Senator George Akume, a former Governor of Benue State is fighting a battle for his political life. Deserted by his kingmakers within his Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN in the state, Akume might become the lonely voice in the wilderness in his bid to return to the senate in 2015. When squared up against the political heavyweights in the state who are all lined in the Peopls Democratic Party, PDP against him, his journey for a third term in the Senate can only be viewed as an uphill task as JERRY TYOSASE in Makurdi reports.
As the battle for who controls the political soul of Benue State in 2015 gets hot, the political structures of the immediate past Governor of the state and Senate Minority Leader, Sen. George Akume have continued to crumble. The leader of the Action Congress of Nigeria ACN in the state is fast loosing grip of power from his home front, Nigerian Compass investigation has revealed.
Sen. Akume is one of the major forces that are bent on assuming the full political control and leadership of the Food Basket State, come the 2015 general elections. Others include the incumbent Governor, Gabriel Suswam; former Senate President, Dr. Iyorchia Ayu; a former National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, now a senator, Chief Barnabas Gemade, and the Senate President, David Alechenu Mark.
Political Analysts have attributed the continuous crumbling of Akume’s structures to a number of factors ranging from Governor Suswam’s recent reunion with Dr. Ayu, Akume’s political godfather and the defection of Sen. Akaagerger from the ACN to the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, among others.
Both Dr. Ayu and Sen. Joseph Akaagerger, who were hitherto, chieftains of the ACN and joined forces with Akume to lead an effective opposition against Governor Suswam-led PDP in the state, have dumped the broom party for what the duo have separately described as lack of internal democracy.
Announcing his decision to dump the ACN recently in his country home, Gboko, Dr Ayu told his supporters that he was fed up with the Senate Minority Leader, Senator George Akume and has already made up his mind to dump the ACN and return to the PDP where he originally belongs and asked his supporters to vote for PDP candidates in all subsequent elections.
Similarly, Sen. Joseph Akaagerger, who was the ACN flagbearer in the Benue North East Senatorial Zone in last year’s senatorial elections, recently led thousands of his supporters at the Akume Atongo Stadium, Katsina-Ala back into the PDP. He told Nigerian Compass in a telephone interview that he decided to dump the broom party because of it has lost focus and a sense of direction.
Nigerian Compass Investigation has however revealed that the former Senate President, Iorchia Ayu and Akaagerger became aggrieved when they said Sen. George Akume imposed his family members on the people in the ACN primaries in the state which took place as build up to the November council polls. Both promised to ensure the collapse of Akume’s political structures in the state.
The defection of Dr. Ayu and Sen. Akaagerger to the PDP, was followed by mass decampment of ACN members to the ruling party, the result of which was abysmal outing by the Akume-led ACN.
Watchers have described the failure of Sen. Akume to produce a council chairman in any of the 23 local government councils in the state including his local government of origin, Tarka, as a political tragedy and total collapse of the political structures which Akume had laid during his eight year reign as governor of the 36 year old state.
Our search has further revealed Mark on the other hand is still nursing grouses against the former food basket Governor who stood on his way during his second term bid in 2003.
Investigation has further revealed that at present, the senate Minority leader does not have a council chairman nor commissioner in the state who has his loyalty to him and may be willing to stake his neck for him in 2015 in the fight for the control of the political soul of the north central state as all appointments and election into public offices in the state have been done by or won by nominees of his political rivals.
Meanwhile, as 2015 continues to draw nearer with the tempo of political activism in the state heightening, Governor Gabriel Suswam, Dr. Ayu and Sen. Akaagerger seem to be putting their political arsenals together in other to crush any force that may raise against them come the election year.
While Suswam is eying Gemade’s seat at the senate come 2015, non of the forces is particularly interested in senator Akume’s seat but all forces are working against his bid to return to the apex chamber of the National Assembly for the third time. But Akume’s spokesman, Simon Abua, has described the move to unseat his boss as a big joke.
He told Journalists in Gboko that the defection of Dr. Ayu and Sen. Akaagerger from the ACN will rather open up more windows of success for the party.