Benue’s 2015 Campaign Posters And Unending Battle For The Governorship Position
The 2015 governorship posters of the Benue state Deputy Governor Chief Steven Lawani, were recently littered all-around Makurdi, the state capital, but there has been a silent ongoing battle between some top Benue politicians who are seriously contending for the juicy seat in the next democratic dispensation. SOLOMON AYADO writes that the battle may degenerate into a state of chaos, which may probably distract the good programmes of Governor Gabriel Suswam.
Recently, the campaign posters of the Benue state Deputy Governor, Chief Steven Lawani, were pasted on all roadside bill boards and waste bins positioned in Makurdi, the Benue state capital, in which his intention to contest the governorship seat of the state in 2015 was clearly stated. It generated serious overheat in the polity. Similarly, the battle for who wins the governorship race in the next political dispensation has already begun and top government functionaries, retired civil servants and big wig politicians, as well as famous business tycoons in the state have started showing interest. Though the jostle is presently being carried out silently but very many of them are beginning to make loud noise and background consultations.
The Lawani’s Campaign Posters
The posters of the deputy governor were pasted in and around Makurdi, the capital and Gboko, the ancestral home of the Tiv nation, as well as in Otukpo, the headquarters of the zone C senatorial district. The posters, which reads, “No vacancy in 2015, Vote Chief Steven Lawani for Benue state Governor, Zone C anointed,” were printed boldly with the official picture of the deputy governor. The development generated mix reactions and there was serious tension particularly among big politicians and party supporters. They were imagining why the deputy governor would stand low to make such an unexpected indication. As a matter of fact, the past antecedents of Lawani are scored very high even if he decides to make such a definite move.
Though the unimagined outburst, it was alleged to be perpetrated by some faceless mischief makers who reportedly were envious of the towering political profile of the deputy governor in the state and country. The figment of the opposition was also said to be a deliberate target to dampen the already cordial existing relationship between Lawani and his boss, Governor Gabriel Suswam and a cordiality that many Idoma elders feel threatened of, because the number two citizen may, if by chance, would emerge the leader of the entire Idoma kingdom.
However, the Deputy Governor, while reacting to the development, said he was not responsible for the said posters and the import of the message, stated that he received the news with utter shock and that he was saddened by the sadistic intentions of the masterminds of the despicable act.
Lawani said, “I view the pasting of these campaign posters as a disingenuous and puerile attempt to distract me from collaborating with my boss to deliver democracy dividends to the people of the state. But I will not be distracted by the act as I will remain focused on assisting my boss on service delivery to the people.”
Chief Lawani also said in a press statement which was issued by his Chief Press secretary, Mr. Ejembi Ogwuche, that he has not launched any gubernatorial campaign for 2015 as he has spent less than two years of the second term mandate given him and his boss by the Benue people. He strongly condemned the use of the unauthorized campaign posters as an instrument of cheap blackmail and called on the law enforcement agencies to fully investigate this unfortunate incident and punish those behind the act.
Of course, these assertions by Lawani shows more of someone who is not in any way eyeing the juicy position in 2015.But it is however, very confusing because of recent disposition of his rare generosity to the people of his area. It is hoped that the 2015 campaign posters has rather not led the cat out of the bag.
As Top Contenders Wax Stronger for the Race
The seriousness in the contest for the 2015 governorship ticket in the state has so far shown clearly that underground arrangements have started in various parts of the state, that is, zone A senatorial district which comprise Sankera, Jerchira and Kwande. The zone B comprises Jemgbagh including Masev, Iharev and Nonguv otherwise known as MINDA. The zone C senatorial district which, if put together is sectioned into the Idoma and Igede respectively. They are all agitating for the slot. As if putting the gear before the hilly ground, claims and counter claims to the political ticket by the various senatorial zones have obviously started yielding fruits and it is depicting a seemingly notorious contest ahead of the year 2015.
Unequivocally, it is no longer a hide and seek game for some prominent contenders in the 3 senatorial districts. Even if it is true as very many of them have obviously denied making any consultations for the race, a cursory look at the indicting dispositions of some of the fingered governorship contenders is emerging gradually. While some are said to be lured by political elders and party associates, others are visibly ready for the battle based on their personal desires to bring development to their people, as well as display their accumulated wealth.
Notably fingered in agenda to perceivably run for the race include the former Attorney General of the federation and mister of Justice, Chief Mike Kaase Aondoakaa (SAN), Director General of the National Agency for Food, Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Dr. Paul Orhii, former Director General of the Suswam/Lawani campaign organization, Chief Terhemba Shija, DGSA Mr. Salem Atsehe, as well as the Managing Director of the Lower Benue River Basin Development Authority, Engr. Mrs. Ada Chenge, among others.
In zone B senatorial district, the battle is rather crazily made in the open and the people of the zone are of the strong agitation that they have been marginalized for so long and it is now their birthright to enjoy the governorship position come 2015.The likes of minister of state for trade and investment, Chief Samuel Ortom, former speakers of the Benue state House of Assembly, Barrister David Iorhemba and Hon. Terhemen Tarzoor ,permanent secretary of Government House Administration, Dr. Tivlumun Nyitse and commissioner for lands and survey, Mr.John Tondo. Others are state chairman of the Nigerian Labour Congress, Comrade Simon Anchaver, former permanent secretary of local government and pension’s board, Mr. Akange Audu, Engr. Felix Atume, as well as permanent secretaryof the ministry of agriculture, Prince Andy Uwoukwu among others.
The zone C senatorial zone has the likes of minister of interior, Comrade Abba Moro, Deputy Governor, Chief Steven Lawani and former minister of state for Niger Delta, Mr. Sam Ode respectively. They have allegedly selected triangular-type mechanism to run for the race hence the Idoma have never, since the creation of Benue state in 1976 enjoyed the governorship.
The Tiv, Idoma, Igede and MINDA Claims and Counter Claims
At the moment, there seems a cold war between the Tiv and Idoma tribes of Benue state. This is because the Tivs have been emerging as governor since Benue state was created about 37 years ago. Retrospectively, there have been consecutively 4 elected governors since Benue was born and they all came from the Tiv speaking area. Many of these governors have served second terms in office without the Idoma getting for once. The issue of the Igede people is rather a sympathetic one because they are the least minority group in the state. They are also the minority in the zone C senatorial district where they are politically merged with the Idoma. It is no case for them unless there is no Idoma.
Considerably, the Idoma is claiming that 2015 governorship ticket belongs to them due to the fact that they have never enjoyed the seat. They are however, alleging that gross jungle-justice has been perpetrated by the Tivs against their civic right of fair sharing. At present, they are seriously warming up but only time shall tell.