Due to irreconcilable differences among the state’s major ethnic and interest groups, the All Progressives Congress’ (APC) attempt to unseat the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as governor of Benue State is currently in jeopardy.
The latest controversy centers on allegations of collusion between Benue South (Zone C Senatorial District) and the Gubernatorial Campaign Council, the main group responsible for supporting the party’s governorship candidate, Rev Father Hyacinth Alia.
On Wednesday, sources told our correspondent that the APC’s political fortunes might plummet and the party might as well forget its goals if the internal crises are not effectively managed, particularly by the national leaders ordering the state APC leaders to order.
Positions in the Governorship Campaign Council that were deemed to be inappropriately given to party leaders in Benue South have already been flatly rejected due to injustice and unfairness to Zone C.
For instance, a group operating under the auspices of the G-9 Benue South Progressive Forum has reiterated its willingness to work for Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s election as the All Progressives Congress’s (APC) presidential candidate in the general election of 2023, but it has reservations about the governorship candidate.
The APC governor candidate was alleged to have refused to concede any important positions to the Zone in the event of his victory, aside from the alleged unsuitable positions in the State Campaign Council.
At an emergency meeting in Abuja, the group’s chairman, Chief Johnson Agada, who has the support of the former Senate President, former federal and state lawmakers, and former military officers among others, promised journalists that his group would fight injustice and unfair treatment during the political climate in Benue in 2023.
The group’s attention, according to Agada, was drawn to some posts that were circulated in some media outlets and claimed that the group had stopped supporting the APC and its presidential candidate in the 2023 election.
Agada clarified that those making such news were those who had been kicked out of the group due to their alleged dubious morals and intolerable social antics.
Agada, however, claimed that the governorship candidate undermined the Benue South (Idoma) people by failing to appear for negotiations as agreed upon during his first visit to the group, which is why group members rejected appointments into the State’s Campaign Council.
“We are not ignorant. In a meeting with Rv. Father Hyacinth Alia, the APC’s candidate for governor, we presented him with demands on behalf of Zone C residents, and he promised to get back to us once he had considered them.
But he never showed up, and then we were startled to see some of our names listed as members of the State’s Campaign Council on a distorted statement.
“We had to respond to and reject such appointments in writing right away. He undercut our power and our efforts to be cohesive and united.
Another senior member of the group and Chieftain of the party, Prof. Dickson Akoh, responded by stating that the group firmly supports Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s candidacy and that it will work to ensure that he is elected.
Akoh, who was recently named the Assistant Director (North Central), Support Group Coordination for the Tinubu/Shettima Presidential Campaign Council, argued that those who were expelled were the ones making such disparaging remarks about the group.
He issued a warning that anyone caught attempting to impersonate the group in any way would be dealt with legally because the group is legitimately registered with the appropriate authorities and has all of its paperwork in order, including patent rights to its name and logo.
Oche Emmanuel, the group’s publicity secretary, advised those impersonating G-9 and making disparaging remarks about the group to stop or prepare to face the law during the briefing. He emphasized that the G-9 would not hesitate to identify anyone responsible for any shady activity carried out in the name of the group.
Former Senate President and APC leader Senator Ameh Ebute and former Secretary of the Okpokwu Local Government Council Mrs. Theresa Ikwue both reaffirmed their commitment to the G-9 in separate goodwill messages and urged participants to remain steadfast in the fight for the Zone C people.
Former APC State Chairman Comrade Abba Yaro, former Nigerian Ambassador to Algeria Ambassador Mabdul Mohammed, former House of Representatives Member Hon. Bennard Ochepa, and former State House Assembly Member Hon. Adams Okloho were present at the crucial Abuja meeting.
Others include the former Okpokwu Local Government Chairman, Anne Itodo, the former ACN Women Leader in the FCT, Mrs. Kate Ijogi, the former Manager with Shell Petroleum, Engr. Austin Oleho, the former Legal Adviser for the APC in Benue State, Omale Omale, the current Publicity Secretary of the Group, Oche Emmanuel, and the Chieftain of the party, Amb. Dickson Akoh.