As the cold war between Benue State Governor, Rev Fr. Hyacinth Alia and the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Senator George Akume, continues to snowball; a Member representing Ado/Okpokwu/Ogbadibo Federal Constituency, Hon. Philip Agbese, has removed the Governor’s portrait from his office.
Agbese, walking into his office at the National Assembly Complex Tuesday morning, removed Governor Alia’s portrait from the gallery of his office and ordered his Secretary to trash it, saying he is not fit to be called a father or leader.
According to him, the Governor, having no regards for democracy and the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, has no place amongst the comity of leaders in a democratic setting.
“So, today, I officially remove the portrait of this person (Governor Alia) from my office. Because he is not fit to be a leader. We can’t follow him.
“If you do not have respect for democracy; you don’t respect the constitution; then you are not my father and leader and your picture is not supposed to be in my office.
“So, secretary, please help me trash this portrait. Thank you very much”, Agbese said.
The Lawmaker, who is the deputy Spokesman for the House of Representatives, had adorned his office with portraits of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu; Governor Alia; Senator Akume; Speaker Tajudeen Abbas and Deputy Speaker Benjamin Kalu; alongside his personal portrait in his office, since the inauguration of the 10th National Assembly, June this year.
Flipping through other portraits in his office (as shown in a viral video posted on social media on Tuesday), Agbese had this to say about Senator Akume’s portrait:
“This is the person we want to see. This is our leader, of course, he remains the leader of the party; he remains the father of the state. There is no doubt about him.
“Because, he is a man of fairness, he is a man of equity, he is a man of justice. That is why we love him, and he has earned his respect”.
Recall that the Benue State chapter of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) has been engulfed by in-house fire for some time.
Just last week, the local government chairmen of the party in all the 23 local government areas of the state distanced themselves from the appointment of the council caretaker committee made by the governor.
The party chairmen also accused the governor of abandoning the party and hobnobbing with the opposition party in the state; this stand was also corroborated by the state leadership of the party.
The intra-party dispute in the State also threatened the seats of four Members of the State House of Assembly, as those alleged to be loyal to the SGF were suspended yesterday, following face-off with those loyal to Governor Hyacinth Alia at the Assembly.
iNewsZone had reported rumours making the rounds of the Benue State Governor is perfecting plans to dump the APC for PDP.
Gov. Ali’s had reportedly held a Meeting With Mark, Suswam, Ayu, Gemade
As the rift between the embattled Governor of Benue State, @Alialization and the leadership of the All Progressives Congress, APC in the state worsens, there are strong indications that the Governor is on his way out of the party which gave him the platform to win the 2023 election.
Governor Alia who is apparently no longer sure of getting a 2nd term ticket in APC, in the event he wins the case pending at the Supreme Court, has made advanced alternative plans with the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, @OfficialPDPNig on a possible defection.
In the wee hours of today Sunday 3rd December, 2023, Alia held a zoom meeting with some influential leaders of PDP. Those at the were former Senate President David Mark, former National Chairman of PDP Senator Iyorchia Ayu, former Governor of Benue State Gabriel Suswam and another former National Chairman of PDP (though now in APC) Senator Barnabas Gemade.
According to impeccable sources, Alia ran to the group seeking for shelter as, according to him, he is “no longer safe in APC”. He told the meeting that the leader of APC in Benue State and Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF Senator George Akume yesterday (Saturday 2nd December) summoned the 23 local government chairmen of APC to Abuja and directed them to suspend him (Alia) from the party.
The zoom meeting assured Governor Alia that PDP will make its platform and structures available to him, if he defects to the party. They also promised to give him the 2027 governorship ticket of the party. The next couple of weeks will be used by Alia and the PDP leaders to perfect his defection plans.
On Thursday 30th November, All Progressives Congress (APC) Local Government Chairmen in the 23 local government areas of Benue State held a meeting in Makurdi and passed a vote of no confidence on Governor Alia accusing him of neglecting the party and running the government like a one-man show.
The APC chairmen who issued a communique at the end of their meeting, expressed disappointment, worry and dissatisfaction over the manner in which Governor Alia has consistently sidelined the party in the decision-making processes of the state.
Yesterday 2nd December, the House of Representatives Member for Gwer/Gwer-West Federal Constituency of Benue State, Architect Asema Achado in a statement he posted on his official Facebook account, enjoined Governor Alia to always dialogue with relevant stakeholders in the party.
Achado called on the Governor to explore alternative approaches that may better serve the interests of all stakeholders involved, especially now that according to him, the Nigerian Senate has resolved on the stoppage of federal allocations to local government run by caretaker committees instead of elected officials.
In a swift reaction, Governor Alia, through his Chief Press Secretary Tersoo Kula, took a swipe at Achado accusing him of blackmailing the Governor by choosing to go public without first seeking private audience with him.
In the same statement, Governor Alia threw a jab at the SGF Akume by asking, “Or is Arc Achado staying away because he is afraid an overlord maybe somewhere that will not be happy with him if he does otherwise?”
Alia has been accused by APC leaders of betraying those who helped him to emerge as Governor, particularly the SGF whose candidates for the positions of Speaker of the Benue State House of Assembly and that of House Leader were snubbed by Governor Alia who installed his loyalists, marking the beginning of the ongoing rift.
Alia has been accused by @OfficialAPCNg of running Benue State under the tutelage and guidance of former Governor of the state Gabriel Suswam of PDP since June when the current Governor snubbed the APC leadership in terms of key government appointments and other decisions.
Follow iNewsZone for more details as it unfolds.
Source: Punch Newspaper and Michael Oyewole/X