2015: Tussle Over “Benue Bridge”

If you are reading this, it means you are a very curious person and that’s a complement. In the build-up to governorship primaries and ultimately elections in 2015, governorship aspirants are leaving no stone unturned in convincing the populace of their candidature. One interesting tussle has been who deserves to be called the “Benue bridge”, some socio-ethnic or political bridge I guess and with two aspirants laying down strong claims to the title.

Dr Sam Ode

Dr Sam Ode

On one hand is Dr Sam Ode, who had this to say about why he should be called “the bridge”,

The context of Sam Ode as the bridge, I will approach it from two perspectives. I am a bridge between the young and old because I relate well with both groups. I was opportune to supervise the very important Bureau for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs and it provided me a platform to have grassroots reach and also, create goodwill with the traditional institution in Benue State. So, that bridge is existing; biologically, I have a bridge that is running across the three zones of the state. My mother Helen Kondun Swem is the first child if the late Kondun Swem, a two times member if the House of Representative. My grandmother, Catherine Tarka is the first child of the JS Tarka family from Zone B and my father the late Colonel Chris Ikwe Ode is native of Otukpo. So there can never any bridge better than this that is flowing from Zone A, through Zone B and then Zone C and back again.

Chief Amb Engr Dr Mrs Ada Chenge

Chief Amb Engr Dr Mrs Ada Chenge

On the other hand is the aspirant with the highest number of…I don’t know but when I write her name, you will know what I mean, Chief Amb. Engr. Dr. Mrs. Ada Chenge. She is widely regarded as the bridge between the Idomas and Tivs by birth and marriage respectively, as she acknowledges,

“My husband is from Jechira, the Tiv and Idoma are yearning for Ada Chenge, a marriage of Tiv and Idoma. The MINDA people are strongly with me. I schooled in Makurdi for my first and second degrees, so my citizenship is interwoven, they are inseparable.”

It remains to be seen who will win this tussle, but one thing is clear, that Benue State needs someone who can serve as in bridge between the years disappointment and better days.

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