FOUR THINGS I SAID AT THE LAST BENUE APC CAUCUS MEETING WHICH LANDED ME INTO Trouble.
The caucus meeting was held in the evening, a fortnight ago, at the Government House Makurdi. It was attended by H.E. Govover Samuel Ortom, the Governor of Benue State, and his Deputy, H.E. Engr. Benson Abounu; Chief Audu Ogbe, the Minister of Agriculture & Rural Development, Sen. Barnabas Gemade, Sen. George Akume, Hon. Hassan Salleh, Sen. JKN Waku, Chief Steven Lawani, Abba Yaro, APC Chairman, All the 23 Local Government Council Chairmen of Benue State, and other prominent party stakeholders.
The atmosphere was a mixture of a very relaxed and highly tensed moods! The former relates to those who had come with a script for Abba Yaro’s endorsement, believing they have perfected their game having intimidated and suppressed all dissents. The latter relates to people of my school of thought who were for elective congresses.
It is important to state that the meeting was meant to be tele-guided, thus speakers from the various zones were chosen in advance of the meeting. After speakers from zones A and B had spoken, I raised my hand to indicate my intention to contribute, but was ignored by the moderator, Abba Yaro, who bypassed me and gave the floor to his preferred contributor. At that juncture, I stampeded him, and the microphone was handed to me.
I said, doing the right thing and complying with the directives of the APC National Executive Council (NEC) to organize a proper congress will unite rather than divide us. Furthermore, I aggregated the opinions of the majority of the Benue South APC members which favoured the holding of elective congresses.
My position was a reaction to the argument that was desperately canvassed at the meeting against the holding of elective congresses in Benue State. The proponents of endorsement over elective congresses insisted, and maintained, that conducting congresses will generate acrimony within the ranks of the party. Chief Audu Ogbeh, also lend his voice, drawing from his experience as a former National Chairman of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP), he expressed his fears about the would be fate and future of the party should the overwhelming clamour for elective congresses by member be suppressed.
I told the APC stalwarts from Benue Zones A and B to allow us, the people of Zone C (Benue South), pilot our affairs by ourselves, particularly on issues which strictly concern us.
I was amazed to hear that the Deputy Governor narrated how he and others, bowing to the whims and caprices of the party landlord, conspired to cede away the position of the Secretary to the State Government (SSG) which was traditionally, and from time immemorial, the exclusive reserve of the Benue South people in the political equation of the state.
I pleaded with the elders of the party to imbibe leadership succession principle and allow space for youth involvement and participation in politics.
I berated the APC leadership for allowing congresss preparatory meetings held last month to degenerate to the killings in Benue South. Chief Audu Ogbeh, again narrated how him, Sen. Ameh Ebute, Hon. Hassan Saleh and other stakeholders where harassed and embarrassed by hired thugs and cultist in the pre-congress meeting in Benue South.
A man, who ascribes the name ‘Oracle’ to himself, runs the state chapter of the party like his private estate. Without recourse to the human resources invested in the party, he claims the party solely belongs to him. He always cries to high heavens the claim that he spent his money to built APC in the state. How gargantuan a fortune did he spend on this Noah’s Ark project that he is yet to recoup his investment?
I reliably gathered that Chief Audu Ogbe, the Honourable Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, being a Statesman, pleaded with the arrowheads of the of forces of repression in Benue APC to the effect that, having succeeded in having their way on the congresses, having dictated for all the local governments, including those in Zone C, they should at least allow the popular will of the people of his Local Government Area (Ogbadibo) to prevail. This humble plea has been turned down by the party’s acclaimed Alpha and Omega. The congress committee members, who have been completely compromised, are together with Abba Yaro and his boys busy writing the names of local government executives on his instructions, just as they did for the wards, without holding proper congresses.
As I type, the state party secretariat, which ought to be the beehive of political activities in this period of congresses, is under lock and key, in a bid to avoid protesters. Nomination forms are horded, the ward congress appeal panel was hijacked and kept away from the reach of aggrieved parties, and result sheets are filled out in hotel rooms, under heavy security watch of police orderlies and thugs.
These manipulations of the congress processes are the orchestration of some anti-democratic forces laying templates to impose themselves and their cronies as candidates against popular choices in the APC primary elections ahead.
The events of coming months will surely unveil the masquerades behind this dangerous, satanic scheming and evil machinations.
Save your breath. This subject will lead to the revelation of a lot of issues you never knew about my candidacy in the 2015 Benue South Senatorial Election.