Like many of those who became governors at the return of civilian rule in 1999, Senator George Akume has also established himself as the kingmaker in the case of Benue State. The problem is that he has not been lucky in his choice of kings.
He chose or was made to endorse Gabriel Suswam as his successor in 2007. It didn’t take long before Suswam excused him out of the People’s Democratic Party, (PDP). Imagine a kingmaker without a party homestead. Anyway, he eventually found it in the All Progressives Congress, (APC). As God would have it, he didn’t have to stay in the sun for too long as the PDP misbehaved and was thrown out of power at the centre.
It was thus Suswam who miscalculated as what would have become Akume’s tragedy of staying without his state governor coying up to him did not last. In any case, he was a Senator.
Obviously learning from the crease between him and Suswam, he opted for a Samuel Ortom in 2015. It was very late in the day when Ortom arrived in the APC to seek the governorship ticket. Still, he got it. That brought some disagreement within the party but there was a settlement as the contestant who had almost got it before Ortom’s arrival cried blue murder. Akume, reflecting on how Gabriel Suswam, sent him out of the party, must have been thinking of his political survival if another young person were to go for a repeat performance. Anyway, Ortom got it and everything was going well. But not for a long time.
Insults started flying between the two, uncontrollably. It was a very entertaining exchange of verbal missiles as long as it lasted.
But that seems to be the substance of politics in Nigeria. Those reading the Bible very closely would insist it is nothing but the coming to play of the wisdom that there is a time to quarrel just as there is time to reconcile. That is exactly what has happened. The two are friends again. It must be because a strategy of live and let live serves each of them better than a strategy of containment. Those who thought they were heading for divorce must be in their own world.
Both must be deeply grateful to the facilitators of this Benueseque exercise in reconciliation, hoping though that there are no players in the field who might be standing by, hoping to put asunder what political survivalism has put together.