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Suswan – A Joke Too Far

GABRIEL Suswan has raised alarm that some people were bent on kidnapping him and members of the family. With the spates of kidnaps all over the country, this would not have been any news. Some people would think this Suswan was an attention seeker.

Suswan is the Governor of Benue State. He is really addressed as the “Executive Governor of Benue State”. Suswan personally told this story of a plot to kidnap him, his family, and his commissioners from Government House. Someone who had contact with kidnappers told him the story, the Governor bought it and told the public.

It may seem a curious tale, but the Governor told it. Was he expecting our sympathy? Did he know what he was saying? Did he realise that he was still the chief security officer of the State?

Would the Governor know the implications of the Governor of a State not being safe within Government House? If the Governor was not safe in his State who would be?

Instructively, the Governor was  on his way to a one-month holiday (of course abroad) when he told the world how unsafe his State was. By the time he is back, he would say he was in search of  foreign investors. Why would the investors come to a State where the Governor is not safe?

Suswan should not get away with this joke for it is capable of spawning other tales of the state of insecurity in the country. If the Governor of a State in Nigeria, with all the security available to him – police, army, navy, air force, SSS, national intelligence agency – and his private arrangements can complain about his personal safety what hope is there for the rest of the State?

Governors have immunity and some are bound to abuse it. In his utterances about this matter, Suswan has cast doubts about the state of security in his State. After creating the panic, he left for his holiday.

We think politicians must have ways of settling their differences in their States without throwing the entire polity into confusion. High offices go with responsibilities, among them, restraint and circumspection in what office holders say.

If Suswan was from another political party, his position that Benue State was so unsafe that the Governor and his entire cabinet and their families were endangered would have been good reason to declare a state of emergency in Benue State.

Suswan could have been playing to the gallery but this is a matter far too serious to be turned into a joke. Nigerians are edgy about the state of security. They can live with their doubts without high-ranking people in authority, like Suswan, adding to their anxieties.

The people of Benue State deserve an apology from their Governor who gleefully swore to the Constitution, including Section 14 2 (b), which states, “The security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government “, without seeming to understand what it says.


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