Stakeholders of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the Benue South Senatorial District on Sunday rejected the imposition of an aide to Senator George Akume, the Minister of Special Duties and Inter-governmental Affairs, as party chairman on them.
The aide is from the same local government as the outgoing chairman, Mr. Abba Yaro, who held the position for three years in the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) and eight years in the APC (11 years in total).
This is contained in a communique of the expanded stakeholders’ meeting of the district signed by Mr Ameh Ebute, a member of APC’s Board of Trustees and issued to newsmen in Otukpo, Benue.
According to the communique, the meeting which was convened by Ebute resolved that rather than accept the imposition of a chairman, the stakeholders chose their consensus candidate.
It stressed that only the people of the zone should determine their political fate.
The stakeholders insisted that the zoning of the chairmanship position to Ogbadibo Local Government Area was unacceptable.
They added that they would not allow anyone outside the district, popularly known as “Zone C’’ to pick candidates for them.
The communique said, “Benue Zone C APC stakeholders hereby set aside the earlier proposal made by the Chief John Ochoga-led zoning committee, describing the decision of the committee as unjust and lacking in all the basic ingredients of democracy.
“After extensive consultations with the various representatives from the nine local government areas and the observers at the meeting, a consensus was reached that the state’s chairmanship position of the party be zoned to Apa/Agatu."
The stakeholders zoned the position of Zonal Chairman to Obi/Oju, State Treasurer to Otukpo, and Zonal Youth Leader also to Otukpo.
They zoned the position of Assistant Publicity Secretary to Ohimini; Assistant State Secretary and Women Zonal Leader to Okpokwu; Assistant Youth Leader to Agatu; Assistant Legal Adviser to Ado; Welfare Secretary to Ogbadibo and Ex-officio to Obi/Oju.
They also called on Akume, the party leader in Benue, to display equity and fairness by putting the party together at the state level before doing so at the national level.
“The meeting resolved that the National Chairmanship ambition of Senator Akume would only receive the unanimous support of stakeholders from Benue Zone ‘C’, on the condition that he distances himself from the issue of zoning of the state’s executive positions in Benue South.
“If Senator Akume decides to reverse the decisions reached at this meeting, the party stakeholders from Benue South would feel free to throw their weight behind any national chairmanship aspirant of their choice.
“Hence, if Senator Akume desires the support of the Benue South people, he should fix the party in the state, and reposition it to win the 2023 gubernatorial (governorship) election and other sensitive elective positions.
“If Senator Akume is unable to manage the crisis in the party in Benue State, then he is certainly not qualified to lead the party at the national level.
“We, therefore, enjoin Akume to ensure that justice, fairness and equity reign in the party in Benue South.
“For as long as acts of undemocratic imposition of candidates within the party in the state persists and is condoned, the Benue South people will not support his ambition for the national chairmanship,’’ it stated.
Mr Daniel Onjeh, a senatorial aspirant, and former Minister of Agriculture, Mr Audu Ogbe, among others were at the meeting.