5 Civilian Governors in Benue State and the Impact they made During their Tenures

You can not just talk about Benue state without talking about these 5 Heroes, these actors contributed a lot to the development of Benue State. They are:


Aper Aku was born in 1938 in Ikyobo, Ukan Ushongo Local Government Area of Benue State. He started his primary education at Aku Primary School between 1943-1947 and from 1948 to 1951, he attended the Senior Primary School, Mkar.

He later studied at Government College, Keffi from 1952 to 1957, and then studied at Nigeria College of Arts and Science (later Ahmadu Bello University ) from 1958 to 1961. He studied for a degree at Fourah Bay University , Sierra Leone in 1961–1964.
Aku became a teacher in 1964 at William Bristow Secondary School, Gboko, and later taught at Bauchi Provincial Secondary School and Government Secondary School, Gombe. He attended Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria (1965–1966) for a post-graduate Course in Education.
After that he joined the Federal Government and worked with External Aid for Education and the Federal Ministry of Establishment in 1968. He was the Principal of the Federal Training Centre, Kaduna from 1970–1972 and a member of the Governing Council, University of Ibadan (1972–1976).

In May 1974 and again in August 1974, Aku wrote to Joseph Dechi Gomwalk, Governor of Benue-Plateau State, accusing him of nepotism and financial wrongdoings, and filed affidavits to this effect. General Yakubu Gowon dismissed the allegations at the time and ordered Aku’s detention. However, a probe initiated by Gowon’s successor Murtala Mohammed vindicated Aku, saying that the allegations were true.

His Political Career.

Aper Aku was appointed the Chairman of Kwande Local Government Council in 1977 by Abdullahi Shelleng, Benue state governor. He presided over a hostile council because the councillors belonged to different factions; some councillors where loyal to Joseph Tarka , Aku’s mentor and some were loyal to Paul Unongo, a leader of another political camp. However his administration was perceived as honest and effective.

In 1978 Mr. Aku resigned as the local government chairman and entered the Benue State primary race for governor under the platform of the National Party of Nigeria (NPN). He won the NPN primaries over so many challengers such as Isaac Shaahu and George Atedze. In 1979, he was elected Governor of Benue State and was re-elected in 1983. Aku faced severe problems as governor in a state with a long history of neglect, particularly in the southern area which was inhabited by minority groups.


His Contribution to the Development of the State.

Aku encouraged mass agricultural production, and during his tenure the state produced bumper harvests of local crops such as yams, cassava, soya beans, cowpea, maize, guinea corn, millet, groundnut, banana, mangoes and oranges Because the state has fertile land and plentiful rainfall, with great agricultural potential. The Government established a number of industries to produce fertilizer and process agricultural products, located close to the areas where the produce was grown.
Governor Aku launched commercial enterprises such as the Benue Brewery, Benro Packaging, Benue Bottling Company, Lobi Bank, Ber-Agbum Fish Farm, Ikogen Cattle Ranch, Taraku Vegetable Processing Industry and Benue International Hotel in Makurdi. He initiated the Makurdi International Market and planned to establish a flour mill in Makurdi. Aku also built a state of the art State Secretariat He cancelled work on a large medical centre at Apir and instead began construction of seven cottage hospitals in different locations. He established two Teachers Colleges at Oju and Makurdi and the University of Technology in Makurdi.
He embarked on an ambitious program to expand the number of Secondary Schools. He built roads in Makurdi township and provided the street lights, awarded the contract for the Art Council Complex and started work on the Makurdi stadium.
When Muhammadu Buhari took power in a coup On 31 December 1983,
and replaced the civilian governors with military officers. When Aku was removed from office, the state’s finances were severely overdrawn. Many of the projects he had begun were later abandoned by the later military governors, and agricultural production plunged. The elaborate water supply schemes that Aku had initiated was abandoned, and the infrastructure that had been built was not maintained. To this day, the Late Governor Aper Aku is regarded as the best governor ever in Benue State. Professor David Iornem once referred to him as a visionary leader ahead of his time.
Unfortunately, Buhari jailed Aku and most of the other Governors, setting up military tribunals to investigate their conduct while in office. Aku’s health was broken by the harsh conditions in jail, and he died in 1988 shortly after being released.



