexatious social stratification that often time bar talents from developing and give us no chance for deep seated ambitions, that it can be done- that he did it alone, gives us hope that someday, we shall also achieve greatness.
But as a man in power too, from 1999 to 2015; first as a two term house of reps member and also as a two term governor, about 16 years, Suswam has also made costly mistakes and created too many enemies. Unfortunately and quite gravely, as he will soon lose power officially, it will likely be on the shoulders of some of his arch enemies(most who are his friends or former friends) that he will land.
Also, as he is going out of power now too, his political future will likely be determined by the consequences of the choices of his 16 years reign. In all this, as time ticks and a lot of thoughts run through his mind, Suswam is still left with roughly two months to undo the havoc of 16 years or at least mitigate the adverse effects of his actions. While I wish him well and also pray for God to help him to land well, my advice as a secret admirer is that Suswam shouldn’t waste these two months by adding them to the already wasted years. The best way to do this is by not tempering with the Governorship and state houses of Assembly elections this saturday.
Shija writes from Abuja

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