…Accuses him of playing God
From Iheanacho Nwosu, Abuja
The feud between two former governors of Benue State, Chief George Akume and Dr. Gabriel Suswam yesterday came alive as the latter accused the former of arrogating to himself the power of God.
Although Suswam succeeded Akume as governor in 2007, their relationship has been frosty with the duo periodically engaging in war of words . In a statement yesterday in Abuja, Suswam, who is currently facing some political battles in the state admitted that Akume contributed to his emergence as governor in 2007 but contended that his predecessor was overreaching his bounds. He faulted claims by Akume that he single handedly made him governor, stressing that it was God and the people of Benue that made him governor.
According to him , it was wrong of Akume to arrogate to himself the authority of God Almighty who alone elevates those he chooses to positions of power and authority.
He said: “Senator Akume is not God and therefore, he cannot claim to be the only person who solely determines what happens politically in Benue State,” maintaining it was high time Akume was told to stop playing God.
Describing as provocative and unfounded recent statement by Akume that he (Suswam) used his tenure as governor to help himself instead of working for the people, Suswam said his predecessor was playing to the gallery.
Senator Akume had “regretted ensuring that Gabriel Suswam became Benue State governor,” stressing, “I regret because I had no premonition that my successor would embezzle state’s funds.”
The report also quoted the former governor, Senator Akume to have said his intention of making Suswam governor so as to bring development to the state was frustrated because of his (Suswam) corrupt activities in office.
In his reaction, Suswam challenged Akume to list his achievements in office as governor so that the people of Benue State can reasonably rate their tenures, and submitted that his predecessor was being hunted by his dismal performance while in office.
He defended himself, saying the allegation of corruption leveled against him by his predecessor was a political statement meant to diminish his high level achievements in office.
He said: “I am not a criminal. Senator Akume should note that I delivered on my mandate as governor of Benue State by serving Benue people who voted me into office.”
Further dismissing Akume’s allegations as baseless and unfounded, Suswam disclosed that the record of atrocities committed by Akume in management of Benue state funds were still intact and a matter of public knowledge, warning that if pushed to the wall, he would have no choice than petition the relevant authorities to investigate and possibly prosecute the former Senate Minority Leader.
Suswam challenged his predecessor to explain all he knew about the alleged diversion of the N28billion bailout funds released last year to the State Governor, Dr Samuel Ortom by the federal government for payment of workers’ salaries, the matter which is already being investigated by the Independent Corrupt Practices (and other Offences) Commission(ICPC).