For a start, representative government is designed by a synergy between the representative and the constituents. It is rather eerily disappointing that there is no link between Senator Barnabas Gemade and his constituents. Elsewhere, people stake out on days that their representative is coming. Nobody knows when Gemade comes and goes. How can he synergise with his constituents? Even the trappings of power that trickle down the line are lacking with Senator Gemade, does he ever get constituency allowances from the Senate? Yes, he does and these allowances are meant for the constituency and certainly not to increase the building blocks of his estates. Where are the constituency projects?
And if all that he wanted was to exhibit his sour crapes over Senator Joseph Akaagerger, he has deprived the man of a second term at the Senate and in so doing, he has completed the Jechira turn for the Senate seat of Benue North-east senatorial district. And this zone deserves a Senator who is visible, not a recluse who hides in Abuja and does not respond to the dynamism of his constituency. A Senator mourns with his constituents, Gemade does not. A Senator gets in the loop of the social profile of his constituency, Gemade does not. He might as well be representing some area in the Federal capital Territory. He does not come home.
Today, Senator Gemade is saying he must continue in the Senate against the consensus desire of the Benue North-east senatorial people who are clamouring that His Excellency, Rt. Hon. Dr Gabriel Suswam CON as their Senator come 2015. The big question is, has Gemade proved his worth in the Senate? We may have been cursed with this Senator because we did not look deep enough. The man should not have been to the Senate in the first place because of his antecedents.
As the first indigenous Managing Director of Benue Cement, what did he do for the people of this zone and state? Apart from perpetuating the empire pretensions he inherited from his roots as a favoured son of the white settlement community at Mkar Leprosarium, he did not add value to the appointment. Indeed, the BCC experience accentuated his alienation from people; under him, BCC was such an exclusive workplace that you would think those qualified to enter the factory were aliens. During this time, you would hardly think Gemade was a local boy from Iwarev in Konshisha Local Government Area.
We do well to advice the people of Zone A that no moral persuasion can influence Barnabas Gemade. He promised one tenure just to extract his pound of flesh from Akaagerger but he now feels too pat and comfortable to let go. The choice of continuity is not his but the party’s and the delegates. Clearly, he has exhausted his goodwill; his stay in the Senate clearly is a personal odyssey. It is not for Zone A because the messenger has not returned home with any message and the people of Zone A must send His Excellency Dr Gabriel TorwuaSuswam who has proved beyond doubt the capacity to bring back to his people the spoils of his troubadours.
And the basic question is; how long can we make such people kings? More than forty years now, Gemade has perched himself up there claiming the best spoils meant for the Tiv nation. Our people have a saying that when you are up there plucking fruits, you throw them down so that others too can benefit. But Gemade is filling his pockets with these fruits to a bursting point. He should come down from the tree or else we will shake him down from that perch.
During his tenure as National Chairman of PDP, there was a pogrom against the Tiv nation. He did not raise a whimper. We recall with pride how Suswam as member, House of Representatives was strident in the green chambers, and even in the press, drawing international attention to the plight of his people. Now, as Senator, the Tiv nation is the same dire straits, with parts of Zone A suffering the consequences. Gemade as usual is loud in his silence. The damage having been done, it is our candid opinion that it is too late to teach Gemade how to function as a senator. What is not late is that it quite the appropriate time to relieve him of the burden of responsibility which has proven to be too much for him to handle but quite appropriate and convenient for him to harness the glory of the position. He is no more fit to be Senator. He has been given the chance but he has flunked it as it has always been his lot to let his people down.
We are consoled that while the Gemade instrument is blunt at the edges, the Suswam mandate will be as sharp as ever even as he comes back regularly to sharpen his instruments by remaining in the loop of his people’s expectations and aspirations.
Comrade Kur wrote from No7 Paschal Mailumo Street, Makurdi, Benue State