By Sunday ITODO and Godwin AMEH
|MARK: Fears for Idoma
The people of Idoma were recently shocked when the Senate President, David Mark affirmed that they should burry the hope of ruling Benue State. The Okpokpowulu of Idomaland warned his people not to be deceived by thinking that an Idoma man would take over the mantle of leadership from the incumbent Governor, Gabriel Suswam in 2015. He said that they could only become Governor if the much-awaited Apa State is created.
He gave this warning in his country home, Otukpo, during a courtesy visit by the Igede stake holders, led by Sir Moses Ajima, the PDP Vice Chairman (zone C) and Hon. Samson Okwu, member, representing Oju/Obi Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives.
The Senate President opined that an Idoma man could only be a Governor if Apa State is Created or Alternatively, the rotation of power clause among the senatorial zone is inserted in the 1999 constitution which is currently undergoing amendment.
Mark took his time to explain why he would not dabble into the affairs of the state to avoid unnecessary clashes with Governor Suswam. He said the moment he dabbles into domestic issues in Benue; there would be crises between him and the Governor.
In a related development, the member representing Ado/Okpokwu/Ogbadibo at the Federal House of Representatives, Hon. Hassan Saleh also led a 122-man delegate on a courtesy visit to the house of Okpokpowulu K’Idoma penultimate Sunday in his Otukpo country home, where the Senate President also maintained his stand on the Idoma candidacy come 2015.
According to him, the only possible thing for the Idoma nation is to either accept the usual deputy portfolio or pray hard for the realization of Apa state, which he opined was more plausible than the governorship position in Benue State.
“Looking at my brothers here (pointing at Comrade Abba Moro and Dr. Mathias Oyigeya), I’m pretty sure they are strong and capable of leading Benue State if given the opportunity. But my fear is that what happened in the past could repeat itself again”, he said.
The Senate President expressed fear that there may not be anyone among the four aspirants from Idoma land who would want to step down for the other, thereby loosing the position to the more united Tiv brethren who have been in the position since the creation of Benue State.
Senator Mark also enjoined the aspirants to unite together so as to present a strong and vibrant candidate from Idoma land and not to allow a ‘weakly candidate’ to emerge among them as that would give room for early impeachment.
Already, a total of four illustrious sons and daughter of Benue South (the Idoma people) have indicated interests in the number one seat of the state come 2015. The aspirants made their intention known when they stormed the IBB square’s venue for the 2013 ‘Democracy Day’ celebration, May 29th with heavy crowds of supporters from each end.
Paramount among the contenders from Idoma land is the Deputy Governor, Chief Steven O. Lawani, OFR, the Ochagwu K’Idoma. The Ogbadibo born business mogul cum politician slogged it out with six other Idoma sons at the PDP primaries in 2006 but lost out to Rt. Hon. Gabriel Suswam, a Tiv brother who was the youngest among the 19 aspirants that contested from both zones A, B and C at the PDP primaries. His enormous influence and political sagacity as exemplified in zone C made the Governor to beckon on him to serve as his deputy.
|LAWANI: Full of experience
Also in the race is the immediate past Minister of State for Niger Delta, Hon. Sam Ode. Ever since he indicated interest in becoming the Chairman of Otukpo LGC in 2007, the soft spoken man has never ceased to move from one position to the other.
First, he was appointed the caretaker chairman for Otukpo LGC for the period of 6 months in 2007 after which he was elevated to the position of Special Adviser to the Governor, Bureau for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs. His benevolence nature also propelled him into becoming a Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and now a newly appointed Board Member by the President.
Also among the top contenders from Idoma land is Dr. Mathias Oyigeya, the Chief Medical Director of Federal Medical Centre, Makurdi. As a professional, Dr. Oyigeya has distinguished himself in areas of service delivery and human capital development. He has used his good offices to employ a very many Benue indigenes into the services of the hospital as well as building two FMC outreaches in Logo LGA and Ogbadibo, where he hails from.
These informed the decision of the governing board to recommend him for the second tenure he is currently occupying.
|OYIGEYA: Has the goodwill
There is yet an illustrious woman from Ogbadibo LGA who is married to a Tiv man. Engr. Ada Shenge is a force to reckon with when it comes to politicking. A director with Lower Benue Basin, Mrs. Shenge shot herself into limelight when she first indicated her interest in the number one seat in the last dispensation.
She also used her political acumen and philanthropic gesticulations to secure the councillorship seat in Itabono Ward I for her younger brother, Benedict Amuta during the last local government election in Ogbadibo.
Unofficial reports also have it that the Minister of Interior, Comrade Abba Moro may be eyeing the plum position. If the rumours going round are what to go by, it then means the Okpokwu born politician would be slogging it out with the other four Idoma giants at the PDP primaries.
With the calibers of people jostling for this number one seat from Idoma land and going by their pedigree and political prowess, there is no doubt that all of them are more than qualified for the governorship position. The question is that, who will step aside for the other? Having known that the seat is meant for only one person, it therefore behooves on the Idoma contestants to as a matter of principle, prone the number down to one so as to pursue their course vigorously with their Tiv brothers.
The feeler from the Tiv axis has also shown that they may not want to concede the seat to Idoma people in 2015. The Tiv people have already started the process of returning power to the Minda axis, which they claimed had not tested the governorship seat for a long time now.
According to them, “the Sankera axis (where Gov. Suswam comes from) and the Jimgba axis had also had it more than two tenures each. It therefore becomes imperative to consider the Minda people”.
From the above statement, it means the Idoma people are not captured in the political calculations of 2015 in Benue State. Idoma candidacy will only come to fruition if the aspirants can come together and field a consensus candidate, otherwise, what happened in 2007 would repeat itself.