By Peter Duru
MAKURDI â€” Former National Chairman of the ruling People’s Democratic Party, PDP, Chief Barnabas Gemade, has publicly declared that he is running for the Benue North East Senatorial seat in 2011 because he enjoys the support of the Senate President, David Mark and Governor Gabriel Suswam of Benue State.
The PDP chieftain maintained that the support of the duo to a large extent motivated his declaration of intent to contest the senatorial seat.
The PDP stalwart spoke at the NKST Church Gboko at a thanksgiving service to mark the 60th birthday of his wife, Chief Mrs Victoria Gemade.
The declaration stunned the audience at the occasion who waited anxiously to hear from the Governor and the Senate President who were both present at the occasion.
But both Senate President and the governor who were conscious of the implication of an open declaration of support for any candidate in the area known for its volatility, were cautious of making either a rebuttal or a confirmation when both men spoke later and rather chose to dwell on their long relationship with the Gemade family.
They agreed that the state needed senators of Chief Gemade stature who could make the desired impact in the National Assembly.
Political watchers had predicted that the thanksgiving service was organised to exhibit the political clout of the family to other contestants for the senatorial seat as well as the general public.
However, one of the numerous aspirants to the Benue North East Senatorial seat in 2011, who spoke to Vanguard on condition of anonymity said: â€œIt would take more than a thanksgiving service and a mere declaration of both Suswam and Markâ€™s support to clink a seat in Benue State.â€
â€œWe are all testing our popularity before the electorates who have the final say in this matter, so whoever is banking on the support of the Senate President and the Governor to emerge from our zone should rather think twiceâ€, the Senatorial aspirant said.