March 11 is another decisive date that the Benue people have to keep with history. Analysts believe the decision of the Benue people at this historical time will make things better or further put them in chains of political incarceration. There have been arguments across the state on whether the State Governor, Samuel Ortom did his job satisfactorily for 8 years or failed the Benue people.
Most of the critical viewpoints against the people’s governor as he is fondly called emanated mainly from the opposition All Progressives Congress, APC, in the state. Governor Ortom is believed to be the leader of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in Benue State, while George Akume, his former ally is the leader of the APC in Benue State.
The two political figures in Benue fell apart in the early days of Ortom’s assumption of office over alleged godfatherism. Ortom had alleged that Akume, a former Governor wanted him to always do his bidding. He said he took the decision not to succumb to godfatherism in order to protect the lives of Benue people. The duo has been at each other’s neck since then.
While Akume, a Minister of Special Duty constantly attacks Ortom from Abuja, Ortom firmly holds the ace back in Benue and believes that as a governor, he cannot be intimated by alleged forces from Abuja. Though Ortom is not contesting in the coming Guber election, it is believed that Titus Uba, the candidate of the PDP is his choice, hence his interest in the poll.
Uba is the Speaker of the State House of Assembly and a loyal member of the PDP who was allegedly anointed by Governor Ortom.
But the ‘Yes Father’ campaign slogan in the state has flooded the internet with the majority of Alia supporters believing that the people will unseat the PDP government in the state. If that happens, it will be the first time since the return to democracy that Benue will be dumping the PDP.
Recall that Governor Ortom lost to his former aide, Titus Zam in the just concluded National Assembly election.
While it is said that there was a high level of rigging during the exercise, some people believe Alia’s ‘tsunami’ was responsible for the loss. But a school of thought had said that Ortom lost after he sacrificed his ambition for the Labour Party’s Peter Obi.
According to Matthew Ekoja, a political analyst: “Ortom lost because majority of Benue people engaged in parallel voting as against voting for LP and switching to PDP in the senatorial contest. This voting style did not help the governor. We all know what happened.”
The governor had since said that he will study the election result and react accordingly.
Justification of Alia’s candidacy
But the APC in the state has argued that the PDP candidate, Uba does not deserve to be elected by the Benue people considering the alleged hardship the administration had put them through for the past 8 years. But in reaction, the government of the state had reeled out several achievements under governor Ortom’s administration, especially in the area of security and agriculture. APC State Chairman, Agada justifies Alia’s candidacy Speaking exclusively with me.
The APC State Chairman, Austin Agada, said Alia was the right choice Benue people could make at the moment. According to him, the Catholic priest has no wife, child or anyone but Benue people. He harped on the fact that the APC candidate will not be distracted by anything. “Our choice of Alia was because as a young man, and not even as the APC chairman, I don’t need to be told that politicians in Benue have failed us. So we need someone who can take us out of the current situation.
Similarly, APC senatorial candidate from Benue South, Comrade Dan Onjeh insisted that there is no better candidate than Alia. According to Onjeh, the Priest has been engaging in the Eucharistic celebration since he was ordained and will know how best to share the Benue ‘bread’.
He lamented what Benue people are allegedly going through under the current government, insisting that a victory for Alia is a victory for the Benue people.
Onjeh told Legit.ng:”Benue cannot survive with this kind of PDP leadership in the next four years. Alia is a round peg in a round hole. Alia represents the change Benue people desire and deserve.
Alia’s ability in doubt
But many are unsure of Alia’s victory in the state as it is believed that majority of Benue South people will embark on a vendetta against the APC and the Tiv voters for making the just concluded presidential election competitive for Peter Obi as against what would have ended as a walk-over.
Some have argued that the priest is a green-horn and lacks the understanding of how government can be effectively run for the benefit of the people.
James Agaba said: “I don’t understand this yes-father thing. Does being a Rev. Father makes one a good administrator? Has he shown capacity at any level of government before?
“I will advise that we shouldn’t gamble like that, else we will blame ourselves and the state for another four years.”
Akase explains why Benue will vote overwhelmingly for Uba
According to the Special Adviser to Governor Ortom on Media, Terver Akase, Alia is no way close to winning the governorship election slated for this weekend.
Akase, in an exclusive chat said Titus Uba has all it takes to continue in the legacy of Governor Samuel Ortom.
He said, ” Forget what happened during the senatorial election. We all know what happened. But for the coming guber election, Benue people will vote overwhelmingly for Uba because he has the capacity to deliver.”
A lot of foundations have been laid in different sectors. In security, foundation has been laid. In agriculture, foundation has been laid by Governor Ortom. So Uba is going to build on those blocs because government is supposed to be continuing and not destroying the legacy of the previous administration.
“Benue will not make that mistake of allowing a novice to come in and take over the reins of power here because the people don’t have the patience to wait for you to understudy government for a year or two before you begin to even know what to do.
“The people need someone who already has an understanding of what it takes to lead them. Alia doesn’t have that, Uba has shown it even as the Speaker of the State Assembly. Look at the new pension board law and so many other laws.”
Benue people will decide
Meanwhile, next week Saturday, it will be a battle to either retain the status of Benue as a traditional PDP state or to have a taste of new, unknown, and untested wine. It is certain that the Benue people will speak through the ballot.
Written by Adoyi Abah Ali