Akume to Alia: You cannot sack Orubibi, retain Alakali, Biam and rule Benue in peace

Nigerian Concord Newspaper

The Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Senator George Akume has reportedly ordered the governor of Benue state, Father Hyacinth Alia to immediately reinstate the dismissed Chairman of the BIRS, Mimi Orubibi.

The SGF also instructed the governor to remove the three people he appointed for the office of the deputy governor, Barr. Sam Ode PhD. Akume however maintained that Sam Ode should be allowed to appoint those he can work with as his official Aides.

Senator George Akume who gave the order while speaking with Alia last night pressed further that the governor won’t rule Benue state peacefully if he fails to return Orubibi back to the BIRS within the next forty eight hours.

Recall that Akume singlehandedly nominated Mimi Orubibi as the chairman of the Benue tax office when the immediate past governor of the state, Chief Samuel Ortom PhD assumed duties in 2015.

Apart from Orubibi, the SGF who was a senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria then also nominated the current senator representing Benue Northwest, Titus Zam as the head of the Bureau for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs under Samuel Ortom.

Both of them left Ortom’s administration in June 2018 when he was leaving APC for the Peoples Democratic Party owing to the rifts between him and George Akume.

Also recall that few months to the end of Chief Samuel Ortom’s administration, Mimi Orubibi joined him in PDP and she got her appointment back as the Chairman of BIRS after persuasions from traditional rulers and political stakeholders in the state.

Titus Zam wanted to join Ortom in the PDP too so he could secure the Bureau job but his bad intention leaked out. He was accused to be coming as a stooge for Senator Akume within the administration for the second time.

Internal sources told Nigerian Concord Newspaper that Alia had assured Akume that he would be the one to nominate some commissioners and heads of Benue agencies for his administration. Office of the SSG, Speakership, BIRS and the Bureau for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs topped the list of the nominations Alia had given Akume.

Apart from that, it was agreed that the the governor wouldn’t interfere with the appointment of Staffs and Aides in the office of the deputy governor.

Just yesterday, Alia made three appointments for the office of the deputy governor, an action which was contrary to the agreement he reached with the SGF before he was given the APC governorship ticket in 2022.

As contained in a press statement from the governor’s media handlers, Barr. Musa Sulaiman Ujor, Iorshagher Ikyereve and Lawrence Oguche were appointed to serve as Sam Ode’s Chief of Staff, Press Secretary and Private Secretary respectively. This is wrong according to stakeholders in Benue state.

On Mimi Orubibi’s case, the governor had tried to remove her three weeks ago when he approved a letter to terminate her appointment as BIRS chairman but that same evening, the SSG, Prof. Alakali wrote another letter to Orubibi to withdraw the sack letter earlier approved by the governor.

With a serious apology, Alakali wrote in the letter that the first letter of sack approved by the governor was an error. Several opinionists had condemned the act and described it as cowardice.

Holding the bull by its horns, Alia summoned courage yesterday and sacked Mimi Orubibi amidst allegations of multi-million naira fraud at the BIRS, and appointed Telumun Agema as the Acting chairman of the Benue tax office.

Sources close to Senator George Akume told this newspaper that he was very angry when his attention was brought to the sack of Orubibi as BIRS chairman.

One of the sources said the SGF later in the night called the governor and warned him not to draw a battle line between both of them. The SGF was quoted to have also told the governor that he would make the state ungovernable for him if he fails to reinstate Orubibi and sack the Speaker, Chief of Staff as well as the SSG.

Recall that immediately Alia was sworn-in as governor, he rejected Akume’s nomination of Professor Steve Ugbah for the Office of the SSG and appointed Prof. Joseph Alakali who was very unknown in the politics of Benue state.

As if that wasn’t enough, Alia shunned advice and even warnings from Akume not to make his (Akume) enemy (Hon. Paul Biam) as his Chief of Staff.

Source said that Alia has been hijacked by some cabals led by Paul Biam himself and they are the ones advising him to cut Akume’s influence on his administration if he wants to succeed. “They cited the first tenure of Dr. Ortom to him as an instance” a source told this newspaper.

Two weeks ago, Alia was going to concede the Speakership of the Benue State House of Assembly to Akume’s choice, Becky Orpin but the Government House cabals led by Biam warned him against taking a step that will lead to his premature impeachment. They recalled how Akume wanted to use Terkimbi Ikyange to impeach Ortom twice in 2018.

Going by the advice from these cabals, Alia threw his weight behind the Member representing Gboko West, Aondona Dajoh who eventually became the Speaker of the 10th Assembly.

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