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Monday, July 15, 2024

Tordue Ortese: Alia’s game of blames and Benue’s insecurity

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The governor of Benue State Hyacinth Alia is a suspended priest. He can no longer conduct mass or perform liturgical activities in church.

The church suspended him for rebelling against it and its doctrines. Before his last suspension from public ministry, he was previously sanctioned by the church under the diocese of Makurdi for misconduct. Alia is a serial rebel against constituted authorities. In his 32 years as a catholic priest, he fought his superiors in nearly all the churches that he was posted.

Are you still wondering why Alia is today fighting those who brought him to All Progressives Congress (APC) and gave him the party’s governorship ticket on a platter? That is who he is. Today, he stands and insults the very people who worked day and night to make him governor.

I stumbled upon a video, which has gone viral wherein governor Alia used unprintable words to accuse members of the National Assembly from Benue State of being responsible for the ongoing influx of killer herdsmen into the area.

In the video where the governor was addressing some supporters who waited for five days though impatiently before seeing him, Alia claimed that National Assembly members from the state had written a letter in the name of the state government inviting Fulanis from Niger Republic to the state.

What could be more shameful and horrible than such a blatant lie couched in acceptance of incompetence and cluelessness in handling the worsening insecurity which has risen to a fearful stage in the state? That such a careless and childish accusation is coming from a man who boasted of having the solution to the insecurity in the state while seeking election is indeed saddening and worrisome.

Who on earth would believe that the legislators who have been fighting hard to have the Federal Government curb the insecurity in their areas would be the ones fueling the carnage in Benue State as claimed by the man who the people have long realized got their mandate in error?

The other day in Sankera, Alia asked Senator Emmanuel Udende to help his government to tackle insecurity in the area. So he knew that Senator Udende is one of those inviting killers, yet, he begged him to assist in addressing the menace? We have seen many times that Reps members Architect Asema Achado and Dickson Tarkighir have moved motions on the floor of the House to call for decisive measures by the federal government to end the attacks in Benue State. These are the same people governor Alia has accused of inviting Fulani to the state.

Let’s assume without conceding that some people in Benue are enabling the influx of Fulanis in their hundreds into the state. How would carelessly talking about the situation end the orgy of killings perpetrated by the merchants of death in the area?

The questions are indeed legion and it would have been ideal for governor Alia to learn from his predecessor, Samuel Ortom who gave his all to ensure that the issue of Fulani invasion of Benue State and the attendant killings was tackled, but for the reluctance of the federal government to help out. When it came to the issue of security, I scored Ortom 100%. A leader must be known for something. Governor Gabriel Suswam had similar herdsmen challenges but he never blamed other stakeholders.

Ortom and Suswam frequently convened meetings to find solutions to the problem, instead of apportioning blame’s on their people. Governor George Akume also faced insecurity during his time, but he never placed the blame on his people.

A leader takes responsibility. But it would be difficult for Governor Alia to come down from his high horse and learn from those before him as pride, arrogance and false sense of self worth would not let him, just as it has become his attitude to anyone who is willing to help him succeed in governing the state.

It is a paradox that a man who said he would end insecurity in the state and return those displaced by Fulani herdsmen to their ancestral homes within his first 100 days in office is looking for sacrificial lambs and blame targets to explain why he can’t keep the promise.

The man who hoodwinked the people into believing that he had the solution to their problems – despite warnings that he was a scam – is now romancing with enemies of the people who allegedly sponsored his campaign which was hinged on falsehood.

Almost half a year has gone into his administration and the man Alia is still going in circles fighting unnecessary battles against those who assisted him to achieve his undeserved political ambition, while those he promised to relocate to their ancestral homes languish in camps for Internally Displaced Persons, IDPs.

When he initially became governor, Alia sidelined the law banning open grazing which was enacted by his predecessor. But just yesterday, I read him saying that the law is still in force. That statement in itself lacks sincerity. He has not shown any interest in ending the herders attacks.

Alia’s sudden decision to enforce the ban on open grazing as enshrined in the law of the state is belated. It is an afterthought which is only necessitated by the desperation to relieve the public outrage over the influx of herders with cattle into the state and the resultant pressure on him to act.

If governor Alia is sincere about his pronouncement to enforce the ban on open grazing, why is he refusing to meet with relevant stakeholders to chart a way forward for the insecurity in the state like was the case during the previous administrations. Rather, he is constantly initiating unnecessary battles just to divert attention from his incompetence and inability to govern the state.

All those battles and acrimonies being orchestrated by the governor are red flags for the people as the entire state would become uninhabitable by them when the invading merchants of death finally settle down and begin the business for which they were brough to carry out – killings, destruction of property, land grabbing and occupation.

Governor Alia shares the same political platform with the President of the country and majority of all National Assembly members from the state as well as the federal political appointees from Benue. He just has to bring them together in humility to work towards averting an impending genocidal cleansing of the entire state since he cannot govern an empty land.

Tordue Ortese, an Internally Displaced Person writes from North Bank, Makurdi.


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