From Uche Nnorom, Makurdi
Senate Minority Leader Sen. George Akume, has thrown his weight behind the re-election of Sen. Barnabas Gemade, describing him as an asset to Nigerian politics.
Sen. Akume who said this yesterday in Korinja, Konshsisha local government area, home country of Sen. Gemade during the thanksgiving service for his 66th birthday held at the St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, said in spite of different party affiliations, he has always held Gemade in high esteem and maintained cordial relationship with him, stressing the need for Benue people to uphold peace and unity.
He decried the neglect of the state by the present administration of Goodluck Jonathan, noting that past governments had accorded due recognition to Benue people in terms of appointments and infrastructural developments.
“We recall that under Shehu Shagari, Benue had two ministers and a Senate President, under late Gen. Sani Abacha, Benue had three ministers in Gemade who was then minister for Works, Dr. Iorwuese Hagher and Prof. Iyorchia Ayu. In late Yar’Adua’s administration, we had Attorney–General and Minster for Justice, Mike Aondoakaa, SAN, Director-General, NAFDAC as well as Managing director NEXIM bank. Under Jonathan, we only have one full fledged minister and one assistant minister” Akume frowned.
The senate leader seized the opportunity to debunk claims made by Governor Gabriel Suswam that he persuaded the president to intervene in the rehabilitation of federal road from Makurdi-Gboko and further, intimating that it is part of his constituency project.
“Why must he lie that he is the one rehabilitating the road when he knows very well that I am the one doing it as part of my constituency project? Suswam claims to be close to the President but if he cannot attract anything for the state from Jonathan no one will crucify him. When I was governor, I attracted so much from the presidency for the state. My legacies are there to be seen. As Governor I met a debt of over 242 million pounds and another 92 million pounds from the Paris club which were tied to projects and I cleared it up to 65% and later it was completely waved off by the Paris.
“People continue to criticize me but as Governor I ensured that there was general hospitals in all the 23 local government areas of the state and built one of the biggest teaching hospitals which was 95 % completed before I exited office these structures are there for people to see”, Akume boasted.
He urged the people to support Gemade to return to the Senate and offer quality representation to them.