Suswam’s new chummy relationship with Governor Ortom will continue to haunt him both at the local and national level according to authoritative sources on the politics of Benue State. At the local level, most of Suswam’s supporters were said to be of the opinion that Ortom’s performance as Governor of Benue state was so poor that it was politically suicidal for Suswam to support his reelection.
Apart from his poor record of performance – none payment of salaries and no project execution – Ortom was seen by Suswam’s followers as their tormentor and worst enemy. They point out to the fact that when Ortom came to power in 2015, he embarked on a probe of the activities of the Suswam government which amounted to a ‘witch hunt’.
“Suswam was accused of stealing over N100 billion from the coffers of the Benue State government by the Ortom administration. His associates and those who worked in his government stood accused as collaborators in this massive, unprecedented and landmark heist in the history of Benue. Many of them have cases either with EFCC, ICPC or the courts”, one of Suswam’s supporters complained. He said because of these reasons, they were not enthusiastic about their leaders support for Ortom’s second term bid.
At the national level, his decision to renege on his promise to ditch Ortom in his reelection bid will make it difficult for him to be trusted again. This is so because Ortom has a very poor working relationship with the Federal Government led by President Muhammadu Buhari. His frequent, unprovoked and loud tirades against Buhari has made him personal-non grata in the inner circles of power in Abuja. Anybody who helped him to secure a second term in office is most likely to be seen as an enemy of the President and his government.
Unknown to those at the local level in Benue and also at the national level who had hoped that Suswam was going to back Jime against Ortom, the man had reached a secret agreement with Ortom over the election. In the new deal which insider sources confirm to me was brokered by two former Senate Presidents, viz; Senators David Mark and Iyorchia Ayu with a former Minister, Abba Moro in attendance, Suswam was made to swear allegiance to Ortom.
“In return for this oath of allegiance, Ortom was also made to swear that all properties seized from Suswam by his government would be returned to him. Ortom was also made to swear that all cases against Suswam at EFCC or in the courts would be frustrated in the new spirit of collaboration,” the source revealed.
It was further revealed that both Senators Ayu, Mark and Abba Moro promised to help Suswam displace Senator George Akume as the political leader of Benue state if he supported Ortom in his second term bid.
“At that meeting, it was further resolved that Suswam should be sponsored to emerge as the Minority Leader at the Senate. This will make him become very visible at the national level and thus whittle down the visibility which Akume appears to enjoy with the Buhari administration,” the source revealed.
Going further, multiple sources confirmed that the whole grand conspiracy between some political actors in Benue State in the last election was the morbid fear and jealousy of Senator George Akume. It was gathered that these political actors mostly in the PDP were scared of Akume. They reasoned that not only did Akume rule Benue as Governor for two terms, his election as a third term Senator had raised his political profile so much that he was appointed the Vice Chairman (North) for Buhari’s reelection campaign during the last election.
It was this fear that informed the gang up against the APC and Akume in the 2019 elections in Benue.
Mailafiya resides at Number 54 Doma By pass, Lafia, Nassarawa State.