My Dear Senator Gabriel Suswam!



I write this letter with a very, very heavy heart. For some time now, I have followed your handling of issues that concern Benue State with alarm and dismay. I must confess that as a Benue indigene, I find it very, very difficult to get away from the disquieting thought of your disillusionment over some issues that affect the state. Among the many issues, I will limit myself to the most recent, which are, your disillusionment over ambassadorial nominees and the siting of tertiary education institutions.  You may recall, my Distinguished and brother, that you made a press statement recently refuting an allegation that you mounted a roadblock against the Senate clearance of RT. Honourable Terhemen Tarzoor as an ambassadorial nominee. In that statement, you further unravelled roadblocks that you had mounted inside and outside the senate chamber against the progress of our people which make me to be racked with so much doubts and confusions. 

Just to refresh your memory on an aspect that has to do with the ambassadorial nominees, my Distinguished and brother – in the press statement you have remarked; “I have risen to question the rationale for having three nominees from Zone C Senatorial District of Benue alone while there is only a single nominee from Zone B and non from my own Zone A.” You further quipped, “Where are we headed as a nationality… three ambassadors to the same zone, and because I raised objection, people from same parts being short-changed are twisting the facts and weaving a mischievous narrative against me?” Sincerely, my Distinguished and brother, the generality of the people of Benue state cannot find a reason for your objections that is beyond selfish political motive, which virtually all and sundry have denounced as inimical to the progress of our state. More so that you have not gotten your facts correct. Judging by media accounts, the entire Benue state has three ambassadorial nominees. My Distinguished and brother, as you may know, everybody cannot be ambassador at the same time, just like everybody cannot be minister at the same time. There are criteria and procedures guiding appointments.

My Distinguished and brother, permit me to turn to the issue of the siting of the newly established Federal university of Health Sciences, Otukpo, and the Federal College of Education, Odugbo, which also constitute a great pain in your frame. Earlier this year you raised a written protestation to the Minister of Education challenging the siting of both institutions in zone C Senatorial District. Beyond the tale of macabre of the good people of your Zone (A), not a few Benue sons and daughters have expressed an honest doubt as to whether you really give yourself to thinking things out and thinking them clearly concerning the issue or not. Are the institution’s host communities and Zone C you have protested against not all in Benue state? Are the university and the college of education not going to offer opportunities to Nigerians and people across the state? Does it matter that the Federal university of Agriculture, Benue State University, Akawe Torkula College of Arts and Science, School of Nursing and College of Agriculture are all sited in Zone B? Have they not been offering opportunities to all in Nigeria and across the state? I guess, because they have been socially responsible, by your estimation, you have not raised a voice against their siting.

To be candid, my Distinguished and brother, your consistent roadblocks against the progress of the state since your arrival at the red chamber has continued to arouse emotions within the state, and at the same time diminishing your credibility as a true representative of your people. We have been taking steps to unite our people to enhance peace, tranquility and prosperity in the state which you know are critically imperative at the moment. Perhaps, you need to be reminded again, my Distinguished and brother, that beyond the present issues of ambassadorial nominees and siting of tertiary education institutions, our state has been governed by ruinous leaders, and has suffered in the hands of venal ethnocentric elements who we believe have brought us to the wretched and volatile situation that we are in. Also, remember that, the Zone C you have been protesting against has never governed the state since its creation on February 3, 1976. Never!

My expectation at this time, which I think should be yours and that of all right-thinking Benue people, is the deployment of our positions at whatever level to promote peace, tranquility and prosperity.  As it is now, the Benue people want to see peaceful co-existence and improvement in their standard of living. My Distinguished and brother, we must therefore play safe by picking on issues that will guarantee the aforementioned. More so, as a former governor of the state and sitting senator, you will continue to be a subject of retrospective judgements and assessments. In a fundamental sense, I do not want to see a situation whereby you find yourself hoisted by your own petard, yes, your own petard. To acclimatise yourself to the rancid atmosphere of divisiveness will be to abuse the opportunity you have had for better education and information, and to abort the promise of greatness you have inherited as a former Governor and sitting Senator from Benue state. I think, your concern as a credible leader should not be how to further divide the good people of the state but how to prop up the quality of education and expand its infrastructures across the state irrespective of the zone.

The truth lies in the paradox that with all the richness and endowment, our dear state is still littered with the corpses of dead educational institutions and other infrastructure as a result of bad governance.  In human society, my Distinguished and brother, people’s perceptions matter very much. And I am very, very sorry to say, as you may know, that you have been perceived as one of the leaders who have seriously diminished the development of our State. If that is the reality, my Distinguished and brother, then, I think you still have a great opportunity to print your name in the positive record of history by fighting personal urges for political delusion, vain gloriousness and the pursuit of whirlwinds. Sincerely, it is not enough to bear the prefix – Governor, Senator, Minister, Honourable member, President, etc. As you may know, all these will be confined to the trash bin of history without high positive impact on the lives of the people. It is also too dangerous to play politics with the lives of human beings, especially your own people.

Permit me, my Distinguished and brother, to end my letter in your own words. “Let us scale down the content of negative politics at play in our affairs, as it is already dangerously inimical to our collective progress and growth. We must not destroy our common interests and bonds all in the name of politics”

Plenty regards.

Stay safe and healthy!!

Dr. Okidu, Ilorin GRA, Ilorin, Kwara state; email: [email protected]; [email protected]; 08036636139

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