By Tersoo Zamber
The one successful career civil servant turned Political demagogue of our time in Benue and perhaps, beyond, in recent times, is His Excellency, Distinguished Senator Dr. George Igbegbe Akume Dajoh.
From a humble beginning, Dr. George Akume grew through the ranks in civil service to reach the zenith of his career as a Permanent Secretary in Benue state civil service.
Thereafter, Sir George would become the third democratically elected Governor of the food basket state in 1999, after the late Mr. Apollos Aper Aku and Rev. Fr. Moses Orshio Adasu, whose milestones have remained indelible on the sands of time despite leaving office decades ago.
After Dr. Akume’s two terms in office as Governor, he was elected Senator in 2007 and he represented the people of Benue North West for three terms of 12 cumulative years in the red chamber of the National Assembly.
While there, he held very sensitive positions ranging from Senate Minority leader to Chairman, Senate Committee on Army.
Unfortunately, he lost his bid to return to the Senate the fourth time but fortunately, he was appointed minister of Special Duties and Intergovernmental Affairs, a post he holds till date.
Because of the political offices he has held, which are Governor, Senator and Minister, his followers have coined the nickname, “GSM” for him. In fact, some refer to him as an “institution” while others address him as the APC leader of North Central.
Arguably, Sir George is the most accomplished Politician in Benue today.
Hate or love him, Senator Akume remains the anointed kingmaker in Benue in recent times.
For instance, the two Governors that came after him, Sen. Gabriel Torwua Suswam Tingir and Chief Samuel Ioraer Ortom Adorogo are products of Dr. Akume’s political sagacity.
In addition, Sen. Akume has produced many prominent politicians today who have fought him while others are still fighting him.
What such people have failed to realise is that, he who God has blessed, no man can curse.
Take it or leave it, Sir George is blessed to be the political leader of Tiv people in our time.
Despite his many shortcomings as a human being, he still has intimidating followership to the amazement of some, including my humble self who vehemently opposes his kind of politics.
Sen. Akume is undoubtedly known to be humane, generous and humourous.
His generosity is legendry, hence the nicknaming of the Starlet cars he gave people when he was Governor, “Akume thank you”.
To his credit is the fact that, Sir George opened up Makurdi, the state capital, constructed General Hospitals across the state, expanded the State University to have School of health sciences and a Teaching Hospital.
That Teaching hospital is due for take over by the Federal Government as done in Ebonyi state, which Sen. Akume as minister stands a good chance to lobby for such, to save his legacy from collapse.
His weaknesses include high-handedness which has pave the way for him to impose candidates on the people as leaders who have failed him and the people.
Again, to buttress the point above, Sen. Suswam, Chief Ortom and Hon. Terngu Tsegba quickly come to mind as those who have fought their benefactor, Dr. Akume.
At 67, Sir George has achieved a lot politically and other endeavors.
However, going forward, he needs to review his political style.
Sen. Akume must stop the politics of imposing unwanted candidates on the people.
He should learn to listen to the wishes of the people like his uncle, the late Sen. JS. Tarka who gave Benue Aper Aku as Governor in place of his choice, Chief Isaac Shaahu.
The Honourable Minister must also know that Tarka Local Government is for every Mbakor person and no one should be treated as second class indigene.
He should unite the people and give them a sense of belonging, regardless of their backgrounds.
Sir George should know that, not all will lick his boots in order to climb the ladder same way he has climbed without licking anyone’s boots.
Sen. Akume must also learn to control his emotions. Leaders don’t lose their tempers no matter the provocation.
They review situations and make amends without shouting to high heavens and insults.
He should begin to recruit leaders based on what they can offer, not how close they are to him.
He should see governance as a public property rather than private belonging.
Sir George should engage more in national politics than state and local politics.
This is my honest message and wish for Sir George at 67.
I know, this is one sure way my message can get to him.
Happy birthday Honourable Minister of the Federal Republic.
Tersoo Zamber is your son.