Rev Fr. Adasu was born on 12th June, 1945 at Mbaamena, Mbamar Shangev-Tiev District of Konshisha Local Government Area of Benue State.

He attended St. James Junior Seminary Keffi in 1966–1968 also attended St. Augustine’s Major Seminary, Jos, an affiliate of the Propaganda Fide in 1969–1972 graduating with a bachelor’s degree in Divinity. He later studied at St. John’s University, New York City in 1975–1976, where he earned his M.A. degree, and then at Catholic University of America, Washington DC 1976–1978 where he gained a Masters of Religious.

His Political Career.

Adasu was elected the second Executive Governor of Benue State on the 2nd January 1992. He was said to have had a positive impact on conditions during his two-year term.

His impact.

He was the founder Benue State University on 27th December 1991. He reactivated and upgraded the College of Education, Oju. He conceived the concept of the Tarka Foundation, named after Senator Joseph Sarwuan Tarka and launched on 2nd July 1992. The foundation’s building occupies five hectares of land in Makurdi and includes an art gallery, conference rooms, recreational centers and chalets.[6] The mandate of the foundation is unclear.

Other projects that he started included BENCO roof tile, and the K/Ala fruit juice company which he was unable to complete but before he was pushed out of office by the military government.

According to Adasu “politics is not a dirty game, but those who are in it for selfish reasons make it dirty”. Also he said “I am in politics to baptise politics and make it pure”. He was removed from office when General Sani Abacha came to power in November 1993, replaced by Group Captain Joshua Obademi.

In the Nigerian Fourth Republic Adasu was appointed a member of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) in January 1991. He resigning from the ICPC in June 2002 to reenter politics. As a member of the Alliance for Democracy (AD) party he challenged the incumbent Governor George Akume of the
People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in the April 2003 gubernatorial elections. [3] He was not successful. In September 2004 he was head of one of the National Convention Committees for the AD, after a factional split in the party caused by the return of former chairman Ahmed Abdulkadir.
Adasu died on 20 November 2005. After his death Benue State University conferred an honorary doctorate degree on Adasu.
He was a Senior Inspector of Education at the Benue State Ministry of Education headquarters, Makurdi . He also taught in Secondary and Teachers Colleges in Jos, Otukpo and Adikpo, and at the Colleges of Education in Akwanga and Katsina-Ala .
He was a member of the Christian Pilgrims Welfare Board, the Benue State Prerogative of Mercy, the Advisory Council of the Episcopal Commission on African Tradition Religion, and the Board of Governors of the College of Education, Katsina-Ala. He was Chairman of the Presbyteral Council, Dean of Makurdi Deanery, Diocese of Makurdi and Vicar-General, Diocese of Makurdi.



George Akume was Born on the 27th December 1953.

He started his Primary Education at the then Native Authority (N.A) Primary School at his birth place (Wannune, now Tarka LGA) in 1960 –1966 and
the former Government Secondary School, Otobi now Model Science School, Otukpo, Benue State, in 1967 – 1971 for his Secondary Education.

George attended St. Louis College (his Advanced Level) in 1972, and there after proceeded to the Premier University, the University of Ibadan for his Bachelor of Science Degree in Sociology in the year 1978. He also obtained his Masters Degree in Industrial and Labour Relations (MILR) from the same Department and
University in 1986. He was at Administrative Staff
College of Nigeria (ASCON) where he obtained a
Certificate in Management (1988).

His Political Career.

In 1999, he became the governor of Benue State and served two terms of four years (1999-2003 and 2003-2007). He also contested and won elections to represent Benue North-West as a senator in 2007_2011. Akume was re-elected Senator for Benue North-West in the April 2011 elections, running on the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) platform. He polled 261,726 votes, defeating Terngu Tsegba of the PDP who won 143,354 votes. He was again re-elected to the senate under the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in 2015. He was the Minority Leader of the Senate from June 2011 to June 2015.
He was chairman senate committee on army and a ranking member of senate. He was nominated and confirmed a minister of the Federal Democratic Republic of Nigeria.
Sen. Akume is the current Minister of Special Duties and Inter-governmental Affairs.



