March 4, 2024

PDP to Benue Gov: Give account of N44bn intervention grants from FG


Gov. Alia

By Peter Duru, Makurdi

The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in Benue state has asked Governor Hyacinth Alia to account for how he expended the alleged N44 billion Special Intervention Grants received from the Federal Government between August 2023 and 2024.

The call came following the statement by All Progressives Congress, APC, at the end of its Special Congress held Sunday in Makurdi, when in a text read by elder statesman, Senator Jack Gyado the party claimed that the state received the said sum under the present administration.

Senator Gyado in the text noted that “the N5billion post-subsidy removal fund, which accompanied trucks of palliatives, N9billion Infrastructure Fund, and a N30billion Subnational Intervention Fund have collectively infused N44 Billion into the state coffers. This, if properly utilised will elevate the standard of living and foster economic growth.”

Though the State Commissioner for Finance, Mr. Michael Oglegba had recently acknowledged the receipt of interventions from the Federal Government but like others states debunked the receipt of N30b as recently claimed by the Senate President.

Reacting, Monday, to the statement from the APC, the PDP in a separate statement by its State Publicity Secretary, Bemgba Iortyom described the revelation as “shocking.”

The party said, “If there was a N9 billion infrastructure fund and a N30 billion Sub-national intervention fund, the people of Benue State are only getting to know about it from the APC statement, and this by all standards of transparency and accountability is unacceptable.

“PDP is saddened that this non-disclosure of N44 billion federal intervention grants by Governor Alia reinforces his policy of concealment and disregard for due process and the rule of law which underpin a style of governance that is in character a sole administratorship.

“It is our position that Governor Alia should come clean and disclose how he has expended the N44 billion special grants, as to do otherwise will be to thicken further the cloud of suspicions hovering over his administration, particularly against the backdrop of the alleged N20billion scandal rocking the Bureau for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs right under his watch.”

Reacting, Governor Alia who in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Tersoo Kula, berated the gathering of the said APC stakeholders where the N44 billion allegation emanated from.

He said the allegation which was false emanated from those he claimed had been behind the underdevelopment of Benue State, noting that “the meeting which came in the phase of a ban on political gatherings, fell short of all requirements for a party meeting of such magnitude, where the party has a sitting governor who is their leader and must be part of the agenda for the meeting.

“In the said report, speakers after speakers were quoted to have, in their news found impudent berated Governor Hyacinth Alia in all possible demeaning words, accusing him of mismanaging a ghost sum of N44billion given to Benue state, aside federal allocations hence, the need to throw light on this false information.

“It is sad that this set 1999 party stakeholders are so used to Benue state government funds to an extent that once they are denied access, they can go to any length to bring down any serving governor. If not for mischief purposes, Senate President, Godswill Akpabio who recently made the spurious allegation that state governors were given N30billion each has since apologized to the Nigeria Governors’ Forum and the Oyo State Governor has equally cleared the air that nothing of sort ever happened.

“But in an attempt to give Governor Alia a bad name so as to hang him, the stakeholders who are fully aware of these facts still went public repeating the same lie. Governor Alia has never hidden any funds released to his administration. When the N2billion, out of the N5billion palliatives support was given to Benue, His Excellency was among the first governors to announce receipt of the money; he went ahead and gave an expenditure account, covering the purchase of new buses at Benue Links and fertilizer to farmers.

“It is worrisome that this group of stakeholders have stood in the way of Benue progress for a long time, preferring party politics to governance such that once elections are over, they would distract the winners until they are frustrated to leave the party and pave way for them to start feasting on new aspirants. To them, you are good only when you are contesting elections.

“It was this same group that saw Governor Alia as the only messiah to give them victory in the 2023 with majority of them clinging on the Alia effect and popularity to win their elections.

“Despite these series of distractions and unfounded allegations, the Alia administration has a pact, first with the Benue masses who happily voted him to power and the administration is doing its best to fulfil the yearnings of the people who are daily, passing vote of confidence in the the governor and his government. Past governors who served the interest of stakeholders in Benue only left the state highly impoverished and starved of basic developments.

“Yesterday’s meeting has exposed a lot of hypocrisy around the clique of 1999 stakeholders in Benue and their unrepentant quest to see the Alia administration fail. They praised Mr. President for projects in Benue, praised the Vice President, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation and even the suspended State Chairman of the party but could not see a single project from the Alia administration to commend however, we know quite clearly that development to them is holding of juicy positions and amassing wealth.

“By holding a political meeting against a state order in the Makurdi residence of  Sen. George Akume who is himself a former governor, the SGF has again exposed himself as one who is beating the drums of war for the stakeholders to have an affront on the governor; this is highly unpatriotic and condemnable.

“Benue PDP in a hurry to partner with this mischief has also written her own epistle, relying on the stakeholders’ report to demand and account of the imaginary N44 billion from the Alia administration but the government is not deterred by such antics.

“Governor Alia has a renewable mandate of four full years and he has set the machinery in place to leave Benue better and greater than he met it. Those distracting the governor are the true enemies of the state and the masses would place them correctly at the right time.”