Nigerian Concord Newspaper
The governor of Benue state, Reverend Father Hyacinth Alia has mobilized his supporters and pressure groups against the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Senator George Akume.
Most of the pressure groups according to investigation have been commissioned to insult the SGF on the social media and also through press conferences paid for by the state government.
The Benue Progressive Forum which is one of the groups being sponsored by Governor Alia in a press conference yesterday accused Senator George Akume of trying to force the governor to release the state treasury to him in order to raise funds for his 2027 presidential ambition.
According to the pro- Alia group through its Chairman, Mr. Terver Fave Joseph and Secretary, Ocheme Pius, the SGF has started using his influence to cut the popularity of other politicians in the North-Central geopolitical zone, particularly, Benue State so as to emerge the sole candidate from the zone, come 2027.
During the press conference in Makurdi, the group alleged that the grand reception recently organized for Akume at the Transcorp Hilton, Abuja was a launching pad for the SGF, preparatory to his bid to run for the 2027 Presidential elections.
The pro- Alia group stated further that Akume began to fight Alia when the governor told him that he could not release the state Treasury to him.
As part of his plan to undo Benue state politicians, the group said that the SGF sold out the second ministerial slot which President Bola Tinubu had promised Benue to Kogi state.
The group said: “It has also been discovered that Senator George Akume is planning to contest the 2027 presidential election and that is why he mobilized his allies to convince North-Central leaders to organize a grand reception for him as SGF. He wants to exert his influence in North-Central Nigeria in such a way that most of the leaders in the zone will be loyal to him.
“Senator Akume has started recruiting his men and he is looking for resources ahead of 2027 presidential elections and this is why he was hosted by North-Central Governors and other leaders.
“This is the ambition he started nursing before the 2023 general elections and by supporting Fr. Alia to win the governorship seat in the state, he thought that Rev. Fr. Alia would open the treasury of Benue state to him so that he would get enough resources to contest the election.”
The group however explained that knowing the antecedents of Senator Akume, who is a former Governor of Benue state, that he does not have the state at heart, they saw the need for President Bola Tinubu to call him to order for towing this line.
The group stated further that: “This is the antecedent of the man called George Akume, who does not have the interest of Benue people at heart but only thinks of his personal gains. This action by the SGF is dangerous and there is need to call him to order before his actions will flare into conflagration.
“Immediately after election, Fr. Alia told him that he was a priest and that his intention was to serve and provide good governance to the people of Benue state and for that reason, he could not make available the resources of the state to him.
“It can be recalled that the immediate past governor of Benue State, Mr. Ortom accused Akume of demanding so much money from him to the detriment of the state; the development which made Mr. Ortom to defect to the PDP before the 2019 general elections.”
The Forum further stated that, “To put the records straight, Senator Akume does not have political influence in the state again. Benue people are tired of his politics of selfishness as manifested in 2019 general elections when he lost his senatorial ambition to Senator Emmanuel Orker-Jev of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) who contested the seat with him from the House of Representatives (HoR).
“A further confirmation that he has lost his political influence (and relevance) was also seen at the inauguration of the 10th Assembly (in Benue) on 5th June, 2023. At the occasion, Senator Akume instituted another plot to get hold of the State House of Assembly by instructing the majority APC legislators to rally round Mrs. Becky Orpin from Gboko East Constituency.”
Throwing more light on the plot of the SGF to draw allies to his side and undo others, the group said, “The Forum has noted with surprise how the conspiracy manifested recently at the reception in honour of the Minister of Water Resources and Sanitation, Prof. Joseph Utsev, after his swearing-in by President Tinubu in Abuja.
“We are worried that instead of uniting us in order to attract political disbursements to the state, Akume, it has been observed is working seriously to undo every potential and budding politician from Benue.
“As was announced by ZAPA (Zone A People’s Assembly) Akume is working everything possible to ensure that the Executive Secretary, Nigeria Shippers’ Council, Mr. Emmanuel Jime is sacked. Jime has been Akume’s nightmare as a steady rising politician who is from the same zone with him in the state.
“Echeno, one of the closest personalities to Tinubu incurred the wrath of the SGF because of the President’s love for him. Akume knows that come 2027; Echeno may constitute a clog in the wheels of his ambition of ensuring President Tinubu wins his second term.”
Another angle to it the group said was that “It is not hidden that despite the vigorous campaign that was instituted in the state by Rev. Fr. Dr. Alia and other APC loyalists to downplay the projection of APC as an Islamic party, Senator Akume did not make any public appearance to denounce APC as an Muslim party nor campaigned in public for APC in the Presidential election.
“By this presumption, we do not want to fold our arms and allow Senator Akume to destroy our state because of his personal interest. In view of this, we hereby call on President Bola Tinubu to call Senator Akume to order before he will destroy the party because of his pursuit for personal interests, money and political influence.