Benue APC’s (All Progressives Congress) bid to depose the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the State is under threat due to irreconcilable differences among the State’s major ethnic and interest groups.
The alleged scheming of Benue South (Zone C Senatorial District) from the composition of the Gubernatorial Campaign Council, the main body tasked with campaigning for the party’s governorship candidate, Rev Father Hyacinth Alia, is at the heart of the new crisis.
Sources told our correspondent on Wednesday that unless the party’s internal crises are effectively managed, particularly the national leaders calling the state APC leaders to order, the party’s political fortunes may plummet, and the party may forget its dreams.
Already, positions in the Governorship Campaign Council considered unsuitable for leaders of the party in Benue South have been outright rejected due to injustice and unfairness to Zone C.
For example, the G-9 Benue South Progressive Forum has reaffirmed its readiness to work for the success of the election of Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the All Progressives Congress, APC’s Presidential Candidate, in the 2023 general election, but has reservations about the governorship candidate.
Apart from the alleged inappropriate positions in the State Campaign Council, the Benue APC gubernatorial candidate was said to have refused to concede any crucial part to the Zone in the event of his victory.
Chief Johnson Agada, chairman of the Group, with the support of the former Senate President, former Federal and State lawmakers, and former military officers, among others, spoke to journalists at an emergency meeting in Abuja.
He says his Group would resist injustice and unfair treatment in the Benue political dispensation in 2023.
Agada stated that the Group’s attention was drawn to posts circulating in media outlets purporting the Group’s withdrawal from supporting the APC and its presidential candidate in the 2023 election.
Agada explained that those making headlines were those who had been expelled from the Group due to alleged questionable character and unbearable social behavior.
However, when asked why members of the Group rejected appointments to the State’s Campaign Council, Agada stated 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.
He said, “We’re not fools. We had a meeting with the APC’s governorship candidate, Rv. Father Hyacinth Alia, where we gave him conditions on behalf of the people of Zone C, and he promised to return to us after going through the requirements.
“But he never came; then we suddenly saw some of our names on a skewed statement as members of the State’s Campaign Council.
“We had to write immediately to reject and counter such appointments. He undermined our strength and our quest for unity and cohesion.”
In his reaction, Prof Dickson Akoh, a senior stakeholder and Chieftain of the party, stated that the Group is firmly behind the candidacy of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and will work tirelessly to ensure his election success.
Akoh, who was recently appointed as the Tinubu/Shettima Presidential Campaign Council’s Assistant Director (North Central), Support Group Coordination, maintained that those who were expelled were the ones who made such disparaging remarks about the Group.
He warned that because the Group is duly registered with the relevant authorities and has all of its documents, including patent rights to the Group’s name and logo, anyone caught impersonating the Group in any way would face legal consequences.
During the briefing, the Group’s Publicity Secretary, Oche Emmanuel, advised those impersonating G-9 and making derogatory statements about the Group to stop or face prosecution, emphasizing that the G-9 would not hesitate to uncover anyone behind any dubious activity carried out in the name of G-9.
In separate goodwill messages, former Senate President and APC Chieftain, Senator Ameh Ebute, and former Secretary of Okpokwu Local Government Council, Mrs. Theresa Ikwue, reaffirmed their commitment to the G-9 and urged members to remain steadfast in the struggle for the Zone C people.
The immediate past APC State Chairman, Comrade Abba Yaro, near past Nigeria’sNigbassador to Algeria, Ambassador Mabdul Mohammed, former House of Representatives member, Hon Bennard Ochepa, and former State House Assembly member, Hon Adams Okloho, were all present at the crucial Abuja meeting.
Others include former Okpokwu Local Government Chairman Anne Itodo, former ACN Women Leader, FCT, Mrs. Kate Ijogi, a former Manager with Shell Petroleum, Engr Austin Oleho, and immediate past Benue State APC Legal Adviser Omale Omale, and Amb Dickson Akoh, who is the Group’s city Secretary and a Chieftain of the party.