By Aaron Mike Odeh
Human needs are always insatiable. The more you try to meet up with them, the more they keep making demands. This is why whenever anyone is in a position, especially political appointees or elected office holders, a lot is expected from them in the area of human needs which in most cases are the necessities of life like; water, portable roads network, hospital, good education etc. These were some of the things the immediate past government of Gabriel Suswam in Benue State took seriously, it’s time to address the period of eight years tenure as governor.
While many applauded the earth shaking achievements of Suswam, others were of the opinion that he did not do well. To some of this school of thought, Suswam should have used his eight years tenure to achieve more than the successes he recorded. Meanwhile, most of those who felt Suswam did not do well are now singing praises and in serious need of Suswam because of the performance of the current APC led government in Benue State.
Those who are complaining about the performance of the current government in the state may not be far from the truth because, there is hunger and starvation in the land, crime rate is on the increase.
Although their complaints may not be far from the fact that we all want to live outsised, we are all under pressure to build mansions; acquire art metallic cars; be dressed in the most expensive designers; marry models and travel round most of the developed countries. As we hunger after to achieve all these, so we plot to milk the world’s resources to the detriment of the poor masses. It is not a bad thing for an individual to think of living large but, not to the detriment, pains and agony of the disadvantaged populace which we have been elevated by God to bring out of their poor state of affairs.
The landmark achievements of Suswam’s eight-year tenure as Benue State governor, is so glaring for everybody to notice. For the duration of his tenure, there was massive construction of rural and township roads across all the communities within the 23 local government areas in the state, the result of which he was named Mr Infrastructure. The construction of the roads no doubt, greatly boost the morale of farmers. They can easily transport their farm produce to the marketplace unhindered unlike the past that the largest part of their farm produce got destroyed as a result of the pitiable state of the rural roads.
Other areas that received enormous considerations from Suswam’s government were commerce and industry. Suswam’s government, in line with the modern ways of marketing goods and ensuring that goods reach the consumers at the appropriate time in good conditions, established Makurdi international market, a market that is rated among the best in Northern Nigeria. Even the current government of Samuel Ortom cannot deny the usefulness of the market in boosting the economy of the state. As a result of which a committee has been put in place to relocate Wurukum market and other smaller markets to Makurdi International Market. Kudos to Suswam for the establishment of the market.
Suswam also, in his eight years term, embarked on water projects in all the three senatorial zones in Benue State. Education also received greater attention; through massive renovation and building of new structures in all the government owned primary, secondary and higher institutions in Benue State. Higher institution students were also receiving their scholarships as at when due. Electrifications of almost every community within Benue State also received immense focus during Suswam’s regime. His government also showed a lot of concern to Agriculture in view of the fact that Benue State serves as the food basket of the nation. Suswam was able to achieve a lot in this area by making fertilizers available to the farmers as at when due. Most of the farmers also received loans to enable them meet up with the modern method of farming. Health also received colossal consideration through the renovation, building of new structures and upgrading of all the government owned clinics, general hospitals in all the 23 local government areas and the state owned teaching hospital.
The most important aspect was the completion of the Benue State University Teaching Hospital which was fully equipped with modern technology, the first of its kind in Northern Nigeria. Suswam did exceptionally for Benue inhabitants, just that human needs are always insatiable. No matter how you try, they will continue to ask for more. Let me also say that Suswam’s government never played with the payment of workers’ salaries and all their entitlements. It was frequent until the fall in the monthly allocation to the state which was a national concern, the result of which many states, till today, are struggling to pay workers’ salaries.
Sport also received better interest through the upgrade of the Aper Aku stadium to international heights. Today, the stadium is rated along with the first best stadium in Africa. In almost every community you march into today in Benue State, the name Suswam is still ringing a bell in the heart of people all because of his earth moving accomplishments during his term as the superintendent in charge of Benue State. This is why one-third of Benue populace that see Suswam as their hero, were in doubt and shocked over the authenticity of the recent prosecution of Suswam. They see it as selective justice. Some of them perceive it as the handwork of the existing administration of Samuel Ortorm that could not pay the salaries of workers talk more of carrying out developmental assignment even when it is apparent to everyone that the government, since its inception, has received billions of naira through bailouts, loans and federal allocation. Ortom’s administration keeps laying the full blame on the past administration of Suswam which till now is rated as the finest government ever since the creation of Benue State. Benue people ought to by now begin to request the current government of Ortom to give stewardship of his tenure. This is true because, as it is at the moment, the state has no blue print and definite bearing. Nobody knows where the state is heading to at the moment.
Let Ortom bring to a close the blame game and sit up to his duties with noticeably characterised policies and strategies that can sustain the tempo of development of the past and current administrations of our dear state. Suswam’s foot print will continue to remain visible on the sands of Benue as a result of his excellence. This is why we ought to rise in solitary accord to express disapproval of the current sponsored and choosy prosecution of Suswam by the EFCC. Though, it is still mere hearsay as alleged by some people who are troubled by Suswam’s towering political profile, we should not consent to this sort of people and allow their desires come to pass in the life of Suswam. Let us not permit people to segregate us. Brooms brush off better when they are together in clusters.
Aaron Mike Odeh is an Abuja based journalist