From Uche Nnorom, Makurdi
Elders of Kwande Local Government Area comprising of all the four clans of Ishangev- Ya, Ikurav -Ya, Nanev and Turan, last Monday gave their blessings to Senator Barnabas Gemade to vie for the senate seat of Zone A, which was allegedly loaned to Governor Gabriel Suswam few months ago.
The elders, led by elder Udele Jov from Shangev-Ya, washed Senator Gemade’s feet and head with water from (Iyongu), a special type of calabash used by the Tiv people in performing their rituals. They also sprinkled water on him and asked him to go ahead and tour the nooks and crannies of Kwande, assuring him that they have more confidence in him.
Speaking on behalf of Nanev and Ishangev-Ya, elder Asua Gbuuka, debunked rumours that they have loaned out the Senate seat to somebody else, expressing displeasure with Senator Gemade for delaying for so long, stressing that they have more confidence in giving out their Senate slot to Gemade to hold it in brief for them than any other person.
According to him, “If anybody claims that he came to Kwande and got a senate loan, it is the same thing as the joke of a rabbit which went out with its father and came back to say its father had delivered and needed water to bath the kid.”
Elder Asua noted that Sen. Gemade was more creditworthy to them, stressing that with their senate seat under his custody, they will not use force to get it back when the time comes.
Gever Ingbian spoke for Ikurav-Ya and Turan. He corroborated elder Asua’s remarks.
While speaking at the gathering of Kwande elders, Sen. Gemade told them that he thought it wise to first intimate them and seek for their blessings as his first point of call before embarking on his consultation throughout Zone ‘A’. He said as elders and owners of the land, they are the people to decide what happens in their domain.
At the meeting of PDP stakeholders, held at a different location in Adikpo, Sen. Gemade told them that he waited for eight months after his first visit to Kwande in February 2014, when he intimated them of his intention to vie for a second term at the senate but could not see them coming for it. He said because nobody from Kwande had approached him for the plum seat from Kwande axis since then, he had come again to formally inform them that he had picked his nomination form and was fully prepared for re-election into the senate.
Gemade, while advising those he described as having “insatiable appetite for power” to go for other things lamented a situation where a younger person will ask an elder to stand up and give him a seat. When he threw a question to the gathering whether he should stand up for the young man to sit, they all chorused “No!”
The former National Chairman of PDP also asked if the people of Kwande want him to bring the senate seat, which he now occupies, back to them in 2015 and they also chorused “No!”
While appreciating the people of Kwande for their overwhelming reception and support, Sen. Gemade expressed delight over his endorsement, describing Kwande as the foundation of politics in Tiv nation and Benue State at large.
He said his senate ambition is a shortcut to Kwande becoming Senator in 2019, pointing out that he will never contemplate going back to the senate again in 2019. He told them that others may want to even go for more than two terms if allowed the first chance.
According to him, after his second term, he would retire and come back and be a father in his own corner when he would have clocked 70.
Speaking earlier, the PDP stakeholders including, Mr. Terngu Shawon, who spoke through the parable on behalf of Nanev said Kwande people were pushed to the wall and they sold a dummy to the people of Sankera in order to get out of the quagmire.