APC Convention: Stampede as delegates, others struggle to gain access into Eagle Square

•Gemade, Aondoakaa, others decry skewed process, call for cancellation

By Peter Duru

Makurdi — The All Progressives Congress, APC, in Benue State has been thrown into crisis over the conduct of the party’s primaries and the controversies trailing the outcomes of the exercise, especially the governorship.

Recall that the APC on May 27, 2022, held its governorship primaries in the state using the direct primaries which led to the emergence of a 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 have stormed the APC Governorship Primaries Appeals Panel in Makurdi to register their protest and drop their petitions are Senator Barnabas Gemade, former Minister of Justice and Attorney General Michael Aondoakaa, Prof. Terhemba Shija and Dr. Mathias Ibyuan who claimed the process was an aberration, alleging 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 Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has extended the time to 6th and 7th of May”

On his part, Aondoakaa, called for justice and argued that there should be credible 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 the 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 was not 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.”

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 Appeal 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.”

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