THE immediate past governor of Benue State, Dr Gabriel Suswam has tongue lashed the state deputy chairman, Elders Forum, Chief Abu Shuluwa for allegedly factionalising the Peoples Democratic Party in the state
Suswam fired the salvo at the party caucus meeting held in the state capital, Makurdi, when he described Shuluwa’s group as comprising charlatans.
“I read in the media that some charlatans inaugurated the state executive. To me, I know that PDP in the state is one and who-is-who in the party in this state are with us here. We will not give recognition to anyone. We would have said those people be suspended but the fact is that we do not know them,” Suswam emphatically said.
In an apparent reference to the leadership that created two parallel camps at the national level, the former governor said the Benue chapter of PDP had no base in state.
“Modu Sherif has no supporters (here); so, as far as we are concerned in this state, there is one PDP and we are the one gathered here,” he reiterated.
He warned the party members and supporters not allow anyone to cause a crack among them, but to remain focused, with a promise that the ward executive of the party would soon be inaugurated “for us to forge ahead.”
But taking Suswam over his statement, Chief Shuluwa accused the former governor of an act of ‘disrespect to elders.”
According to him, the absence of most elders of the party from the “so-called caucus meeting,” where Suswam spoke, is evident of lack of legitimacy and popularity by the group.
“How many elders did you see with him,” Shuluwa queried, alleging that Suwam was largely responsible for the defeat of PDP in the state during the 2015 elections, as he failed to listen to the wise counsel of the elders of the party.”
“In fact, who is Suswam in politics? I brought him into politics. I was instrumental to his emergence as a member of House of Representatives in 1999 and later governor of Benue State.”
“Because these governors have so much money now and want to hijack the party structure from us PDP elders, they think they are semi-gods and with such impunity, they destroyed PDP in 2015.
“I don’t want to join issues with this young man but let those who know him, tell him to steer clear of PDP.”
When asked about the future of PDP, Shuluwa said that the raging leadership crisis in the party posed a grave danger to its bouncing back during subsequent elections.
“It is unfortunate that the party found itself in this problem. There is an adage that a house that is divided against itself cannot stand. The former governors of the party were the ones who brought us into this mess. At the initial stage, they rooted and brought in Sheriff. Later, they dumped him but are now backing Markafi,” he noted.
He enjoined all committed all PDP members, especially elders to come together and rescue the party from the cloak of those he said were bent in destroying the party.