By Peter Duru, Makurdi
The All Progressives Congress, APC, in Benue state has been thrown into crisis over the conduct of last weekend primaries of the party and the controversies that trailed the outcome of the exercise.
It would be recalled that the APC last Friday May 27, 2022, held its governorship primary election in the state using the direct mode of the exercise which led to the emergence of a suspended Catholic Priest, Revd Fr. Hyacinth Alia as winner triggering protests by other aspirants and leading members of the party in the state.
Among the aggrieved governorship aspirants who Monday stormed the APC Governorship Primaries Appeals Panel in Makurdi to register their protest and drop their petition were Senator Barnabas Gemade, former Minister of Justice and Attorney General Chief Michael Aondoakaa, Prof. Terhemba Shija and Dr. Mathias Ibyuan who insisted that the process was an aberration insisting that the primaries did not hold and called for its outright cancellation describing the exercise as a “sham and charade.”
Speaking before the panel, Senator Gemade said “we are all members of this party and we really want it to become a winning party not just an opposition party and the only way it may become a winning party here is if things are done properly and there is still a window to do things properly now that INEC has extended the time to 6th & 7th of May”
On his part, Chief Aondoakaa, called for justice and argued that there should be free, fair and transparent APC primaries, emphasising that some of them had been funding the party and should not be treated unfairly.
Aondoakaa maintained that “When it was time to fund the party th leader (Senator George Akume) asked I, Gemade and Byuan to do so. We taxed ourselves to fund the Ward, Local Government and State Congresses.
“Then from nowhere, someone who wasn’t even part of the process was smuggled in and they went and manufactured votes and gave it to him.
“We feel humiliated and cheated. We demand justice. Let the right thing be done. Let there be free, fair and transparent primaries in APC in Benue State.
“If the so-called person was so popular, why didn’t they ask him to bring the money to fund the processes instead of asking us to do so?
“Somebody sat somewhere and entered scores for people. That can never happen and we will not accept it,” Aondoakaa stated.
Also speaking, Prof Terhemba Shija pointed out that “This primary election is a sham; it is a charade, it is an aberration and should not be allowed to stand.”
Reacting to the issues raised by the aggrieved aspirants, Chairperson of the Appeals Panel, Princess Uzoama Onyema expressed displeasure over the injustice meted out to some of the governorship aspirants.
In her words: “Benue APC Publicity Secretary, take this message to your Chairman, you people have failed us.
“Ladies and gentlemen, we have come to a final conclusion. I wish you all what you wish yourselves. If you wish to do injustice, you will fail, if you wish to do good, you do good. It is up to you whether you want to win this state or you want to lose it.
“We have come, we have seen, we have heard and we will reach a decision according to justice with the fear of God” she declared.