APC primaries in Benue, appeal panels slam party chair

There are indications that a crisis is brewing within the ranks of the Benue State chapter of the All Progressives Congress, APC over the controversial outcome of the party’s primaries.

It would be recalled that Benue APC last Friday 27th May, 2022, held its governorship primary election using the direct mode of the exercise and afterwards the suspended Catholic cleric, Hyacinth Alia was declared winner in controversial circumstances that have continued to generate internal wranglings.

The APC Governorship Primaries Panel sitting at the party’s State Secretariat on Monday 30th May, 2022 in Makurdi, commenced hearing of petitions filed by some of the party’s guber aspirants.

The APC governorship aspirants who submitted petitions to the Appeals Panel included, Senator Barnabas Gemade, Chief Michael Aondoakaa, SAN, Prof Terhemba Shija and Dr Mathias Ibyuan who all challenged the process as an aberration insisting that the primaries did not hold and called for outright cancellation of what they described as a “sham and charade.”

Speaking before the panel, Senator Gemade argued that, “We are all members of this party and we really want it to become a winning party not just an opposition party and the only way it may become a winning party here is if things are done properly and there is still a window to do things properly now that INEC has extended the time to 6th & 7th of May”

On his part, Chief Aondoakaa, SAN called for justice and argued that there should be free, fair and transparent APC primaries, emphasising that they have been funding the party and cannot be treated shabbily.

Aondoakaa maintained that “When it was time to fund the party Leader (Senator George Akume) asked I, Gemade and Byuan to do so. We taxed ourselves to fund the Ward, Local Government and State Congresses.

“Then from nowhere, someone who wasn’t even part of the process was smuggled in and they went and manufactured votes and gave it to him.

“We feel humiliated and cheated. We demand justice. Let the right thing be done. Let there be free, fair and transparent primaries in APC in Benue State.

“If the so-called person was so popular, why didn’t they ask him to bring the money to fund the processes instead of asking us to do so?

“I am a Catholic but can they hold an election in a place like Kano or Zamfara and then go and bring an Imam from nowhere to come and hijack the process? That can never happen and we will not accept it here too,” Aondoakaa stated.

Also speaking, Prof Terhemba Shija pointed out that “This primary election is a sham; it is a charade, it is an aberration and should not be allowed to stand.”

Reacting to the issues raised by the aggrieved aspirants, Chairperson of the Appeals Panel, Princess Uzoama Onyema expressed displeasure over the injustice meted out on some of the guber aspirants, emphasizing that the APC State leadership has failed to conduct a just and fair primaries.

In her words: “Benue APC Publicity Secretary, take this message to your Chairman, you people have failed us.

“Ladies and gentlemen, we have come to a final conclusion. I wish you all what you wish yourselves. If you wish to do injustice, you will fail, if you wish to do good, you do good. It is up to you whether you want to win this state or you want to lose it.

“We have come, we have seen, we have heard and we will deliver our bombshell according to justice with the fear of God” she declared.

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