Benue Deputy Governor: Nelson Alapa Favoured as Idoma Elders Narrow Search
By Emmanuel Edache
The Forum of Idoma Elders in the All Progressives Congress (APC) has narrowed the search for a credible running mate to the party’s standard flag bearer Hon Emmanuel Jime in the 2019 general elections in Benue State.
Investigations revealed that the Elders had to intervene as the polity was unnecessarily getting heated up with youth taking to social media platforms to voice out support for various candidates.
The Elders who took time to study the profiles of prominent Idoma sons, shortlisted Former Deputy Minority Leader in the National Assembly, Hon Nelson Alapa, Former Minister of State for Niger-Delta Dr Sam Ode and one-time Deputy Speaker of the Benue State House of Assembly, Hon Ralph Igbago as the three possible candidates who if deputise Hon Jime would bring the Party to victory come 2019.
The trio no doubt are well known names in Benue politics and even beyond but who is most qualified is what we will attempt to establish in this brief analysis. Also critical is the political antecedents of the aspirants.
Many are quite surprised that his name is being put forward by the Elders owing to his role in the 2007 Benue governorship election as well as that of 2015 before the elections when he left the party for the PDP remains an issue Idoma recounts with bitterness and he is at best, a liability. Ralph Igbago many have dismissed as an inconsistent politician whose loyalty cannot be trusted more so that he is an Akpa based politician with little influence at grassroots mobilization.
Dr Sam Ode:
The former Minister of State for Niger- Delta Affairs was one time the Council Chairman of Otukpo and later Special Adviser to Governor Gabriel Suswam on Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs is also being considered for the position.
Dr Ode is also a known politician who has in many ways empowered youths and carried many along. Many have however expressed worries that he is not a full bred Idoma man since his mother is Tiv. Many still see his candidature as a Tiv-Tiv affair. Sam Ode is seen as a newcomer who since decamping has never attended any APC function either or local level. The Elders also expressed fear that Sam Ode may be picked up by the EFCC in the heat of the campaigns since he cannot be separated from the Suswam’s being an inside member of his government.
Hon Nelson Alapa:
Former member of the House of Representatives and Deputy Minority Leader, Hon Nelson Alapa has been a consistent member of the defunct All Nigeria People’s Party ANPP since 2006 before it merged into what we know as the All Progressives Congress APC. As of the House of Representatives, He was part of several decision making bodies in the house in addition to serving in various committees including the ECOWAS Parliament, House Sub-Committee on Agriculture, Health Committee, Drugs and Financial Crimes Committee and Member, House Committee on the Federal Capital Territory.
Among the many achievements of Honourable Alapa are; The Construction of Adoka Bridge that links Otukpo with Apa and Agatu Local Government Area in addition to aiding the dwellers who are predominantly farmers access to taking their produce to the markets.
Scholarships to indigent students across the entire Benue South Senatorial District since Otukpo remains the traditional capital of the Idoma nation
Hon Alapa boasts of projects across the 23 council wards of Otukpo/Ohimini Federal Constituency which includes; Electrification projects, ICT centers, Motorized bore holes, Blocks of classrooms, Empowerment for Women, youth and the disabled through the NELSON ALAPA SMILE FOUNDATION
Many traditional rulers got cars from Hon Alapa to ease their movement and improve their prestige and Agricultural implements to farmers. All these projects are verifiable. It was on this note that a famous slogan “Ije Y’abo” meaning there is money over there was coined to describe his selfless generosity.
Hon Alapa is no doubt a true son of Idoma with tentacles spread throughout the entire Benue south owing to the fact that his mother is Igede comprising of two Local Government Areas (Oju and Obi) and hails from old Otukpo comprising of four local governments (Otukpo, Ohimini, Apa, Agatu).
Hon Alapa is Married from old Okpokwu Local Government Comprising of Ogbadibo, Okpokwu and Ado.
From the above analysis there is no doubt why the Elders have penned down Hon Alapa as the APC Deputy Gubernatorial candidate.