Benue State All Progress Congress, APC, Vice Chairmen have accused the Benue state Governor, Hyacinth Alia of not paying his dues to the party.
In a communique signed by the State Vice Chairmen, Zone A, B and C, Barrister Vincent Uji, James Tor, and Bishop Pinot, they said the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Senator George Akume is not mounting any pressure on the governor in any way, except Governor Alia is hiding that from them.
They urged the Governor to address the negligence concerns raised by the party to stabilise his government and party.
The statement reads: ” We are making this public address, conscious of the fact that if Benue is united and becomes a better place today, everyone of us would be happy and by extension, our children would equally benefit from the development agenda, but where issues are left to degenerate, it would weaken the cord of our collective existence and visit excruciating harm on all of us. It is on this note that we commit to truth and nothing but the truth in airing our position on this matter publicly for the first time, after series of clandestine mediatory efforts with the governor.
3. You would recall that the shaky relationship between His Excellency, Rev. Fr. Dr. Hyacinth lormem Alia and-his party the All Progressives Congress (APC) started in June this year, during the inauguration of the State Assembly where the governor had preference for a candidate for the position of Speaker but could not confer with the leadership of the party, rather he allowed the party to painstakingly sit, zone the position and annoint a candidate that was not his choice. The end result was an embarrassing situation where stalwarts of the party were enmeshed in a shameful altercation that clearly lowered them and the party in the chamber of the Benue State House of Assembly.
“Away from the speakership tussle, the party again nominated and spread other principal officers of the Assembly, namely; Majority Leader, Deputy Majority Leader, Chief Whip and Deputy Chief but shockingly, the Speaker happily accepted ALL nominations from the Peoples Democratic Party as duly endorsed by the PDP State Chairman and Secretary, however, he jettisoned the list submitted by APC and rather announced the list that was allegedly submitted by the governor, through his Chief of Staff.
“It was a humiliating experience for the party, having to face that level of neglect in the hands of an administration we all laboured hard to plant, nevertheless, we sustained our faith in the governor and his government. Even when we felt so bitter and visited the Leader of the party, Sen. Dr George Akume, he simply counselled us to pray for Gov. Alia and give him EVERY SUPPORT he needs to succeed as governor.
” During the first stakeholders meeting that we held with the governor in Government House, our State Chairman, Comrade Austin Agada practically went on his knees, took all the blames apologizing to the governor and all party faithful, asking them to put behind them, the State Assembly disagreement and come together to protect the soul of the party. Gov. Alia also eulogized Sen. George Akume during the meeting, with a promise to always work together so that Benue and the party would harness democratic gains. The governor also pledged that he would from that point, involve the party deeply in taking sensitive decisions, particularly the forthcoming nomination of commissioners and local government caretaker committees, another promise that excited all partymen and women with overwhelming applause.
“In picking his commissioners, His Excellency exercised his sole discretion without the usual tradition of directing local governments to make nominations taking cognizance of zonings and necessary political permutations, he rather made his independent choices as he found soothing but the party did not oppose him; we rather gave our full support to his action since that was his own State Executive and Security Council and he needed people he could trust.
” When it was time for the nomination of caretaker committees to administer the local government councils, Gov. Alia threw it back to party members during the second stakeholders meeting by demanding an immediate nomination of three candidates each for the positions of Council Caretaker Chairman, Deputy and Secretary as well as Supervisory Councillors across the 23 local governments, demanding for 2 slots of supervisory councillors from each of the local governments, this was the first time a Governor would demand such from the caretaker council formatton as against the usual 1 slot per local government. The party jubilantly agreed and obeyed the directive by holding meetings, and painstakingly nominating and submitting their various lists with a relieving sense of belonging.
” But quite shockingly, when the nominations were finally announced, the party was bewildered that 80% of the names were outside the actual nominees that were sent to the governor on his directive. It can safely be said that members of opposition parties and alien faces made the lists in a higher proportion than members of APC, the govemor’s party. We are not pushing to usurp or share powers with His Excellency but if the governor was interested in forming a unity government, he would have simply called a general meeting of all Benue people and requested nominations from them rather than allowing APC members sweat to microzone the positions, shop for names and raise the hopes of candidates who were eventually ignored, dropped and their opponents, most of whom are members of rival political parties appointed.
” In all this misgiving and dissatisfaction, the announcement of caretaker committees marked the pinnacle of a noticeably sour relationship between Gov. Hyacinth Alia and the APC in Benue State and this snowballing anger by all standards is justifiable. Facing series of maltreatment from our own governor has been a bitter experience that some party members could not stomache anymore; but even at that, the State Chairman and the Working Committec did everything humanly possible to stop protests and other uprisings that may have embarrassed both the government and the party.
” Worried by this high rate of neglect, 21 local government party chairmen out 23 in the state opted to stage street protests to express their open disapproval of the governor’s intentional disregard for the party but they were persuaded by the State Chairman to sheathe their swords and await outcome of the governor’s meeting with the State Chairman which eventually did not yield reasonable outcomes. It was at that breaking point that the agitated local government chairmen resorted to the issuance of a communique and protestation to the National Chairman in order to register their justifiable grievances.
