Benue: Governor Alia holds a private discussion with the Chief of Defence Staff

Gov Alia running Benue like parish: APC legislators appeal to Tinubu

The Benue State National Assembly caucus, aligned with the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), strongly criticized Governor Rev Fr Hyacinth Alia on Thursday. They accused him of managing the state government in a manner reminiscent of overseeing a parish. During a press briefing in Abuja, the lawmakers urged President Ahmed Bola Tinubu to intervene promptly and address the Governor’s actions to prevent adverse consequences for the state and the party in upcoming elections. Senator Titus Zam, the leader of the caucus and representative of Benue North West, conveyed the concerns, revealing that the issue had been reported to Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) Senator George Akume, who has been working to mediate and restore normalcy.

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Members of the National Assembly Caucus elected on the All Progressives Congress (APC) platform from Benue State expressed their dissatisfaction with Governor Rev Fr Hyacinth Alia’s governance during a press conference in Abuja. They accused him of administering the state government as if it were a parish, warning that his actions could lead to the party’s defeat in future state elections if not promptly addressed. The caucus leader, Senator Titus Zam, disclosed that the matter had been reported multiple times to the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Senator George Akume, who has been engaged in mediating efforts to bring about normalization.

Observing the lack of democratic leadership in Benue State over the past six months, characterized by Governor Hyacinth Alia’s arrogant and egocentric behavior, the caucus expressed their concerns. They have decided to bring this issue to the attention of Mr. President and other APC leaders in Nigeria, urging immediate intervention to prevent the complete destruction of APC’s fortunes in Benue State.

The caucus revealed that they have consistently and collectively raised the matter with the leader of the APC in Benue, Sen. Dr. George Akume, who, on multiple occasions, requested patience with the hope of a positive change in Governor Hyacinth Alia’s attitude. However, instead of witnessing any improvement, Governor Alia has grown more audacious, treating them and the party with disdain and insincerity.

According to the caucus, Governor Alia seems to have taken advantage of the situation without contributing significantly. They pointed out the rejection his candidacy faced from older party members, leading to legal challenges in various courts, including the Supreme Court of Nigeria. It was emphasized that Sen. Dr. George Akume’s strong support was crucial in rescuing Alia’s candidacy from the opposition within the party, ultimately resulting in his electoral victory.

“Presently, the ingratitude exhibited by Fr. Alia, who had only joined the APC two months before the governorship primaries, is striking. He assumes a messianic stance and attributes the victory of the APC in Benue State solely to his supposed popularity, disregarding the meticulous and systematic efforts of the existing formidable political structure that had previously brought all the state governors into power.

An essential question arises: why did the self-proclaimed popular priest not choose to run on the platforms of APGA, PDP, or other smaller political parties in Benue State?

To provide clarity, let’s examine some of Governor Alia’s dictatorial and egocentric tendencies and his poor treatment of Benue APC over the last six months of his administration in Benue State.

One instance is the election of the speaker of the Benue House of Assembly. Although the position was designated for the Jembagh bloc of Benue North West Senatorial District, which happens to be the hometown of the SGF, Sen. Dr. George Akume, the APC holds 22 out of 32 Assembly seats. Governor Alia collaborated with former Governor Gabriel Suswam of the PDP to install a speaker different from the APC’s preferred candidate. In the speaker election, Governor Alia conducted midnight meetings at Sen. Gabriel Suswam’s residence, persuading ten PDP members to align with seven dissenting APC members, defeating the APC’s favored candidate by a margin of 2 votes. This marked the beginning of his unholy alliance with the PDP to undermine and mistreat the legitimate members of the APC in Benue State.”

Following the Speakership controversy, the party proceeded to nominate and designate key officers of the assembly, including the Majority Leader, Deputy Majority Leader, Chief Whip, and Deputy Chief Whip. To the party’s surprise, the speaker, in agreement with the opposition party, embraced all nominations from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), as endorsed by the State Chairman and Secretary of the PDP. Instead, the speaker rejected the list submitted by the APC and opted for the list unilaterally presented by the Governor through his Chief of Staff.

