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Open Letter to Governor Samuel Ioraer(nyi) Ortom: Focus on governance, not Suswam!

By Simon Imobo-Tswam on 10/02/2017

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•Simon Imobo-Tswam.
•Simon Imobo-Tswam.

Good morning, Sir, Your Excellency!

Since you are a digital governor, one who dutifully makes out time to surf the net despite your busy schedule, I am using this medium to pass a message to you. How you treat the message is entirely up to you.

Some aides may tell you that I am sponsored, that I am an enemy – and so, you should ignore me or my message. But I submit that they are not only your enemies, the enemies within – they are the real enemies of Benue State; and they are ones you should ignore.

Many of them are political scavengers, and will look for another "carcass" as soon as this "meal" is over. They are as loyal as vultures, and this is why they are accordingly nicknamed "the vultures of fortune." (If you are in doubt, ask Dr George Akume, and Dr Gabriel Suswam: those who defended Akume switched sides, and started abusing him immediately Suswam took over. And, today, Suswam's most ardent defenders while he dispensed executive favours, have become his inveterate critics).

This people are worse than igyo, the delicious caterpillar that our people feast on. When the caterpillar devours the foliage of a tree (ichamen), it comes down, so it (or its offspring) can return there another season. But these vultures, when they eat from one governor's hand; after the tables turn, as always happens, they defecate where they once sat, spit on that benevolent hand that once fed them, and move on to the next governor. It is the way of the vulture! Meaning: Your Excellency, Chief (Dr) Samuel Ioraer(nyi) Ortom ( Inyam-Ikyume-i-Benue), you will be fair game once you leave office, and another governor comes. And it could be as early as 2019. This is because the road you are travelling on right now does not lead to 2023: it is a short-cut to 2019. Sycophants will never tell you this, but Simon Imobo-Tswam will. Let the truth be told, and it is hereby told. Let someone tell you the truth: and Simon Imobo-Tswam volunteers.

The truth is that these people are truly "vultures of fortune" as people call them on the streets of Benue, where they walk about with itchy hands, wide mouths and long throats. It is time to begin to listen to alternative viewpoints coming from outside Government House, Makurdi (GHM). Some of us are not looking for appointments (today and tomorrow) or any financial favour whatsoever from you, so we can talk without the encumbrance of personal interest or the shackles of greed. After all, life does not start and end with economics!

My simple message

Rt Honourable Gabriel Torwua Suswam (Ph.D) is not your problem, and never will be. As a former governor, he is in your background; stop making him your foreground, with needless and sustained promotions. The way Suswam features in your official communication and the manner your social media people get obsessed with him, many people outside Benue may think Suswam is still the governor or a senior member of this government! And yet, Suswam will never, ever be the governor of Benue State again. Even if he wants to be a senator, as people are speculating, he would never be the senator of your zone. So, sir, from a professional point of view: stop promoting Suswam; stop giving him free publicity, stop sharing power with him.

So, if he is not a good-luck charm that you are using to religiously ward off public scrutiny at every critical junction or a totem for navigating the tumultuous waters of governance, quietly down-play the obsessive and monotonous allusions to Suswam’s name: it profits you nothing. Really!

If Suswam goes to prison today, will it help you to be a better governor? The answer, sir, is: No. This perennial obsession with Suswam and the past is becoming juvenile, if not infantile! If Suswam is a criminal, let the law deal with him accordingly. But it does appear that some people in the All Progressives Congress (APC) are more interested in his persecution rather than his prosecution; and they are goading you on the persecutorial bush-path.

There is an unseen snag in this mindset: if you hold someone down, you too remain down. And if both of you are down, Suswam has the advantage. This is because in 2019, people will not ask him about his score-card - he has done his part - it is from you people will ask.

Besides, in making Suswam a victim of executive vendetta as well as media terrorism, you are consolidating his heroism. It is a fact of history that the masses of the people always identify with mart yrs. This is why despite the sustained attacks on his person and legacy, the man is waxing stronger and stronger, and connecting more and more with the people. (Just look at the videos of the crowds enthusiastically thronging his visits to Benue! It was not so in 2015).

If we in APC insist on trying him in newspapers and onFacebook, it is okay, but I assure you that Suswam will never go to prison. Facebook judges, with all their petty anger, wounded jealousies, purchased logic and abbreviated wisdom, are still impotent. If we want to turn Suswam's trial into a media circus, we may continue, but it's a war we will never win! The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is ahead of us: even Bemgba Iortyom alone is havoc-machine - causing tremendous havoc to our locomotive media team, and this on a daily basis. (And thus, is not surprising, considering that we are anchoring our PR/Information Management Strategy on terminological inexactitudes). But even if we win (which is a tall dream), it would be in the harvest of sensational headlines - and that would be Pyrrhic victory.

