It is an incontestable fact that Senator George Akume, the Minister of Special Duties and Inter-governmental Affairs, and former governor of Benue state, is the undisputable leader of Benue politics. Since the return of democracy in 1999, Akume has traversed the Benue political scene like a collosus.
His political successes have left many including his critics in awe. He has served the Benue people as governor of the state for two terms spanning eight years. He was thereafter elected as the senator representing the good people of Benue North-west at the National Assembly. It is on record that Akume spent 12 good years in the senate, a record in Benue yet only bested by former Senate President David Mark.
The minister is, indeed, a detribalised Nigerian who weighs all sides of the coin before commenting on any issue.This characteristic has endeared him to many people of different political persuasions, not only in the Northern Nigeria but also in the entire country. No wonder, he received a lot of support from his colleagues from all parts of the country when he contested for the post of the senate president, an election which he ost narrowly.
The way he quickly adjusted as minister of special duties and inter-governmental affairs demonstrated his ability and capacity when confronted with new challenges. One of his mandates as minister, which is to achieve a synergy between all government ministries, departments and agencies, has been largely achieved because of his ideology that even though their tasks as MDAs are different and variant, the synergy is bringing developments to the country.
For Akume, many possible synonyms can be used and said and one of the best gifts he has as a person is his kindness and humility. Senator Akume is a team piayer and he has proved this both at the executive and legislative levels. He blends this experience to give the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, both at the national and state levels, an added impetus at all time. Given the disposition and love of President Muhammadu Buhari towards Benue state through Akume, Benue shall be APC come 2023.
One of the most important functions which the APC must perform soonest as its constitution stipulates is the convocation of its national convention to elect the members of its executive council.
Although no date has been officially announced for the party’s national convention, a lot of conversations and consultations are being held by major stakeholders and chieftains of the ruling party to ensure a free, fair, transparent and rancour free election. The discussions being held also centre on the issue of reaching a consensus. Many have wished that the minister of special duties should be considered as the candidate for the post of national chairman if the party is to arrive at a consensus.
Akume is a leader who is known never to shy away from stating his position on issues affecting the people of Benue state. For example, recently in a show of leadership capacity, after carefully in private advising Governor Samuel Ortom of the state on the need for him to change his methods of approaching critical state issues which fell on deaf ears, it is on record that Akume went public to defend the people by calling a press conference to address some of the state’s immediate concerns.
On the campaign of calumny by Governor Ortom against the person and office of Mr President, Akume was alarmed at the lonesome, bitter and sustained campaign of calumny against President Buhari by the governor. The former senator said it is unwarranted and ill-motivated and continually going on even with the president’s silence and incredible display of magnanimity to the governor and the people of the state. He was terrified that this was not enough to pacify the governor.
Though the minister recognised the right of the governor to free speech, but he expects the governor to be conscious of the fact that his public statements are weighty enough to be construed as the general conduct of the Benue people. He granted the press conference to show that the governor is alone in what he is doing. And for the people of the state, it is a show of shame by the infantile and irresponsible public statements by the governor and a possible destruction of the cordial relationship Benue state as a federating unit has always enjoyed with the centre.
The statements by Governor Ortom, according to Akume, is devoid of simple decency and respect required of a younger person in age and official government hierarchy. The senator emphasised that democracy does not erode the hallmark of values in Africa and in Nigeria; it is hinged on age and authority. He stated that many states are witnessing insecurity just as Benue state but it is on record that no governor has used uncouth, belligerent and provocative statements and insults on the president like Ortom is doing now.
What is uppermost for the minister is the well being and security of the people presently being destroyed by Governor Ortom. He is worried that there is misapplication and misappropriation of funds going on in the state because there is nothing on ground to show by way of infrastructural development or payments of salaries and pensions of staffs and retirees. The governor’s use of slangs, cliches, buzzwords and puritanical nonsense to depict himself as the leader of the Tiv nation and to depict the president as pro-Fulani must therefore stop. His audacity to steal from the state people and yet have the audacity to demean them must also stop. This is his concern.
Wada writes from Abuja via 08035937424