This development proved to be an embarrassing ordeal for the party, facing disappointment from an administration it had diligently worked to bring into power. Despite the party’s grievances, they chose to maintain faith in the Governor and his government, standing by the guidance of the party’s leader, Sen. Dr. George Akume, who consistently advised them to pray for Fr. Alia’s success.

During the initial stakeholders’ meeting held at the government house, the party’s chairman, Comrade Austine Agada, publicly assumed responsibility, even though there was no blame to assign. He went on his knees, apologized to the governor and party members, and urged everyone to put the State Assembly dispute behind them, coming together to salvage the party.

In this meeting, the governor commended the leader of the party, pledging to collaborate consistently to ensure that Benue and the party would reap the benefits of democratic governance.

Furthermore, he promised to include the party and other crucial stakeholders in significant decisions, particularly regarding the nomination of commissioners and local government caretaker committees. Unfortunately, he failed to fulfill this commitment.

In the appointment of commissioners, Governor Alia once again wielded sole discretion, bypassing the customary practice of seeking nominations from local governments. He disregarded zoning arrangements and calculations, making independent choices based on his own preferences. Despite this, the party did not oppose him; instead, they provided support, understanding the need for individuals the governor could trust in his State Executive and Security Council.

The nomination of caretaker committees for the local governments marked a point of significant humiliation for the party. During a stakeholders’ meeting, Governor Alia requested the immediate submission of three candidates each for the positions of Caretaker Chairman, Deputy, and Secretary, along with two slots for supervisory councillors from each local government area. This departure from the usual one slot per local government was unprecedented. The party enthusiastically agreed, held meetings, and diligently submitted their lists, anticipating a sense of relief and inclusion.

However, when the nominations were eventually announced, the party was astonished to find that ninety percent of the names were different from the nominees they had submitted at the governor’s directive.

Amidst various grievances and discord, the announcement of the caretaker committee marked the culmination of a notably strained relationship between Governor Alia and the APC in Benue State. This has understandably sparked anger among many party members in the state, a sentiment that can be justified by any reasonable standard.

Governor Hyacinth Alia, since assuming office, has shown disrespect and disregard for members of the National Assembly (NASS) from Benue State, who were elected on the same APC platform as him. He has not convened any meetings with them, nor does he respond to their phone calls, let alone consult with them on political matters in the state. His approach reflects a conqueror’s posture, indifferent to the welfare and status of National Assembly members, contrary to the collaborative efforts seen in other states where NASS members work with their governors to attract development.

Governor Alia’s administration in Benue State lacks a discernible developmental blueprint, and the direction of his governance remains unknown to the people. Instead, he appears to rule personally, evident in the skewed appointments favoring his immediate community of Kunav, which holds key positions in the government. The undemocratic nature of his rule is causing widespread disillusionment among excluded and neglected APC members, eroding faith in the APC-led administration in Benue State.

The caucus emphasized the need to protect the APC from Governor Alia’s autocratic leadership to ensure the party’s readiness for future electoral victories. They pointed out that Governor Alia’s public displays of non-existent massive support do not translate into genuine political support, which can only be guaranteed by effective leadership.

Additionally, Hon. Philip Agbese, representing Ado/Okpokwu/Ogbadibo Federal Constituency, accused the Governor of nepotism, citing the appointment of over 30 key political officers from his immediate clan in Vandeikya LGA. He highlighted a gross imbalance that disadvantaged the Idoma-speaking people from Benue South in the political landscape.

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Peter Ritdung Wakkias is a Nigerian blogger and programmer, known for being the CEO of and He holds a Higher National Diploma in Computer Science from Isa Mustapha Agwai 1 Polytechnic Lafia. Based in Lafia, Nasarawa State.

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