From Rose Ejembi, Makurdi
A group under the aegis of the All Progressives Congress Proactive Front (APC-PF) has advised the leadership of the party in Benue State against selecting a gubernatorial running mate without widely consulting stakeholders in Benue South Senatorial District.
The group gave the advice in a statement signed by its spokesperson, Arc. Oche Onyilokwu and made to newsmen in Makurdi, the state capital on Monday.
It posited that the warning had become pertinent as the brouhaha about who should deputize Alia continues to generate tension with top politicians of the party in Zone C threatening to leave or stay in and frustrate the party.
“They (top politicians) vowed that they will not take it lightly if some Tiv leaders succeed in foisting a candidate on them. They are particularly questioning why some Tiv people have decided not to allow the traditional zoning arrangement carried out in zone C as it was done in Tiv land without any interference from Zone C,” Onyilokwu said.
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The group further urged both the party and her gubernatorial candidate, Rev. Fr Hyacinth Alia to respect the people of Benue South also known as Zone C by involving them while making a choice of a gubernatorial running mate.
“Alia should be beware of some politicians who are out neither for the interest of the party nor the state but their selfish interest.
“A few days ago the cyberspace was awash with news that former Minister of State for Niger Delta, Mr Sam Ode was chosen as the gubernatorial running mate, but Alia’s spokesperson, Mr Tersoo Kula, debunked the rumour, saying his principal was yet to pick a running mate.
The group maintained that Zone C had four Federal Constituencies namely Obi/Oju, Ado/Okpokwu/Ogbadibo, Otukpo/Ohimini and Apa/Agatu, out of which three except of Apa/Agatu had produced Deputy Governors.
“From 1999-2007 Prince Ogiri Ajene from Oju/Obi federal constituency was the deputy governor while from 2007-2015 Chief Stephen Lawani from Ado/Okpokwu/Ogbadibo federal constituency; and from 2015-date Engr. Benson Abounu from Otukpo/Ohimini federal constituency.
“We are card-carrying members of APC but any attempt to undermine the people of Zone C for whatever purpose will not only be met with stiff resistance but we shall mobilize and work openly against the party,” the group threatened.