” It is also trite to mention, gentlemen of the press and the general public that as elders in the exco, we, the three zonal chairmen did not rest on our oars in seeking solutions; we have made frantic reconciliatory moves, trying to find out what the real issues were but in all our efforts, we could not get tangible issues capable of tearing the party apart. Our Leader, Sen. George Akume has deep love for Gov. Hyacinth Alia and in all our meetings, he has never spoken ill of the governor at any point; he has consistently admonished us to pray and support the governor to succeed, same way the governor eulogizes Sen. Akume at all times and hints of a cordial relationship between them.
” Ladies and gentlemen, the condition of Benue APC can best be likened to a helpless husband with a very beautiful wife that sleeps around with only his neighbours and enemies while he, the lawful husband is deprived of his conjugal rights. Gov. Alia seems to have more confidence in patronizing people outside APC, majority of whom had opposed him tenaciously during the electioneering periods and voting days than his partymen and women who ideally should have a cordial working relationship with him.
“A cursory look at the community of “Emergency APC Stakeholders” now trooping the Benue State Government House with Nicodemus profession of love for the governor clearly reveals an intention to either undermine core APC members in the state or a decision to perpetually surpress them. The last visit of the so-called party stakeholders leaves a lot to ponder about. Recall that shortly after Gov, Alia was nominated as the gubernatorial candidate of our party last year, Sen. Barnabas Gemade relocated from his house and was dwelling perpetually in the law courts where he sought to amongst other legal prayers, nullify the Alia ticket so as to leave APC without a candidate and after that suit became fruitless for him he went home and partnered with Sen. Joseph Akaagerger to work tirelessly for Herman Hembe and Peter Obi both of the Labour Party, that is evident in the results that emanated from his local government; Gen. Lawrence Onoja who openly campaigned for the Labour Party following his grievance v it (he shoice of Hon. Dr Sam Ode as Deputy Governorship candidate? As a sitting House | of Representatives Member for Otukpo/ Ohimini, Hon. Lady Blessing Onuh avoided Candidate Alia all the four times he Visited Otukpo to campaign, even at instances she was present in Otukpo; in fact, she left Nigeria shortly winning her National Assembly election without waiting to vote for the governor or to at least canvass support him during the gubernatorial election, such is also the story of Chief Ameh Ebute one wonders if he’s still active in politics due to his absence in campaigns and even elections, he’s only seen at events where cash carrying envelopes will be shared as souvenirs. Why has Saul suddenly become Paul?
“The greatest shocker that sent jitters down our spines is the presence of Hon. Dr. Chile Igbawua, a 2023 PDP govemorship aspirant, Coordinator General of all PDP 2023 Governorship Aspirants and Coordinator Atiku/Okowa Campaign Organization in Benue and an active PDP stalwart now appearing in Government House and on TV stations as an APC Concerned Stakeholder who is speaking in defence of the governor, we have also credibly gathered that a 5 man propaganda committee has been set headed by the OBIdient Gen. Lawrence Onoja and Emmanuel Jime whom assiduously worked for Atiku as member with a mandate to perforate the Villa and National Secretariat of our party with falsehoods and mistruth against the party and the SGF to misrepresent the Benue situation, the committee has since been funded and has commenced operations.
” Benue APC had made a decisive choice to support the governor right from the primary election, through the campaigns, during elections and after elections and the party cannot turn against him overnight. The governor simply needs to retrospectively check why this singular complaint of negligence of the party keeps resonating in all our dealings with him.
” In the final analysis, we wish to state that the crisis rocking our party is not an Alia versus Akume fight, neither is it an Alia versus Agada fight. This is purely a fight for the survival and recognition of the party that has provided a convenient platform forhis emergence as the Governor of Benue State.
” We are thankful to God that the Leader of the party, Sen. Akume has been elevated to the position of Secretary to the Government of the Federation, a strategic position whose partnership would assist our governor to develop Benue to a state of our dreams. As far as we know, the Leader is not mounting any pressure on the governor in any way, except Gov. Alia is hiding that from us; the party too has not asked His Excellency for money yet except his monthly dues to the party which he has not obliged to since he became Governor; what is needed now is strategic partnership between the governor and the SGF for the good of the state.
1″We would like to end this address by commending the President, Federal Republic of Nigeria, Bola Ahmed Tinubu GCFR, the Secretary to the Federal Government, Sen. Dr. George Akume CON, the National Chairman of our party, Sen. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje OFR and our young but vibrant State Chairman, Comrade Austin Agada for their show of leadership and love for the party. To our dear governor, Rev. Fr. Hyacinth Iormem Alia, we love you; we believe that a harmonious relationship with the party can make Benue an idea home for all of us and it is why we request that you improve on your relationship with your own party for a better working synergy.
” We thank you all, gentlemen of the press and God bless you all”