By Peter Duru – Makurdi
The All Progressives Congress, APC, in Benue state has been thrown into deep crisis as allies of the former governorship candidate of the party in the 2019 election, Mr. Emmanuel Jime have accused the Minister of Inter-Governmental Affairs and Special Duties, Senator George Akume of hijacking all the nomination forms for the party congresses to the exclusion of Jime’s loyalists.
They threatened to hold a parallel congress or possibly exit that party if the National Secretariat of the APC failed to wade into the matter and call the Minister to order.
Jime’s loyalists on the platform of Concerned Makurdi All Progressives Congress Stakeholders, Thursday in Makurdi accused the Minister of allegedly directing his crony, a retired Permanent Secretary(name withheld) and a leader of the party in Makurdi Local Government Area, LGA, to shutout all Emmanuel Jime’s loyalists in the sale and distribution of the nomination forms.
According to the spokesman of the group, Mr. Aka Imo “there is no gainsaying that the leadership of APC in Benue state has been hijacked and monopolized ahead of the coming Ward Congresses of the party, by Senator George Akume to the exclusion of Mr. Emmanuel Jime, the Executive Secretary of the Nigeria Shippers Council and former governorship candidate of the party and his supporters.
“Senator Akume is using the retired Permanent Secretary from Makurdi South who claims to be the leader of APC in zone ‘B’ but cannot win election in his polling unit, to throw the party into crisis.
“And we recall that during the senatorial election, Senator Akume lost Makurdi LGA to show you how unpopular he is in Makurdi and all the LGAs that make up Benue North West senatorial zone except Tarka LGA where he comes from.
“In fact it was because of Jime that APC polled much vote in Benue state in that 2019 election and today Senator Akume has started another fight that will ruin the chances of the APC in the state.
“All we are saying is that the National Secretariat of the APC should call the Minister to order or there will be a parallel congress of APC in Benue state on Saturday and that will mark the beginning of the end of the APC in the state.
“And we the Jime supporters may be compelled to leave the party for Akume because we cannot be seen to be giving our best to the party and be shutout of the Congresses of the same party by Senator Akume.
“How can the Minister use his crony to deny Jime and his supporters their legitimate right in the party? For instance there is a Ward in the North Bank area of Makurdi where a group of persons have led the party for 16 years and instead of ensuring that a new leadership is brought in the spirit of consensus, the retired Permanent Secretary who is playing the script of the Minister wants to retain the same leaders and also bring somebody from Gwer West to lead the party in the same North Bank against the wishes of members.
“He is bringing strangers to come and lead our party boasting that it is Senator Akume who instructed that Jime must not be allowed to produce the leadership of the party right from the ward level. So a list of Jime’s candidates in the coming congress was thrown out against the consensus spirit.”
Reacting, the Special Adviser to the Minister on Media and Public Affairs, Dr. Aondona Mkor said as far Sen. Akume and Mr. Jime were concerned, “there is no issue about the coming Ward Congresses to the extent of any iota of disagreement.
“The Congresses have not even started and the Minister has said emphatically that anything that has to do with Congresses and elections in the party would be free and fair. So anybody that is coming to accuse the Minister is just being mischievous and it is an act of blackmail,” he said.