I will advise that, having taken Suswam to court; having empanelled panels to pummel and panel-beat him, and having reported him to both the police as well as the EFCC, you should allow the law to take its course, so that you can squarely face the business of governance. As I write to you today, private businesses may be booming, butgovernment business is seriously hemorrhaging!

Sir, let me submit here that Suswam is neither a project nor a campaign promise. So, Suswam-this, Suswam-that will not translate into projects. And you may wish to direct your Media Team to change course. Even bad press is still publicity, so why should your government be helping to publicise Suswam - for free? Already, this guerrilla strategy is becoming transparently hollow. If there is any dividend here, Suswam is the beneficiary! And, yes, the Media Team, which is reaping the benefit of this Guerrilla (Boko Haram) Information Management Style, in terms of cash-flow, venting impotent rages, creating illusions of loyalty...while harvesting enemies for you round about.

Soon, you would be two years in office; with the silhouettes of 2019 visible on the horizon. Suswam-bashing was great in 2015 (and it got you votes), but in 2019, you would need to show-case projects: excuses will not do; the blame-game will be lame; and even your loud slogans will not resonate with the people.

As things are now, we, as a party (the APC), do not have a good standing with the people. You have squandered our political capital, as well as the popular goodwill that buoyed you/us to power in 2015.

The pages in your court may not tell you, but the ties that once bonded you with the people are slack. And this is evident in mass discontent outside GHM, a discontent occasioned by the salary albatross; the mystery of the ‘Indigenous Fulanis’, the frozen anti-open grazing bill before the House of Assembly; the cultic shroud permanently hung over financial transactions, especially the contract regime; the failure to switch from the campaign mode into the governance mode, and the regression from the Business-as-usual to the Business-ultra-unusual...while curiously standing on the platform of Change!

Even you, as a Tse-pati, may have suspected this breakdown of the social contract between you and the people. I am sure this has informed your politically expedient decision to suspend council election indefinitely, and make do with caretaker committees, sole administrators....

Benue is, therefore, looking more and more like a graveyard of cancelled, suspended, broken, atrophied, strangulated and brutally murdered promises! And if care is not taken, this graveyard may also swallow your mandate-renewal hopes in 2019.

Sir, this is nothing near prophecy, but I know something about the grave: it is very ambitious. In other words, APC risks being a one-term party; and you, our dear "Workman," may also make history as a one-term governor. This looks like a certainty (again, nothing near prophecy) except you have a magic formula; a formula strong and all-purpose enough to circumvent the time-honoured democratic principle of one-man, one-vote. And that is, if the opposition will permit us to award majority votes to a minority party.

Your Excellency, Sir, today or this weekend, shut out the deafening drums of sycophants, retreat from the routine of courtesy calls and close your ears to the hollow rituals of panegyric gushes from grovelling and genuflecting aides. And take time to watch the videos of your campaigns. Watch the video of your inauguration. Read your inaugural address. Look at the barren Benue landscape. Look at the money your government, our government, has made, in federal receipts, in IGR and in loans. Look at your abandoned blueprint. Look at your handbook of slogans. Look at the widening graveyard of broken promises. Look into the mournful eyes of your brothers and sisters, who have bowed by the weight of native imperialism. Look at the bulging files of MoUs on your table. Look at the beautiful albums of your many foreign trips. Look at the hungry children, despondent IDPs, despairing civil servants, hopeless pensioners. Look at the many versions of your Bibles too. Do an audit of your tenure so far.

Your Excellency and High Chief, if you are happy with yourself, that you are truly serving the people, go out and organise another Thanksgiving Service this Sunday. But, if you are not happy, if you are disappointed with your public stewardship, kneel down...away from TV cameras and clapping crowds and the twisted, genuflecting hordes of any-government-in-power...and ask God (Almighty) for: forgiveness, redirection, wisdom and independence from yokes of all kinds: godfathers, godmothers, greed, gluttony and vendetta.

Finally, all of us will be remembered for something. So, what would you be remembered for? But, most importantly, what would you want to be remembered for?

Thank you, Your Excellency, for your time.

Imobo-Tswam, retired newspaper Editor and Public Affairs Analyst, writes from Abuja.

Source News Express

Posted 10/02/2017 5:22:54 PM


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