Benue NASS APC Caucus Accuses Gov Alia of Dictatorship, Running Govt Like a Parish

 

 

Lawmakers elected into the National Assembly under the umbrella of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), on Thursday, came hard on the Governor of Benue State, Fr. Hyacinth Alia, describing him as “a dictator” who is running the state government like his personal business.

 

Rising from a one-day retreat organised in National Assembly on Thursday, the Lawmakers, under the aegis of Benue APC National Assembly Caucus, also called on President Ahmed Bola Tinubu, to quickly prevail on the Governor, before he runs the state aground, saying, Alia’s tendencies could cost the party a defeat in subsequent elections in the state, if he is not quiuckly called to order.

 

“We the undersigned are members of the National Assembly Caucus elected on the All Progressives Congress (APC) platform from Benue State. Having watched with apprehension the absence of democratic leadership in Benue State in the last six (6) months exemplified by the arrogant and egocentric conduct of Governor Hyacinth I Alia, we have decided to draw the attention of Mr President and other leaders of APC in Nigeria to seek their immediate intervention before the fortunes of APC in Benue State are totally destroyed”, the text of press statement after the retreat, reads.

 

Reading further, Leader of the Caucus and Senator representing Benue North West, Senator Titus Zam, said, the matter had been reported severally to the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Senator George Akume, who has been mediating to see that things were normalised.

 

“It is necessary to state from the onset that, we have collectively and individually drawn the attention of the leader of the APC in Benue, Sen. Dr. George Akume Secretary to the Government of the Federation who has on several occasions pleaded for patience from us in the anticipation of a possible change of attitude from His Excellency Governor Hyacinth Alia, rather than change for the better.

 

“Governor Alia has become more emboldened and has continued to treat us and the party in general in the most disgusting, disrespectful and disingenuous manner”, he said.

 

In retrospect, the APC Lawmakers said, “Fr. Alia only came to reap where he did not sow. In any case, you are well aware of the rejection his candidacy received from older members of the party including litigations in several courts of Law up to the Supreme Court of Nigeria, it took the strident support of Sen. Dr. George Akume to extricate his candidacy from the destructive grip of his co-aspirants and eventual victory at the polls.

 

“Today, the ungrateful Fr. Alia, who had barely joined APC two months before the Governorship primaries assumes a messianic posture and tend to appropriate the victory of APC in Benue State as a product of his so-called popularity; without regard to the painstaking and systematic efforts of the subsisting formidable political structure which has enthroned all the governors in the State before him.

 

“The question begging for answers is; why did the self-acclaimed popular priest not contest on the platform of either APGA, PDP or other smaller political parties in Benue State?

 

“For clarity’s sake, let us contextualize some of the dictatorial and egocentric tendencies of Governor Alia and his poor treatment of Benue APC in the last six (6) months of his administration in Benue State.

 

“The election of the speaker of Benue House of Assembly. The position of the speaker was zoned to the Jembagh bloc of Benue North West Senatorial District, coincidentally the birthplace of the SGF, Sen. Dr. George Akume, whereas APC has 22 members out of a total of 32 members of the Assembly. Governor Alia connived with former Governor Gabriel Suswam of PDP to produce a speaker different from the candidate preferred by APC. In the contest for the position of the Speaker, Governor Alia held midnight meetings at the Residence of Sen. Gabriel Suswam and got Ten (10) PDP members to align with 7 recalcitrant APC members to beat the APC preferred candidate by the margin of 2 votes; thus began his unholy alliance with PDP to undermine and maltreat the legitimate members of APC in Benue State.

 

“After the Speakership debacle, the party again nominated and made a spread of principal officers of the assembly, comprising; Majority Leader, Deputy Majority Leader, Chief Whip and Deputy Chief Whip. Surprisingly, the speaker joyfully agreed with the opposition party on all nominations from the Peoples Democratic Party as endorsed by the State Chairman of the PDP and Secretary but jettisoned the list submitted by APC and rather accepted the list that was unilaterally submitted by the Governor through his Chief of Staff.

