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How Yemisi Suswam led other women to save Taraba


There is no gainsaying that the political wrangling in Taraba had in the last few months generated reactions from many Nigerians and political leaders alike.

At a point, it seemed the state was at a precipice following the power play and differences that ensued between supporters and loyalists of the elected Governor of the state, Mr. Danbaba Suntai and his Deputy and Acting Governor, Alhaji Garba Umar who had been overseeing the affairs of the state in the last ten months.

While supporters of Governor Suntai had insisted that their principal had taken over the administration of the state following his return from medical treatment abroad, Alhaji Garba’s faction maintained that the ill Governor had not fully recovered enough to be subjected to the rigours of governance.

Benue First Lady in Taraba
Benue First Lady in Taraba

The crisis culminated in the alleged sacking of suspected loyalists of the acting Governor from political offices and counter statements from the government nullifying the alleged sack.

While the logjam lasted, a case was also instituted against the acting Governor in a law court.

The imbroglio compelled many Nigerians to raise their voices against the unhealthy development considering its implication on the general wellbeing of the peasants who constituted the majority of the populace.

Many saw  the unfolding drama as an embarrassment to the nation and a ridicule of Nigeria’s democracy which must not be allowed to linger.

In fact, a former Lagos State Commissioner of Police and renowned social critic, Alhaji Abubakar Tsav, in a telephone interview with Saturday Vanguard noted that the political logjam in Taraba State was a sad reminder to the fact the Nigerian politicians find it hard to resolve their differences without heating up the polity.

”Is the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP,  a house divided against itself?” Tsav queried.
The angry reaction of most Nigerians to the impasse prompted the intervention of the national leadership of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, which set up an in-house committee to mediate and resolve the logjam.

But that committee achieved little because soon after the committee visited that state, and thereafter pronounced that the disputing parties had agreed to jettison their difference, the major actors in the crisis forged ahead with their nocuous stance on the issue.

However, just when it seemed like all hope was lost in the quest to find lasting solution to the impasse, the Northern Governor’s Wives Forum decided to take the bull by the horn by sending an emissary to the state to broker peace.

The delegation which was led by the Chairperson of the Forum, Arc. Mrs. Yemisi  Dooshima Suswam of Benue state, also included the Vice Chairperson and wife of the Gombe State Governor, Hajia Adama Dankwambo and the Financial Secretary and wife of the Niger state Governor, Hajia Jummai Babangida Aliyu.

The women on arrival in the State  got a rousing reception met with virtually all the principal actors in the political logjam, including Governor Danbaba Suntai and his wife Mrs. Hauwa Suntai, wife of the Acting Governor Hajia Umar and the Acting Governor who was away on official assignment but was in constant touch with the emissaries.

At the peace meetings which lasted several hours, Mrs. Suswam urged all the parties to the crisis to sheath their swords and work together in the interest of the people of the state. Mrs. Suswam lamented that “as women, we have been reading disturbing reports in the newspapers about the crisis in Taraba state.

“That is why we have come on behalf of the Northern Governor’s Wives Forum to show solidarity with our sisters, the wives of the Governor and that of the acting Governor and also encourage Taraba people to embrace peace.

”We are pleading with the feuding parties and loyalists of the two factions to come together and form a formidable force to move Taraba forward so that the negative reports we read in the papers about this peace loving state would come to an end.”

The women also pleaded with the leaders of the state to shun those they described as agents of destruction and disaffection, “creating estrangement between the Governor and the acting Governor so that love, peace, compassion for one another in the state will usher in the much desired peace and the people of Taraba will feel the impact of good governance and also rejoice.”

After the meetings, the delegation departed the state with assurances from all the concerned parties that their motherly intervention in the crisis would not be in vain.

Shortly after the departure of the emissaries of the Northern Governor’s Wives Forum, the case which was instituted in a law court against the acting Governor by loyalists of Governor Suntai was withdrawn.

This was also followed by a public declaration by the acting Governor of his total loyalty to his ill boss, Governor Suntai who on his part also pleaded to work with the acting Governor in advisory capacity to ensure that the state occupied its pride of place in the scheme of things in the country.

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