Barnabas Andyar Iyorhyer Gemade was born on the 4th September, (1948) in Gaav, Konshisha LGA Benue State. Dr. Barnabas Gemade is a chief from the Tiv ethnic minority. He holds the title of the Nom-I-Yange-I-Tiv. Gemade was the chief executive officer of the Benue Cement Company (BCC).
He is a Nigerian politician, a former National Chairman of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), he was a Senator representing Benue North East constituency of Benue State, Nigeria in the 9 April 2011 – 2019.
Gemade had his secondary education at Bristow Secondary School Gboko in 1963, he then proceeded to HSC Government College Keffi and graduated in 1970. After there he further his education, he attended Ahmadu Bello Univeristy Zaria, where he graduated with a Bachelors in Engineering in the year 1974. He also went to City University, London where he obtained a Master of Science in Engineering (1978).
Sen. Dr. Barnabas Gemade was the chief executive officer of the Benue Cement Company (BCC) from 1985 to 1992, and was said to have been highly effective in this position. He was a member of the 1994–1995 Constitutional Conference during the military regime of General Sani Abacha.
He held the positions of Secretary (Minister) of Works and National Chairman of the Congress of National Consensus party, which was one of the parties sponsored by Abacha.
Also, in the first national convention of the PDP after the April 1999 general elections, Gemade was elected National chairman after a tough competition with the party founder Chief Sunday Awoniyi. He succeeded Solomon Lar, the first chairman of the party, and was elected in part due to zoning rules which favoured giving the post to a Northerner. Sen. Gemade initially had the solid backing of President Olusegun Obasanjo. However, before the 2001 National Convention held on 9–10 November, he was facing strong opposition from powerful interests in the party. When he tried to be elected chairman for a second term with Dr. Okwesilieze Nwodo as secretary, the two lost out to chief Audu Ogbeh who became chairman and Vincent Ogbulafor who became secretary.
He participated in the 2003 PDP presidential primaries, Gemade lost to former President Olusegun Obasanjo, who went on to be re-elected. In April 2003 he was expelled from the PDP on account of alleged anti-party activities. The main reason was that in the 2003 elections for Governor of Benue State he had supported the candidate of the United Nigeria Peoples Party (UNPP) rather than the PDP candidate, Chief George Akume.
Gemade was later readmitted to the party and became a member of the Board of Trustees.
In the April 2011 elections, he decided to challenge Akaagerger for the Senate seat. Although, Gemade was a strong supporter of Joseph Akaagerger when he was elected Senator for Benue North East in 2007. And several incidents occurred in Benue in run-up to the election, culminating in the shooting of General Lawrence Onoja. Gemade was among leaders questioned about the violence by the State Security Services in March 2011. Others questioned included George Akume, Iyorchia Ayu and Daniel Saror.
In the 9 April 2011 elections for Senator of Benue North East, Gemade ran on the PDP platform and won 229,682 votes, beating Akaagerger who had moved to the Action Congress of Nigeria and obtained 143,978 votes.
In 2015, Gemade defected to the All Progressives Congress(APC) where he immediately won the APC primaries for the senate and thereafter won the senatorial seat in the 2015 elections.
In 2019 Sen. Gemade still contested for Senator to go for his third term but lost to Sen. Dr. Gabriel Suswam.
Chief Barnabas Gemade has an Estimated Networth of about $570 million.