Who the cap fits

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By Sunday Ogli

HE remains one of the founding members of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP with tall credentials. In 1999, he was elected Member of the House of Representatives, representing Logo/Ukum/Katsina-Ala federal constituency under the flagship of the PDP. As a result of his impactful leadership, Senator Gabriel Suswam was reelected to represent the constituency in 2003.

In 2007, he was elected Governor of Benue State and reelected in 2019. He lost his ambition to represent the Benue North East senatorial district to the former Chairman of the PDP, Senator Barnabas Gemade. However, in 2019, he achieved his ambition and was elected to the upper chamber of the National Assembly.

He failed to actualise his second term ambition in the Senate as he lost the 2023 election to Sen Emmanuel Udende of the All Progressives Congress, APC.

Despite his loss at the polls, Sen Sudwam did not defect to another party as it is the practice of most politicians in our clime, instead, he clung onto his membership of the PDP.

During the period of his service as governor, senator and reps member, Sen Suswam promoted the PDP platform through initiation and implementation of laws and projects to the benefit of his constituents and Benue state at large.

He was popular for road infrastructure, a development which gave him the nickname, “Mr Infrastructure.” In fact, the late Minister of Information, Dr Dora Akunyili, had this to say of him: “Governor Suswam has turned Benue into a construction site.”

Today, he wants to lead the party at the national level, having served it meritoriously for about 25 years!

He disclosed his interest in the national chairmanship of the party before the State Working Committee, SWC of the party and the PDP caucus of the Benue North East senatorial district at separate meetings in Makurdi and Katsina-Ala respectively. He said he has what it takes to lead the party.

The former Governor said if the tradition of the PDP was anything to go by, he was the right person to replace Dr Iyorchia Ayu, the party’s immediate past National Chair who is also from the state and complete his tenure.

He said he has consulted and gotten blessings of leaders of the party in the state, including former Governor Samuel Ortom, Sen David Mark and Sen Abba Moro.

He informed the SWC and party caucus that the constitution of the party and precedence has given the north central and especially Benue right to complete the tenure of their son, Senator Iyorchia Ayu whose tenure was cut short through the law court.

Suswam said that as a committed and loyal member of the party, he had always given his support to the party and was ready to unite it and mobilise for the party ahead of the 2027 elections.

He called on all to bury the hatchet over the past general elections and come together as one family to move the party forward as the PDP remains the only viable vehicle that can lead Nigeria to the promising land.

A member of the Board of Trustees, BoT of the party, Chief Mrs Margaret Icheen, the governorship candidate of PDP in the 2023 general election, Hon Titus Uba, the North Central secretary of the PDP, Hon. Maurice Tsav and others have given him their blessings.

At a meeting with the North Central caucus of the party in Abuja, Suswam said, “I cherish that feeling, when you talk things out with someone and both of you become aware that neither of you was wrong.

“You both just saw scenarios differently. To me, conversations shouldn’t be about who’s rigt or wrong, but rather to acknowledge our individual differences.

“PDP is still the biggest party in Nigeria and in such a big house, there are bound to be some disagreements now and then, but we always recover, reconcile, and move forward, we’ve never been static or stagnant, as seen in the last general election.

“My leadership will pursue unity and peace, inclusiveness and everyone will have a sense of belonging.”

Joe Tsavsar, a PDP enthusiast has this to say of him: “His Excellency, Senator Gabriel Torwua Suswam, a founding member of PDP in Benue State since 1998 has not changed or cross carpet from the party as some of his friends who have moved from one political party to another in trying to achieve their political interests.

“He has proven to be a stable politicians despite the shenanigans against him in his political career.

“He has contested 7 electoral positions, won 5, lost two but is never shaken unlike his friends and associates who in pursuit of their ambitions moved parties countless times.

“This has proven that he is not a fair weather but a committed politician who is determined to deliver to his people the best they deserve.

“His interest to contest the position of the Chairman of the party at this time that the party is struggling to come back is a good development. The Party needs a core member of the party without alloyed commitment.

“Based on the records, he is one of the few members of the party who can beat his chest of standing straight without wavering.

“Looking at the history of 15 PDP Chairmen from 1998,
40 % are found to be unstable, and the others are no longer active in politics.
The Party needs a committed Member like him to mobilise and galvanise the party to give the ruling party a chase in 2027.

“He is the only person who have shown 100% loyalty to the party and understand the concerns of the people as he did in his earlier leadership positions from House of Representatives for 8 years, Governor of Benue State for 8 years, the Senate for 4 years.

“His commitment to the party is also demonstrated in the party assignments given to him over the years which he did excellently well.

“These and many more are testimonies to the fact that he can do well to propel the party to greater heights if given the opportunity. He is the person we need now.”

Recall that Dr Iyorchia Ayu was elected as the National Chairman of the PDP in October 2021 to serve a term of four years.

According to section 47 (1) of the PDP constitution, each elected officer of the party “shall hold office for a term of four years and shall be eligible for reelection for another term and no more”.

However, Ayu was suspended from office in March 2023, after the executive members of Igyorov ward, Gboko LGA of Benue, passed a vote of no confidence on him over alleged anti-party activities.

The LGA executives claimed that Ayu worked against the success of the PDP in his ward during the 2023 elections.

They also alleged that he was not paying his membership dues and did not vote in the March 18 governorship and House of Asembly elections in the state.

Ayu’s suspension was upheld by the court. He was stopped from parading himself as the party’s national chairman.