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SUSWAM VS AKUME: MY TAKE, By Mohammed Na-Allah Zagga


SUSWAM VS AKUME: MY TAKE, By Mohammed Na-Allah Zagga


Senator George Akume has said he regretted installing Gabriel Suswam as the former Governor of Benue State.According to Leadership newspaper, Senator Akume, who was speaking to members of his constituency while distributing tricycles to them on Friday, said he is full of regrets for allowing Gabriel Suswam to become the Governor of Benue State. He claimed that he influenced the election of Suswam against the wishes of the majority of the people. That is usually the outcome of political agreements founded on greed for power and selfishness.

One power fears another; power doesn’t tolerate rivalry. According to the famous author of The 48 Laws of Power, Robert Greene, anyone that attempts to outshine the master(the man in control), may become the victim of his insecurity. With the police, the House of Assembly and the party at his beck and call, a godfather may find himself helpless to control a man he installed into power. However, if a godfather controls the House of Assembly, he is more likely to pose a threat to a recalcitrant politician he installed into power. Once politician becomes a Governor, his first temptation is how to neutralise his godfather, but if the godfather is too formidably entrenched, the attempt may hit the rocks. As a result, his own political survival is jeopardised. Former Governor Mahmuda Shinkafi of Zamfara State didn’t survive his attempt to neutralise former Governor Ahmed Yarima Sani, the first politician on record to allow his deputy to succeed him. Former Governor Kwankwaso of Kano State was the second to do so, but currently, he and his successor Ganduje are tolerating each other. It remains to be seen if Ganduje may survive his own politically war against the godfather, now that the gloves are off, despite the so-called reconciliation.

I personally, dislike the politics of godfathers, especially the kind designed to short-change the people. Former Governor Chris Ngige of Anambra State was almost removed from office illegally in July 2004 by his godfather Mr. Chris Ubah, who had the backing of former President Obasanjo. Aided and abetted by the police, Ubah had Ngige detained to force him sign a letter of resignation because Ngige reneged on the agreement to be giving him N100 million monthly from Anambra’s federal subvention as settlement for making the medical doctor a Governor.

This is how the so-called political godfathers destroy our democracy. It means any crook or an incompetent person can attain any office without merit or integrity merely because he was endorsed by these self-claimed godfathers. No wonder politicians so elected don’t feel any obligations to be accountable to the people, provided the godfather is pleased with what he is doing. Former Governor Ladoja of Oyo State fell from grace when he refused to play ball to appease his godfather, the late Lamidi Adedibu. Adedibu accused Ladoja of “greed” for refusing him a share of the security votes, adding that since his protege was not accounting for these funds, allowing him a share was not a bad idea. Alhaji Adedibu made it very clear that whatever he collected from those he installed would go back to the welfare of the poor voters he was taking care of in his house daily. Former Governor Ladoja was unmoved, and with a House of Assembly dominated by Adedibu’s boys, he was ultimately “flushed out”(to use Adedibu’s vengeful words).

The political power tussle between Ladoja and Adedibu had nothing to do with principle. It was a quarrel about money. The idea of putting anybody into office for private advantage, or the sake of subverting the will of the people is obnoxious. Leaders should be arguing about improving the standard of good governance, and not about money, or about fixing your boys into the cabinet of the man you installed into power. It is impossible to remove betrayal from our crude and perfidious politics. The man complaining about being betrayed must himself have betrayed someone else. It goes with the territory. Politicians are notoriously treacherous; they are fond of destroying their slaves, and rewarding their enemies at the expense of their friends who were in the firing line when the struggle was tough. Senator Akume’s lamentation is the ugly reality of our politics; it is happening because the conditions attached to sponsorship of candidates is based on selfish motives rather than the larger interest of the people.


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