By Aare Abiodun Oluwarotimi
Even though the SGF, Senator George Akume and his estranged political godson and governor of Benue state, Father Hyacinth Alia have been deceiving the public that all is well but, between the two of them, it’s a dead end to their political marriage.
Last year, Alia who was a nobody owing to his numerous sex scandals in the Catholic Church declared his intention to run for Benue governorship under the All Progressive Congress, and instead of George Akume who is the leader of the party in the state to scrutinize him very well, he saw a weakling in the suspended priest and endorsed him for the top job.
Alia wasn’t going to win the primaries had Akume allowed due process to take its place during the process of electing a flag bearer for the party.
Akume singlehandedly altered the party’s order from the national secretariat which was that an indirect primary should be held to choose a governorship candidate for the Benue APC. Rather, he forced the Electoral Committee that was sent from Abuja to conduct a Direct Primary.
His reason was that he was very sure that a former Attorney General of the Federation, Chief Michael Kaase Aondoakaa SAN would emerge if an indirect primary was conducted, and Akume at that time saw Aondoakaa as a very independent aspirant whom he felt may be uncontrollable for him.
Recall that Akume controlled the immediate past governor of the state, Chief Samuel Ortom PhD in the first three years of his first tenure, an action which caused a setback for the former governor. Although, Ortom discovered this and stopped Akume’s grip over his administration, and this assisted him to achieve a lot as governor of the state.
Immediately Ortom parted ways with Akume, he was able to complete several road projects. Salaries and Pensions were paid as and when due. Health, security, education, agriculture, investment and social welfare improved very well to the extents that Ortom was adjudged as one of the best governors in Nigeria.
Ortom’s unbeatable achievements assisted him in getting the supports of Benue people who voted for him massively to get a second term in office in 2019 despite plots by Akume to manipulate the election in favour of Emmanuel Jime.
Back to the APC governorship primaries, Senator Akume needed a candidate whose administration he could dominate like he did to Chief Samuel Ortom between 2015 and 2018. This prompted him to go for Father Hyacinth Alia whom he believed would be as soft as pap. Alia too pretended to be a saint. He promised Akume that he (SGF) would be in charge of his administration if he became governor.
Despite that the APC at the national level sent an Electoral Committee to conduct an Indirect Primary, Akume in his quest to hijack the ticket for Alia double-crossed them and forced them to conduct a Direct Primary where Aondoakaa and other aspirants except Alia didn’t even have agents in some local government areas of the state.
The Direct Primary which was married with frauds and irregularities produced Alia as the party’s candidate, and Akume followed him up to the Apex court to ensure that he was on the ballot during the March 18, governorship election.
Immediately Alia was declared winner, he turned his back at Akume as a result of the advice he was getting from Paul Biam who later became his Chief of Staff as well and some others who have now formed an inner caucus inside the Government House in Makurdi.
Alia threw the first stones at his benefactor whom he has now turned to his enemy by rejecting the party’s nomination of Becky Orpin as the speaker of the State House of Assembly. Alia brought his inner caucus members led by Paul Biam to the Assembly Complex and ensured that his own candidate, Dajoh Aondona emerged as speaker. During the tussle at the Assembly Complex that day, Paul Biam was seen in a viral video where he slapped the state chairman of the Benue APC, Austin Agada during a serious argument between the two of them.
Agada had led Akume’s team which included Senator Titus Zam, Terhemen Tarzoor, Mike Msuuan and others to give solidarity to Becky Orpin during the election of the Benue State House of Assembly speaker.
Later, Alia also made sure that none of Akume’s nominees emerged as a principal officer of the House of Assembly.
Recall that Alia had before then turned a deaf ear to Akume’s warning not to appoint Paul Biam as his Chief of Staff. Alia had also disagreed with the choice of Akume to make Steve Ugbah the Secretary to the State Government based on advice by his inner caucus members.
Also recall that despite warnings from Akume, the governor sacked his sister-in-law, Mimi Orubibi as chairman of the BIRS and appointed an acting chairman for the Board.
The battle between Akume and Alia has become irreconcilable to the extents that both men have recruited the services of pressure groups and media handlers to attack each other in the media even though they do laugh and joke with each other at public events.
While Akume is using a factional TiV Council led by Mike Msuuan to fight his battle with Alia, the governor has been accused of using the Zone A People’s Assembly, ZAPA to insult and embarrass the SGF who despite all odds installed him as governor.
Few days ago, Alia met with ZAPA leaders, gave them N5m with a clear instruction to descend on Akume on the social media.
To fulfill their duties, ZAPA on Tuesday went on air through a press release where they accused Akume of doing all he can to pull down Alia’s administration.
ZAPA attributed Akume’s plans to distabilize Alia’s administration to the refusal of the governor to support Becky Orpin to emerge as the Speaker of the State House of Assembly in June.
They also accused Akume of favouring Jemgbah axis alone in the sharing of the Federal appointments that have been allocated to Benue state since he became the Secretary to the Government of the Federation.
In their reactions, Mike Msuaan and a very close associate of the SGF, Abua Crucial Yajir, descended on ZAPA and Governor Alia, describing him as a ‘polygamous demon’.
In one of his posts on Facebook, Msuaan said God told him that some elections in Benue state will be nullified by the Tribunal, and sources close to him said that he was referring to the election that brought Alia as governor in the post as a result of the governor’s disloyalty to Akume.
Meanwhile, the governor last weekend met with members of the Benue State APC Media Team known as BAMET. At the meeting, he told them that all was well between him and Akume but he later held a private meeting with leaders of the media team where he told them to help him to attack Akume in the media.
Although, the governor released an undisclosed amount of money to them, members of BAMET haven’t started their media attacks on the SGF.
However, sources close to Alia confirmed that the governor has started making plans to join the People’s Democratic Party before he is given a ‘red card’.
Some of the sources said that the governor is seeking for a soft landing in the PDP through one of the leaders of the party in the state.
Aare Abiodun Oluwarotimi, De Oracular Oracle that eats chicken in the shrine writes from Abuja.