Senator George Akume has unprecedented contributed to the elevation of all Benue State political players.
1)Hon. Emmanuel Udende
The Senator representing Benue North-West appointed Barr. Emmanuel Udende as his Commissioner for Local Governments and Chieftaincy Affairs when he was Governor. Udende assumed office after late Hon. Paul Uyoo was dropped due to ill-health. It was the appointment that brought the member representing the good people of Sankera at National Assembly to limelight.
2) John Ngbede
Sen. Akume held forte as Governor for 8 consecutive years. Through out the period, Ngbede was his Special Adviser on Assembly Matters. The Ado-born politician made failed attempt to emerge the state Deputy Governor in the last general elections on the platform of PDP. Perhaps, if he was in the fold of the APC stalwart, his dream could not have crashed. Today, Ngbede is the opposition party’s State Chairman.
3) Samuel Ode
The erstwhile Minister of State for Niger Delta Affairs, Sam Ode was appointed by Akume as Caretaker Chairman, Oturkpo Local Government.
4) Terhemba Shija
The humble politician cum academic was Commissioner for Information during Akume’s first tenure. The Associate Professor also headed Ministry of Local Governments and Chieftaincy Affairs during the political mogul’s first tenure. The former governorship aspirant was a Federal Lawmaker in 1992 at the age of 33. The soft spoken PDP bigwig was also Director General, Suswam’s re-election campaign. The bid witnessed very stiff and formidable opposition but they sailed through narrowly.
The strategist was one among the few aspirants that vehemently ignored Suswam’s persuasions to recede for Terhemen Tarzoo few hours to the last Benue PDP governorship primary election.
5) Terngu Tsegba
Akume successfully worked for elections of Tsegba in 1999, 2003 and 2007. The one time House of Reps, Speaker Pro Tempo was wooed to contest for senate against the political magnet in 2011, he did but lost woefully .The landslide victory discouraged the former Lawmaker from legal challenge. Tsegba has since disappeared on political landscape.
6) Steven Lawani.
Lawani ran governorship race in 2007 on the platform of PDP but failed to clinch the party’s ticket. After consultations, deliberations and persuasions, Akume considered him Suswam’s running mate. With the support of the Chairman, Senate Committee on Army, the duo recorded resounding victory.
7) Orker Jev
Jev is another man Akume is expected to occupy his mind forever. His elections in 2007, 2011 and 2015 were tremendously facilitated by Akume.
2011, the federal lawmaker lost primary election to Terfa Tyav, a former PDP faithful but the heavyweight placated the situation. Today, the Chairman, House Committee on Rules and Business is consulting how to dislodge his boss. Time shall tell !
8) David Alechenu Bournaventure Mark
The former Senate President is a force to reckon with in his district, Benue South- South, but if Akume had not waded in, unarguably, Abubakar Usman widely known as Young Alhaji would have defeated him overwhelmingly in 2003. The left wing politician locked horns with the former N0-3 Citizen of Nigeria on the platform of the defunct APP.
Shortly after Akume exercised his franchise, he swiftly relocated to the axis to save Mark. His presence exclusively swung victory in favor of the longest serving senator. Akume is not a pushover!
9) Steven Torkuma Ugba
The Prof was completely inconspicuous on political landscape. He had no structures, he wasn’t prominent and lacked financial muscles, but Akume carefully searched and found him as an unblemished and marketable material to unseat Suswam in 2011.
It was as if the PDP chieftain would fail due to the unprecedented crowd the political bigwig pulled for the former ACN governorship candidate. I recall the tension that enveloped Benue. Tiv people largely voted against Suswam, it were Idoma electorates that saved him. Today, Ugba is compensated with ambassadorial appointment.
10) Abba Morro
Akume pulled Morro from lecture hall of Benue State Polytechnic Ugbokolo and made him Okpoku Local Government Chairman. The father of Benue politics ensured the former lecturer occupied the office through out the period he was governor. The non- tribal politician also facilitated emergence of Morro as ALGON Chairman.The political giant did not stop at that but catapulted him to co-ordinate the late President Yar Adua campaign. Morro is the immediate past Interior Minister.
11) Gabriel Suswam
Mamuud Akirga of blessed memory technically unseated Suswam in 2003 when he was House of Reps member but sequel to Akume’s political wherewithal, he survived slightly. It was then the man who determines where political pendulum swings started nurturing Suswam for governor.
2007, PDP paraded about 28 governorship aspirants. During the party’s primary election, a former Federal Permanent Secreatary, Mike Onoja was leading with a comfortable margin but because Akume preferred Suswam, he tactically merged his votes with those of Raph Igbagu, the then Deputy Speaker, House of Assembly to make Suswam the party’s flag bearer and it happened. If the former Senate Minority Leader did not anoint Suswam, Onoja would have got the party’s ticket and probably emerged governor. God Almighty has used Akume to make Suswam who he is today. No doubt.
12) Engr Benson Abounu
More than a decade ago, Akume appointed him Works Commissioner. Today he has made the Engr. Deputy Governor.
13) Mzenda Iho
The former governor facilitated emergence of Iho as House of Assembly Speaker in 2002 following the controversial resignation of Margaret Icheen. Same Akume aided his election as House of Reps Member in 2007.
14) Cletus Akwaya
The Communication Specialist was brought to public domain in 2005 by the 4th Civilian Governor as his Commissioner For Information. After the former governor’s exit in 2007, his successor, Suswam “demoted” Akwaya to the portfolio of his Special Adviser on Media & Publicity. However, he was influential.
15) Dr Iorchia Ayu
During the administration of Olusegun Obasanjo, Ayu was made Minister twice by Sen. Akume. Recommendations of the Mover and Shaker of Benue politics were not turned down. Ayu manned the ministry of Internal Affairs and the ministry of Education at different times.
16) Samuel Ortom
The Executive Governor of Benue state, Chief Samuel Ortom is another person whom senator George Akume Singlehandedly made them what they are today, without doubt Ortom political career was about to end when Senator Akume called him back to and gave him the Governor he is enjoying today.
Barnabas A Gemade
The Senator representing Benue North East, Chief Barnabas was about to be disgraced by Suswam who was leaving the office and wanted to go into Senate, suwam denied Gemade the ticket in PDP, Akume out his goodwill gave Gemade his maximum support and today Gemade is in the Senate.