 

“It was an embarrassing experience for the Party having to face the dejection in the hands of an administration it labored hard to install. However, the party submitted and sustained their faith in the Governor and his government even when they felt aggrieved and resorted to stand by the advice of the leader of the party Sen. Dr. George Akume whose counsel has always been for the party to keep praying for Fr. Alia to succeed.

 

“in the first meeting of the stakeholders that was held in government house the chairman of the party Comrade Austine Agada publicly went on his knees took all the blames even though there was no blame and apologized to the governor and party members requesting they put behind the State Assembly imbroglio and come together to save the party, in the meeting, the governor praised the leader of the party with promise to always work together so that Benue and the party will enjoy democratic dividends. He also pledged that going forward he was going to involve the party and other critical stakeholders in sensitive decisions particularly in the nomination of commissioners and local government caretaker committees, a promise he unfortunately kept in breach.

 

“In appointing his commissioners, His Excellency again exercised a sole discretion without recourse to the normal tradition of requesting for nominations from the local governments and disregarded the zoning arrangements and permutations and went ahead to make his independent choices as he deemed soothing, again the party did not oppose him but rather gave him support since it was his own State Executive and Security Council and needed people he could vouch for.

 

“The nomination of caretaker committees to man the various local governments was when the party received the most humiliation, governor Alia had thrown back to party members during the Stakeholders meeting by demanding an immediate nomination of 3 candidates each for the position of Caretaker Chairman, Deputy and Secretary as well Supervisory Councilors across the twenty three local government demanding for two slots of supervisory councilors from each of the local governments, this was first time a governor will demand such from the caretaker council formation against the usual one slot per local government. The party jubilantly agreed and followed the directive by holding meetings, and painstakingly submitting their various lists with the sigh of relief and sense of belonging.

 

“But surprisingly, when the nominations were finally announced the party was amazed that ninety percent of the names were outside the nominees that were sent to the governor at his directive. In all these misgivings and disaffection the announcement of the caretaker committee marked the pinnacle of a noticeably bad relationship between governor Alia and APC in Benue State and this has angered a lot of party men and women in the State which can be justified by all standards.

 

“Disrespect and disregard to members of NASS: Governor Hyacinth Alia since assumption of duty has not held any meeting with NASS members of Benue State who were elected on the same APC platform with him neither does he pick or return their telephone calls not to talk about consulting them on political matters in the State. He has assumed the posture of a conqueror who does not care about the welfare, nor status of National Assembly Members in his leadership of Benue State. In every State of the federation members of NASS are working in synergy with their governors to attract development from the center to their State of origin.

 

“Governor Alia has no single known developmental blueprint for Benue State. As at the moment, nobody in Benue State is aware of the direction of his administration, what he practices is personal rule and this is replicated by the lopsided appointment he has made in the State so far, with his immediate community of Kunav cornering all the strategic positions in government.

 

“Implications of his undemocratic rule in Benue State; the grave consequences of Governor Alia personal rule is that, the generality of APC members who are excluded and abandoned are beginning to lose faith in the APC led administration in Benue State. Therefore, care must be taken to safeguard APC from the tyrannical leadership of Governor Alia so as to prepare the party for subsequent electoral victories in the future. Governor Alia’s street showmanship of non-existent huge support base is not predicated on a substantive love of a massive street followers, does not translate to the real political support which only leaders can guarantee”.

 

In addition, the Member representing Ado/Okpokwu/Ogbadibo Federal Constituency, Hon. Philip Agbese accused the Governor of nepotism, saying he appointed over 30 key political officers from his immediate clan in Vandeikya LGA, whereas, the Idoma speaking people from Benue South were grossly shortchanged in the scheme of things.

 

The Lawmakers, comprising of Senators and House of Representatives Members elected under APC from Benue State, also used the occasion to pledge loyalty to President Tinubu, the National Chairman of APC, Umar Ganduje, Sen. Akume, the State Chairman of APC, Comrade Austine Agada and his state led executive.

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