By Amos Aar
THE FORUM of All Progressives Congress (APC) Local Government (LG) Chairmen in Benue State has alleged that Governor Hyacinth Alia singlehandedly appointed local government caretaker committees by trashing the authentic lists submitted by the party’s stakeholders from the 23 local government areas.
The forum which made its concern known in a communiqué issued Thursday at the end of its meeting in Makurdi, Benue State capital, threatened to stage a protest against the governor if the issues raised are not addressed.
Apart from the appointment of caretaker committees which the APC local government chairmen described as “Maradonical”, they cited other instances of the governor’s disregard for the party and its leadership to include shunning their phone calls, refusing to work with them among other issues.
The chairmen also accused Alia of anti-party posture, ingratitude and intention to destroy the foundation that made him governor and vowed to distance themselves from the state and local government functions bordering on the issues raised if not sorted out.
While faulting Governor Alia in many areas, the forum also expressed satisfaction with the national leadership of the party under Senator George Akume from the state and Comrade Austin Agada as state chairman.
The communique read in part:
“The All Progressives Congress (APC) Local Government Chairmen in the twenty three (23) local government areas in Benue State on Thursday 30th November, 2023 held a meeting in which they extensively and exhaustively discussed, and expressed worry and concern over the manner in which the governor of Benue State, Rev. Fr. Dr Hyacinth Iormem Alia, who pilots the affairs of the state on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC), has refused to work with the leadership and members of the party right from the inception of his administration.
“The Forum stated that, instances abound that it could no longer pretend that all is well between Governor Hyacinth Alia and the party both in the state and at the local government area chapters ranging from his being inaccessible and not answering of phone calls, non-inclusion of the party’s leadership both at the state and local government levels in making the key appointments in his government as well as the mockery meted on the personality of the forum and the party stakeholders in the recent constitution of local government caretaker committees; an exercise the governor saddled party’s stakeholders across various local government areas with the responsibility to nominate three persons for each position but instead the governor dumped the list presented by the stakeholders and in his usual Maradonical way produced a unilateral list made up of non-party men and women, even some coming from the opposition parties who did not labour for the victory of the party but rather worked tirelessly against the victory of the party.
“That the said list indeed, is not in conformity with the unanimous decision of the party stakeholders in various local government areas but rather a mockery to the grass root politicians who staked their neck for the party to succeed in their respective areas, thus resorting to an adage that says; Ogoja works and Calabar Chop scenario leaving the party’s leadership and members confused and in a way setting party members against the leadership of the party.
“The forum of local government APC chairmen, thus in her meeting arrived at the following decisions:
“The Forum expressed satisfaction with the leadership of the party in the state led by Comrade Austin Agada and the APC National Secretariat, the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, and the leader of the party in Benue State and North-Central Geopolitical Zone, Dist. Sen. Dr. George Akume – SGF and as well, appreciates Nigerians for finding the party worthy to lead Benue State and the country at large.
“The forum however, distances herself from the decision of the governor to side-line leadership and members of the party in the policies and programmes of his administration and further frowns at the attitude of Governor Hyacinth Iormem Alia and the manner in which he has been unilaterally handling the affairs of the state without recourse to the party and without consulting leadership and members of the party who prepared a fertile ground for the political party on which platform he was handed the ticket on a platter of gold to run for the 2023 general election as the 6th democratically elected governor of Benue State since political party is the only veritable tool under the democratic system of government and without which a candidate cannot run for a position like governor, owing to the fact that independent candidature has never found a fertile ground yet to operate in the Nigeria’s democracy, and as such political parties’ structures and leadership ought to be respected by loyal party members except otherwise.
“Worried that the action of the governor cannot just be described as being tantamount to anti-party activity and ingratitude but a deliberate ploy to destroy the foundation and structure of the party which by extension the party cannot on her part fold her arms to watch him destroy the party to experience they say is the best teacher. [sic]
“The forum resolved to henceforth disassociate herself from the State and Local Government functions in the instance that the issues raised herein have not been addressed or positively looked into by the Governor.
“The forum unanimously without mincing words, resolved to stage a peaceful protest to the following offices to express their grievances over the unfortunate condition the party in Benue state has found herself into: The APC State Secretariat, Makurdi; Benue State House of Assembly Complex, Makurdi; Government House, Makurdi; APC National Secretariat, Abuja; Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Abuja.
“Finally, the Forum expresses appreciation for the patience of the party’s leadership in the state and at the National Level for always being supportive and as well extends the appreciation to party faithful in the state for their resilience, and members of the Forum for attending the meeting in their numbers as one unified and indivisible body, and as grass root soldiers of the party, APC in Benue State.”
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The forum attached to the communiqué a the list of signatories of members who were present at the meeting and consented to the decisions, which was copied to Governor Alia, the APC State Chairman, Comrade Austin Agada, the Office of the National Vice Chairman, North Central APC, Leader of the Party in the State and North Central Geo-political zone, Sen. Dr George Akume who is the incumbent SGF, the Speaker of the Benue State House of Assembly, and the APC National Secretariat, Abuja.