The usual practice is to pick a running from the Benue South Senatorial District commonly referred to as Zone C dominated by the Idoma and Igede.
Rose Ejembi, Makurdi
When Emmanuel Jime emerged the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) for the 2019 elections in Benue State, many thought his battles were over after crossing the hurdle of getting other aspirants to step down for him to emerge as a consensus candidate of the party.
READ ALSO: Jime emerges APC guber candidate in Benue
But it looked like the battle had just begun for him. Up till the time of filing this report, he is yet to pick a running mate.
Daily Sun gathered that since the Tiv speaking areas of the state, Benue North East and Benue North West produced the governorship candidate, the usual practice is to pick a running from the Benue South Senatorial District commonly referred to as Zone C dominated by the Idoma and Igede.
At the last count, five prominent Zone C sons were brought forward to occupy the single position and it has been difficult for Jime and other party stakeholders to come to conclusion as to whom among them should be picked.
Those who were nominated according to our impeccable sources within the APC include Commandant-General of Peace Corps of Nigeria, Dickson Akor, former Minister of State for Niger Delta, Dr. Sam Ode, former House of Representatives members, Hassan Saleh, Nelson Alapa as well as former National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) President, Comrade Daniel Onjeh.
An impeccable source from within the APC who spoke to Daily Sun in confidence last Wednesday hinted that although, five persons were initially selected based on various interests, the names on the list was eventually narrowed down to just two names.
“It’s now between Sam Ode and Dickson Akor. Already Dickson Akor’s name has been penciled down but there are speculations that he had issues with the police and the DSS. The party has asked him to go and clear himself with these security agencies and then come back with the clearance letter. If he does that, he will be automatically announced as Jime’s running mate but if he does not, then, Sam Ode will be picked,” the source said.
Our source further revealed that the party, in the interim, had sent a pseudo name to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to enable the party meet up with the time allowed for submission of names.
But when contacted, state APC Publicity Secretary, James Ornguga disclosed that Jime’s running mate would be announced in a matter of days from now.
“The task of selecting a running mate for our candidate was given to party stakeholders and they had long initiated the process for selecting a running mate for our governorship candidate.
“And since it’s an election matter, there were divergent interests but that has been harmonised and in a couple of days, Benue APC will announce the running mate of our governorship candidate and the campaign council at the same time.
“I can assure you that within a few days from now, the whole thing would be made public and all the speculations and rumour would be laid to rest,” Ornguga said.
But in a swift reaction, the PDP in Benue State has lampooned the APC over the issue, stating that the party as presently constituted in Benue is not organised to be able to take such decision as to who becomes the running mate of its governorship candidate.
Speaking in a telephone interview, state PDP Publicity Secretary, Bemgba Iortyom, said the inability of the party to choose a running mate for its candidate is a confirmation of the of the fact that the party has disintegrated as a result of a long standing culture of lack of internal democracy.
“APC since its formation at least in Benue State has never been able to conduct a single primary election. The facts are there. How they come about their candidates for any election is through a selection process which takes place at the lawn tennis court, kilometer 4, judges quarters which is the residence of Senator George Akume, the acclaimed supreme godfather of the party in the state.
“When you have a situation like that, sooner or later, it is bound to lead to the kind of situation you have on ground now because the system which the Benue APC runs, does not recognise internal democracy, it runs a system which elevates the will of an individual and his little group of sycophants over that of the majority.
“So, the majority of the people in the party who have constantly been shortchanged and ignored as if they do not matter are bound to rebel against that sort of situation. That is what we have in APC now where there is a rebellion against the rules of the godfather. That is why the APC up till now, has not been able to choose a running mate for its governorship candidate who himself emerged through a so called telephone call from Abuja.
“Even when APC eventually selects a running mate, you can be sure that the damage has already been done and the party is not in any shape to pose any threat to the PDP in Benue as far as the 2019 election is concerned,” Iortyom said.