Senate minority leader in the 7th National Assembly, Senator George Akume of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has said that he was full of regrets for ensuring that former Governor Gabriel Suswam became governor of Benue state.
Akume served as Benue governor between 1999 and 2007 on the platform of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP). He was succeeded by Suswam (PDP), who till 2007 represented Ukum, Katsina-Ala and Logo Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives.
Akume has been accused of nursing political vendetta against Suswam which, it is said resulted to the sponsoring of Professor Steven Ugbah of the defunct ACN, by Akume to unseat Suswam in the 2011 gubernatorial election.
However, speaking on Friday during the distribution of tricycles to the people of the Benue North-west Senatorial District, Senator Akume claimed that he personally coerced and insisted that Suswam be made governor, even as it was against the many wishes of the generality of the Benue people.
But Suswam in a swift reaction described the claim by his predecessor as blatantly untrue and highly malicious, saying he was duly voted by the majority of the Benue electorates. He said, the continued bashing of his tenure by Akume and his political children was a deliberate attempt to denigrate him because of the numerous achievements that were recorded.
According to Akume, his insistence that Suswam become governor was to bring development to the poverty-stricken state but regretted that he (Akume) had no premonition that his successor would become criminal and swindle the state funds. He said the richly agricultural state was broke and left with empty treasury because of the alleged corrupt practices of the immediate past administration of Suswam.
“I was among the people that formed the PDP in 1999 and as governor, I personally insisted that Suswam was made governor of Benue. Of course I didn’t know he would become highly criminal and swindle the entire state funds. The whole state is broke and this was caused by Suswam’s siphoning,” Akume stated.