From Aviashima Toom, makurdi
It is no longer news that the trio of Benue State governor, Samuel Ortom and the two senators, George Akume and Barnabas Gemade, representing the state’s North-West and East Senatorial districts respectively, a few days back paid an impromptu visit to President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa.
The visit happened to fall on the eve of the sitting of the Court of Appeal, Makurdi Division, to hear amongst other matters, the Appeal filed before it by People’s Democratic Party (PDP) Governorship Candidate in Benue State in the 2015 elections, Prince Terhemen Tarzoor challenging the judgement of the Governorship Election Petition Tribunal for the state which dismissed his petition challenging the return of Samuel Ortom as governor of the state at the last election.
While the reason for the visit has been overtly stated by the visitors to be a canvassing for more appointments for the state’s indigenes in the Buhari administration, the covert motive for the visit and their likely implications for the building of greater bonds of unity and deepening of the democratic culture in the state may not be lost on keen watchers of the politics of the state, especially against the backdrop of the struggle for control of the political space between the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and the opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP).
It is a bit difficult to digest the stated reason of the Akume-led trio of visitors to Aso Rock that they went searching for more federal appointments for Benue sons and daughters considering that all three are Tiv without at least any one from the predominantly Idoma populated South Senatorial District amongst them on a mission which was supposed to represent the interest of that part of the state as well. The implication here is that the skewed composition of the missionaries invariably presupposes that the mission itself was flawed from inception and as such doomed to failure, if at all it did exist.
A statement signed by president of Benue Youth Agenda, (BYA) Anbua Timothy, and made available to National Daily noted that a more serious flaw in this visit is the impression it foists on Gov. Ortom as being on a mainly Tiv ethnic agenda when he is supposed to be, by his status as governor, a father to all sections and parts of the state, working at all times to build bridges of peace, unity, co-operation and equality of all citizens of the state regardless of tribe and faith. By choosing a totally sectional delegation to a visit which aspires to such a broad mission, Ortom has exposed his chronic lack of grasp and appreciation of the intrinsic balance component sensitivities of the state he is ruling over.
It is such a pretentious and shallow claim as to the reason for that visit that has made it inevitable for keen watchers of political events in the state to search a bit more deeply for the likely hidden motives to this August visit by these goons of the ruling party.
In this regard, the clandestine visit in the night by Ortom to president Buhari on the eve of the Tribunal judgement in the petition against his victory by the PDP guber flagbearer, Prince Terhemen Tarzoor, readily comes to mind, as the following morning, the tribunal which was slated to have commenced sitting by 9:00 am delayed its sitting inexplicably for over two and a half hours, to sit at 11:27 am after which it delivered a judgment dismissing Tarzoor’s petition in a manner that left everyone wondering as to what the basis for its action was.
It is therefore, a coincidence too strong to ignore that those three APC leaders in the state have chosen, of all days, to visit Aso Rock on the eve of the sitting of the Appeal Court in Makurdi to entertain the Appeal by Tarzoor against the Tribunal judgement in favour of Ortom. Moreover, following the recent judgement of the Governorship Election Tribunal for Taraba State which ran contrary to that given in Benue in a matter with similar particulars, it is expected that Gov. Ortom and his god-father, Akume, will very likely get desperate.
With the Appeal Court in Makurdi set to deliver its judgement in Tarzoor’s case against Ortom on or before Thursday, 19th November, 2015, the stakes are indeed high and it is necessary for the people of Benue to be aware of the nocturnal scheming and maneuvers of Senator Akume and his puppet, Gov. Ortom, as it is evident they will stop at nothing to cling to the power they acquired through very sordid means.
The Anbua said President Buhari must equally be aware that already the ordinary people in this country are beginning to perceive him as being willing to bend to the whims of certain entrenched power interests, and the triumvirate of Akume, Ortom and Gemade fit this bill of a cabal determined to pay any price, including sacrificing the wellbeing and sustainability of the democratic process in its entirety just to protect their narrowed and selfish interests.
According to him the Nigerian president must be reminded that his credentials as being incorruptible were seriously put to question with his rather curious intervention in the litigations being pursued against Gov. Ortom by Rt. Hon. Emmanuel Jime, who was challenging the emergence of the governor as the candidate of the APC over other aspirants, a matter which was already well advanced in the law courts, but was suddenly withdrawn for the publicly stated reason that Buhari had instructed the litigants to withdraw the matter.
The contradiction in President Buhari’s intervention to save Ortom from Jime is highlighted by the fact that from 2003 all the way to 2011, Buhari had pursued litigations all the way to the Supreme Court, rejecting vehemently all entreaties from traditional rulers as well as prominent Nigerians. On what basis, one might ask, did Buhari consider it expedient to stop another man from pursuing the same course he has all along taken in his electoral quests?
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