From Rose Ejembi, Makurdi
There are strong indications that all is not well with the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Benue State as some yet to be identified arsonists, early hours of yesterday, reportedly set the Otukpo residence of a chieftain of the party, Alhaji Abubakar Usman, aka Young Alhaji, ablaze.
The arsonists were said to have stormed Young Alhaji’s residence located at the Government Reserved Area (GRA) Otukpo, at about 3am, and wasted no time in setting it on fire.
Sources from the area disclosed that the fire razed the front section of the building which housed the security post as well as an auxiliary building.
It was gathered that Alhaji Abubakar, a one-time senatorial candidate of Benue South senatorial district, had, a few days ago, displayed a mock coffin with a condolence register of APC at the front of his house.
It was further gathered that the development reportedly did not go down well with some party members in the area, who interpreted it to mean death of APC in Benue South Senatorial District.
When contacted, Young Alhaji, who confirmed the fire incident in his house, said the display of the coffin and condolence register was to express his displeasure with the leadership of APC in the state, over the choice of deputy governorship candidate which he and others were opposed to.
Young Alhaji, who spoke to newsmen on telephone, stated that he personally placed the mock coffin to let the leadership of the party know that something was wrong with the party in Benue South.
“Yes, they set fire on my house in Otukpo, it affected my security house. I kept the casket to show that our party APC is about to die and there is need to save it. It is just a message.
“Today is the fourth day the coffin was placed in front of my residence. I am the one that kept the coffin there. I did that because of the happenings in the party in my zone. I did that to show that if something is not done quickly, the party will call for oxygen. The crisis is over deputy governorship nomination which some people like John Ochoga, Simon Shango and Tilley Gyado are insisting on Samuel Ode, while I, as the leader of the party in the zone, is saying that it should go to Apa/Agatu.”
The APC chieftain said that he was not suspecting anybody, stressing that whoever had done it was not far from a member of his party in the zone.
“They burnt down my security house. The police and DSS are aware. Myself and my workers put out the fire.
The Police Public Relations Officer, (PPRO) SP Catherine Anene, could not be reached at the time of filing this report.