Sen. Dr. Gabriel Torwua Suswam was born on 15th November 1964 in Anyiin , Logo Local Government Area of Benue State. In 1986.

He obtained an LL.B degree from University of Lagos in 1989, and the BL Certificate from the Nigerian Law School , Lagos in 1990. He was called to the Bar in the same year. He worked for other law firms from 1990 to 1994, while continuing his studies. In 1994 he launched his own law firm.

His Political Career

He ran for office in the House of Representatives for the Katsina-Ala / Ukum/Logo Federal Constituency in 1999 election, and was elected on the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) platform.

He was appointed Chairman of the House Services Committee, and later Chairman, House Committee on FCT. He ran again, and was re-elected in 2003. On 3rd July 2003, he was appointed Chairman, House Committee on Appropriation, then in August, 2005 he was appointed Chairman, House Committee on Power.
Gabriel Suswam was elected Governor of Benue State 2007.

He also ran for a second tenure in the 26 April 2011 gubernatorial elections on the PDP platform. He got about 590,776 votes, beating runner-up Prof. Stephen Torkuma Ugba of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), who got 499,319 votes.
On the 28th March, 2015 general elections, Gabriel Torwua Suswam lost the senatorial seat election to Chief Barnabas Gemade of All Progressives Congress (APC).
In 2019 election, he still contested and won the senatorial seat, Gabriel Suswam is currently the senator representing Benue North/East senatorial district.

His impact.

Sen. Suswam contributed a lot to Development of the State, he completed some of the projects started by Akume, like building of Benue State University Faculty of Law, Benue State University Teaching Hospital etc



Dr. Samuel Loraer Ortom was born on 23rd April 1961 in Guma Local Government Area of Benue State.

He attended St. John’s Primary School, Gboko in 1970 and later moved to St. Catherline’s Primary School, Makurdi in 1974 where he completed his primary education in 1976. He proceeded to Idah Secondary Commercial College, Idah in Kogi State for high School.

Governor Ortom’s higher education was cut short suddenly due to certain financial issues at the time. Soon after he enrolled by correspondence for a General Certificate of Education (GCE) as well as a Diploma in Salesmanship at the National Institute of Salesmanship, Manchester.
Ortom proceeded to the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria where he obtained both the Interim Joint Matriculation Board Certificate in 1995 and a
Diploma in Journalism in 1998. He later
attended Benue State University where he obtained an Advanced Diploma in Personnel Management in 2001 and a Master of Public Administration in 2004.

He concluded his academic pursuit obtaining a doctorate degree from the Commonwealth University, Belize,
through distant learning.

He began his professional career working as a sales man with Gyado Foods Company and rose to the position of Sales Manager.
Dr. Samuel Ortom was also at a time the National President, Independent Print-Media Publishers Association of Nigeria, IPPAN, and at the moment a patron of the association. He was appointed Chairman of the governing
council of the Standards Organization of Nigeria, SON.
He also served in the capacity of proprietor and
chairman in the following businesses: Oracle Business Limited; Oracle Oil Mills; Oracle Printing Press; Oracle Farms Limited; Capital Prints Limited and Achieve Engineering Limited.
He went on to establish the
Oracle Business Limited Foundation, which
handles redemptive, restorative and
empowerment services.

His Political Career.

Dr. Samuel Ortom ran for Chairmanship in Guma Local Government Area in 1991 under the platform of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) and won; serving till 1993. Subsequently he served in the following capacities and political positions:

State Publicity Secretary of the National Centre Party of Nigeria (NCPN); State Treasurer of the All Peoples Party (APP); State Secretary and Deputy Chairman of the Peoples Democratic
Party (PDP); PDP National Auditor; Director of Operations of the PDP gubernatorial campaign in Benue State (2007) and Director of Administration and Logistics of the Goodluck/Sambo Presidential Campaign Organization (2011).
He was later appointed Minister of State, Industry, Trade and Investment of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in July 2011 and served till October 2014 when he resigned to
contest for Governor of Benue State under the
platform of the Peoples Democratic Party. He
emerged winner in the 2015 gubernatorial
elections, becoming the Governor of Benue



Mkohol Aondona Kenneth is a political science student of Benue State University Makurdi. He is from Konshisha LGA of Benue State,

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