Former governor of Benue state and current Minister of Special Duties and Intergovernmental Affairs, Senator George Akume, has assured that his state will return to the mainstream politics in 2023.
The Minister also dropped an hint that the governorship candidate of the party may emerge through a consensus arrangement.
Speaking with newsmen at a-2-day Benue APC stakeholders retreat with the governorship aspirants in Abuja, Akume, however said the aspirants are at liberty to test their popularity at the primaries if the consensus arrangement fails.
When asked whether the party was considering a consensus arrangement in Benue, Akume said: “There is provision for consensus in our constitution and ofcourse in the Electoral Act. The issue is consensus arrangement is wonderful, difficult decisions are taken through consensus and no matter how difficult a situation is through consensus, you build up a consensus and then answer emerges, I support that there is nothing wrong with that but where we can not afford to do it then the normal processes will also proceed.”
The Minister who is the leader of the party in Benue state acknowledged that he influenced the emergence of two of his successors – Gabriel Suswam and Samuel Ortom as Governor’s of Benue state between 2007 to date.
Assuring that he would not impose any of the aspirants on the party during the primaries, he admonished the aspirants to set aside their differences and work towards the victory of the party in the 2023 poll.
Lamenting the appalling level of underdevelopment in Benue state under the Governor Ortom led administration, he said it behooves on the party stakeholders to ensure the defeat of the ruling peoples democratic party (PDP) in the state.
He noted: “Today, Benue state remains in the last position in every index of development. We have surveyed the array of aspirants our party is parading. Each and every one of you is far better than every aspirants their party is parading. Our people have suffered for so long. They are expecting so much from the APC. Thirty of you are looking for one position, all determine to turn fortune of Benue state around.
“You all have to sit down and talk as brothers and.sisiaters. Talk peace. We are all one. The elites have tried to divide us. Let’s say no to that. This time the people would determine who are candidate and Governor will be not the holy spirit that brought Ortom and suswam through my support.
“Love yourself . Nobody is happy about PDP. Don’t run yourself down. Don’t do it. Let’s work hard to win election. The President has done huge intervention to reposition the economy of Benue state and the country.”
The Minister advised all the stakeholders and all the governorship aspirants to be united.
“APC is the greatest political movement in Africa and we in Benue state are also part of that movement. If you look at the array of governorship aspirants who are gathered here for this retreat then you know that Benue is ready, committed to rescue Benue, to take the state from the dungeon to the promised land.
“My advice to them is to ensure that their unity is not compromised and ensure that their sense of improvement is not undeniable, and that will ensure that APC takes over Benue in 2023.
“We want a situation whereby Benue APC is reunited to the mainstream politics. Our late leader, Senator Joseph Tarka brought us back to the mainstream in 1979 and ever since we have never looked back. This party is doing a great job under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari. We have huge intervention in infrastructure development across the country, intervention in security and so on.”
Among the stakeholders were Senator Barnabas Gemade, former Governors, Ministers, serving state and national assembly members and heads of parastatals in both Bemue and at the federal level.
Also speaking with newsmen, one of the governorship aspirants, Dr. Mathias Byuan, said he is not oppose to any arrangement agreed upon by all the stakeholders.
Dr, Byuan assured that Benue state is up for APC to take in 2023.
For the Benue state chairman, Comrade Austin Agada, also said the the state had always been an APC state.
He challenged Nigerians to mention projects successfully executed by Governor Samuel Ortom-led administration in Benue in the last seven years.
“Even in Borno state where is the epic centre of insurgency, governor Zulum is Commissioning various developmental projects every now and then. So, how come Benue under Ortom is different?”