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5 Aug 2017

Gemade has done enough and it is a time to also retire now - By Iorliam Shija

But Senator Gemade  Is an Honourable man

By Iorliam'Amo Shija

It was Late Conrad Wergba(May His Soul Rest in Peace), then Benue State Commissioner of Information who attempted to clear things like this for me, a few years ago. Basically, Wergba had observed and questioned the onslaught on his then principal,Dr  Gabriel Suswam , who some of formed the habit of  "insulting " daily on social media .
By extension, in line with his thoughts, Wergba told me that whether we insulted him all day, at that  point , it was Suswam and Suswam a lone who  was the governor of Benue State . So we injured , not Suswam but our collective image as a people .
He also brought up the issue of Sen. Joseph Akaagerger, a Sandhurst trained military officer ,  former  military Administrator of Kastina State and a senator . Yes, you can insult him,but who do we have with such pedigree and experience? He asked me.
Wergba ended his talk with me on Chief Barnabas Andyar Iyorhyer Gemade, now a Senator representing Benue North East Constituency. "Look at Gemade for instance, " he charged . He said we could  say whatever we liked against him, but that didn't change the fact that Gemade has remained a rare gem amongst us.
As I attempt an advice to Chief Gemade as it pertains the 2019 senatorial equation, I want us all to look at the facts, nothing but the facts.
As I have done with the preamble, it is important for us to always remember that our great political leaders like Wantaregh Paul Unongo,  Iyorchia Ayu, George Akume, Gabriel Suswam , Samuel Ortom and others might have had their short comings , but without them, we have no leaders with their experiences and pedigrees.
That does not also mean that , their pedigree will cow us not to caution or draw their attention to past promises or salient issues that we feel are important now for more cohesive and peaceful political arrangements.
In all his glory; as a former CEO of Benue Cement Company, former Minister and former National Chairman of political parties, Gemade was desperate and faced a crisis in 2015. In 2011, after he had been schemed out of the polity for many years  by the then President , Olusegun Obasanjo and Governor of Benue State, George Akume, Gemade won a senatorial election.
In 2015, Gemade  wanted another term but he had two issues to thrash before he would actualize his dream . He had the bigger issue which was  Dr Suswam's senatorial ambition . From 1999- 2015, for 16 years , Dr Suswam was used to winning every elections he contested  .
He had been a member House of Representatives, 1999-2007 and Governor , 2007-2015. So Suswam, then nicknamed the Black Cat,  wanted the Benue North East Senate in 2015. This was the first obstacle to Gemade's reelection bid.
The second issue that faced Gemade  was that of Zoning. The Benue North East Senatorial Zone has three zones , viz Sankera Zone( Katsina-Aka, Ukum and Logo Local Government Areas) Jechira Zone(Vandeikya and Konshisha Local Government Areas ) and Kwande (Kwande and Ushongo Local Government Areas )
In 1999-2007, Prof Daniel Saror of the Sankera Axis represented the senatorial zone. From 2007 -2011 and 2011-2015, Sen Joseph Akaagerger and Chief Barnabas Gemade, respectively , from the Jechira Axis had taken  their turn. So for fairness and natural justice which guides our politics, it was important that Kwande Axis produced a Senator in 2015. Both Dr Suswam and Chief Gemade would have to face it and device convincing ways to pacify the Kwande people.
Sensing a huddle at a senatorial primary in PDP where Dr Suswam had all the delegates in his pulse, Chief Gemade ran to Akume and APC for a soft landing. Displacing Mr Andy Ayabam and Mr Adaa Maagbe,  the then frontliners for the APC senatorial ticket, Akume gave the ticket to Gemade.
When Suswam went to Kwande, he pleaded with  them that  it was not good for him to stay out of power after serving as a two term governor . That he knew it was Kwande's turn , but it should be loaned to him. The loan was granted.
When Chief Gemade went to Kwande , his argument was more appealing. Those who worked for him said, giving  Suswam a senatorial chance was dangerous because the number of terms he would love to go for were never certain.
But Gemade and his team threw a bait  before Kwande , the RIGHTFUL owners of 2015 ; it was an appealing bargain that Chief Gemade would just go for a term,  2015-2019. Then leaving Kwande with 2019 exclusively. This was the bond between Chief Gemade and Kwande people in 2015.
To his credit, as a senator from 2011 to date,  Chief Gemade has done well, but he is an honourable person , so he must keep to his promise to Kwande. As an honourable person, is your word not supposed to be your bond?
Since he was born in 1948, by 2019, Chief Gemade will be 71 years , one also feels , he has done enough and it is a time to also retire now . For example ,  In spite of his robbost representation in the senate, it has been some what shameful that Chief  Gemade had been caught by the cameral napping on the floor. This is a clear message to us all that, Baba needs rest now for he is indeed an honourable person.

Kwande should now wake up. It is your turn, but I will ramble about Kwande internal zoning in my next article. Thanks
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