By Jakaya Unamtor
As was the case before Russia invaded Ukraine, a mobilised army and its war machines from the camp of a Governorship aspirant in the Benue State Chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has swung into action on an offensive to annex the Guber ticket of the party for the 2023 general elections.
Former MD/CEO of Benue Cement Company (BCC), former member of the Constituent Assembly, former Minister or Works, former Chairman of Chairmen of 5 Political Parties, former National Chairman of PDP, former 2 term Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Engr. Barnabas Andyar Gemade, has gone on the offensive for the APC Guber ticket in the state.
Only the other day Gemade fired the first salvo on the offensive by warning that it will not be business as usual in the Benue APC regarding the party’s Guber ticket which he stated categorically will not be available to a stooge of a few individuals in the party, in obvious reference to Minister of Special Duties and Inter-Governmental Affairs, Senator George Akume who has been the leader of the party in the state since its formation.
He specifically warned against mico zoning the ticket stressing further that any attempt to impose a candidate on it from a few in the party will be totally unacceptable and in his words, “not augur well for its fortunes in the forthcoming elections”.
The offensive by Senator Gemade has not taken many by surprise as it has long been known that he was not seeking the Benue APC Guber ticket at the benevolence of Akume who has at every election year single handedly awarded the ticket to anyone of his choice without going through the primary election process.
Gemade in 1999 as Leader Supremo of PDP in Benue single handedly installed a relatively unknown Akume as Governor of the state over better qualified aspirants to the seat, but down the years Akume has grown into the political force he is, but the relationship between him and his erstwhile godfather soured bitterly with injuries inflicted on the father by the son which could hardly heal in the span of one lifetime.
It was, therefore, from the onset a time bomb only waiting to explode when Gemade opted to pitch tent in APC as he was clearly seen as a master in his own right not under the leadership of Akume, and his governorship ambition presented a perfect recipe for a bloody civil war in the broom wielders party in Benue at an appointed time.
Now is no doubt that time as Gemade has rolled out on the offensive in a ‘smash-and-grab move which he is reported to be prosecuting on a number of fronts within and outside the state.
Within Benue the former two term Senator for Benue North-East (Zone ‘A’) is reported to have, using his network of political contacts and established structures oiled by a huge financial war chest, amassed a sizeable pool of delegates to the party’s indirect primary election to hold sometime next month.
Gemade is also said to have used his depth of reach in national politics to outflank Akume by rigging together an extensive network of alliances including with the National Chairman of the APC, Senator Abdullahi Adamu, who only recently warned against imposition of candidates on the party’s gubernatorial ticket, with particular reference to Benue.
Feelers have already emerged that Akume lacks the influence within the regime and the financial muscles to contain Gemade’s Guber ambition given that the later enjoys a superiority in connections within Aso Rock and boasts a financial war chest which could wipe out any Akume sponsored aspirant at the forthcoming primary election of the party.
It has been argued by many that Gemade’s superiority over Akume was calibrated by the Aso Rock cabal when it refused to move the former Benue State Governor from the inconsequential Ministry of Special Duties and Inter-Governmental Affairs to a more lucrative one at the recent cabinet reshuffle, thereby leaving him politically and financially emaciated and defenceless against the blitzkrieg now launched by the wily and foxy former BCC helmsman.