Recently, wives of state governors converged on Makurdi at the instance of Arch Dooshima Yemisi Suswam, wife of the Executive Governor of Benue State under the auspices of Northern Governors’ Wives Forum to discuss pertinent issues concerning the development of Nigeria as a nation.
As a mother and passionate believer in women as bedrock of any society, Suswam has demonstrated that it is time for mothers in the North to rise up for the peace and unity of the North in particular and the country in general.
Her reasoning must be along the line that each time a bomb goes off in any part of the country the woman is the worst hit in the sense that she loses a husband, a son, a daughter and could even be hit directly. Unlike men who naturally use their macho ego to suppress the sorrow and bitterness that accompany such carnage, women are usually thrown into a state of mourning, helplessness and endless wailing.
The recent summit which had 14 governors’ wives in attendance, and widely reported by the media, was aimed at exploring how to appeal to would be troublemakers and their sponsors in the north. The women packaged this as their contribution by way of support for their husbands - the governors – as part of constructive approaches to end the insecurity across the region. The choice of Suswam as the Chairperson of the forum is commendable on the part of the women, who thought it wise to combine intelligence with emotion in selecting their lead person.
Speaking to INTERVAL, Febronia Orya, member of Benue State Women for Change Initiative, said: “Beyond her looks and adroitness in public speaking, Mrs. Suswam’s sound educational background, exposure, confidence, courage and wide connections were all considered in order to achieve results in their set goals. She has continued to live above board to ensure that the purpose of this set of northern women in coming together is achieved.”
Orya added that, “In taking on this challenging position she is drawing from the experience of her husband, Rt. Hon Gabriel Suswam, who has demonstrated to the whole world that it is possible to be selfless and committed to the concept of the sky being a starting point. We in Benue State were not surprised to hear about her appointment/election as the Chairperson of the forum considering the positive footprints that she is leaving behind in every family that has benefitted from her people oriented projects across every nook and cranny of the state.”
There is however the big question in the public domain about the possibility of Governors’ wives plundering states treasury into debts using pet projects as alibis. Here many Nigerians can vouch for Mrs. Suswam considering how useful she has been able to use her project, the SEV-AV Foundation to uplift numerous Benue women, fight the HIV/AIDS scourge, rescue helpless motherless babies and empowered and taken many young ladies off the streets in Benue State.
“Over the last few years,” Orya said, “Suswam has through the SEV-AV Foundation brought several women closer to administrative policies of government as Commissioners, Special Advisers, Caretaker Chairpersons and other positions. Despite Dooshima’s very young age Benue women are comfortable to ascribe the title of ‘Mummy’ to her because of her very caring and soft mien.”
According to her, “an interaction with Mrs. Suswam at any point would reveal how well she has been able to support her husband in the transformational policies of his administration. The campaign for 35 per cent women affirmative action is a reality in Benue state as every government activity under the Suswam’s administration must record in attendance numerous female head gears courtesy of Mrs. Dooshima Yemisi Suswam. To her kudos is also the history making first female National President of the National Union of Benue State Students, first female (elected) Chairman of Agatu Local Government Area and others too list.
It is quite agreeable that Mrs. Suswam’s added feather is a call to serve the nation in higher capacity and to join forces with the progenitor of Women for Change Initiative, Dame Patience Goodluck Jonathan. However, abandoning the Benue women who are fast redirecting their focus in their families’ affairs will be a great disservice to the wellbeing of our people. Her Excellency should learn to balance her good job of reducing the dreaded HIV/AIDS, which is also another time bomb that has been going on and off to claim the lives of many Nigerians on a daily basis.
Finally, if past records are anything to count on, the move made by the governors’ wives therefore means that peace has finally returned to the nineteen northern states including the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. Our compatriots are not jittery about their mission but our mothers at this forum must rise above propaganda and trading of blames like the men have been doing. These must understand that they are navigating a very rough terrain that has defeated men in the past with the latest being General Andrew Azazi (rtd.) who was relieved of his duties as National Security Adviser to Mr. President. As a patriot I want to advise the Chairman of the Northern Governor’s Wives Forum that only dialogue can bring about peace and not any form of jamboree at the expense of taxpayers. The forum must come up with very strong decisions to encourage their male counterparts at the Northern Governors Forum that total peace in the region is achievable if they learn to keep to their electoral promises. They should force it on their husbands that the level of poverty in the north itself is Haram that must be kicked out immediately. In this case, Nigerians will be looking up to the Dooshimas to help end the unprecedented daily killings and maiming.
“As a shining star in the women crusade for good governance in Nigeria, Mrs. Suswam should have by now realized that all eyes are now set on her to replicate the Benue magic used in SEV-AV Foundation,” Orya concluded.