Zone A ticket tears Benue APC apart
Nigerian Concord Newspaper
Nigerian Concord Newspaper can authoritatively report that the choice of who becomes the candidate of the APC for the Benue Zone A senatorial contest in the forthcoming general elections has torn the party apart.
According to two high ranking officers of the Benue APC who spoke with this newspaper on a condition of anonymity, the governor of the state who is also the leader of the party in the state, Mr. Samuel Ortom, is presently having it tough with his estranged god father who is the senator representing Zone B at the Senate, Senator George Akume, over his (Ortom) choice of Senator Barnabas Gemade.
The Zone A senatorial district is made up of Kwande, Sankera and Jechira.
Barnabas Gemade who hails from Jechira started to represent the Zone at the Senate since 2011. He became senator under the PDP in 2011. He later ran to the APC in 2015 where he controversially won the seat for a second term.
Senator Akume who has reportedly shown his interest in the candidacy of the Chairman of the BIRS, Chief (Mrs) Mimi Orubibi, is basing his argument on the fact that Kwande has never produced senator for the Zone (A) since the creation of the state.
Top APC officials who hinted this newspaper about the feud which Ortom’s choice of Gemade has caused explained that at a recent meeting, the governor openly told Mimi Orubibi not to resign her appointment as BIRS chairman with the explanation that it is the incumbent senator Gemade that he prefers to return in 2019.
“There was a recent meeting where the governor in his foolishness told Madam (Orubibi) to focus her attention on her assignment at the BIRS. The governor went on to say that it is Gemade, that sleeping senator, that he wants to return back to the Senate in 2019” one of the APC officials said.
Asked what Orubibi’s reactions were to the governor’s choice of Gemade, the APC official said that she (Mimi) asked the governor to go and tell Kwande people who are calling her to come and represent them at the Senate that, it is he who is asking their daughter (Mimi) to stand down for Senator Gemade.
On his part, Akume was said to have summoned Ortom to several meetings where he reportedly warned the governor to steer clear from the Zone A ticket.
Akume was said to have told the governor that he must forget about the plans to use his executive power to impose Gemade on the party (APC) and thereby rob Mimi Orubibi her chance to fly the party’s flag in 2019.
During one of the meetings with Akume, Ortom, acording to a source among his trusted associates, repeatedly made it known to his estranged god father that nothing could change his decision to get the Zone A ticket for Gemade at all cost.
However, Akume, at the meetings told Ortom to remember how he secured the APC guber ticket for him against all odds in 2014. He was said to have also reminded him that the Senate seat in Zone A has never been occupied by anyone from Kwande before.
This, our source said has torn the party into many factions. While a faction which is loyal to Akume has decided to make sure that Ortom is stopped from getting the APC’s guber ticket prior to the 2019 election if he succeeds in robbing Orubibi of her rights, another faction which is loyal to the governor has threatened to make Akume lose his grip on the party.
The faction loyal to Akume has threatened to support Emmanuel Jime, the rightful winner of the 2014 APC guber ticket, as a way of spiting the governor if he imposes Gemade on the party.
On his part, the state chairman of the APC, Abba Yaro, was said to have warned the governor against his choice of Gemade which he reportedly explained is capable of ruining the party’s chances in 2019.