Ahead of the Senate screening of ministerial nominees, two prominent youth groups in Benue State yesterday took to the trenches over the nominee from the state Prof Joseph Utsev and the appointment of Senator George Akume as the secretary to the government of the federation (SGF).
The war of words was between the Coalition of IdomaProfessionals and the Tiv Youth Council Worldwide. The former cried out over the alleged marginalisation of Idoma while the latter said it was a misplaced and immoral action. In fact, the Idoma group appealed to President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to drop Akume as SGF.
Utsev was screened by the Red Chamber alongside other nominees yesterday.
The Tiv Youth Council Worldwide particularly took a swipe at the Coalition of Idoma Professionals led by one Hon InalegwuAdaje for vehemently opposing Utsev nomination by Tinubu to represent Benue State.
The Tiv youths led by Mike Msuaan described the stance of the Idoma leaders as a clear display of ignorance of the workings of democracy and lacked the moral right to cry out over alleged marginalisation of the Idoma nation on the issue.
Msuaan told the coalition that in 2007, Senator David Mark was made Senate president. In 2011, Abba Moro was appointed substantive minister of interior from the same Idoma extraction as Mark.
He said the Tiv nation had paid their dues to deserve the current favour from Tinubu having voted enmasse for the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in the 2023 general elections.
According to Him, the Idoma Professional Coalition and their sponsors must know that the APC lost the presidential election woefully in their area and should not expect to be patronised by the APC government, adding that the Idoma people formed G-9, a group that worked against the election of Tinubu.
Msuuan said, “In the build-up to the 2023 general elections, the Idoma nation boldly rejected the APC and mobilised their people to vote against the President Bola Ahmed Tinubu and Senator Kashim Shettima presidential ticket tagging it a Muslim/Muslim ticket.
“Why should they expect appointments from the same man? Why should monkeys be working and baboons expecting to be chopping or why should a policeman expect to receive a salary as a military man?
“We challenge AVM Morgan, Gen. Lawrence Onoja and Chief Audu Ogbeh to produce a clip of any event where they campaigned for Tinubu. They should produce the results from their polling units or wards. These are politicians who cannot deliver their polling units,”Msuaan said.
“What is disgusting and condemnable sacrilege committed in the disjointed press release is the call for the sack of the SGF, Senator George Akume. The Tiv Youth Council Worldwide takes exceptions to this most unfortunate call sparked by sheer envy and jealousy.
“We therefore demand a retraction and an unreserved apology from the Hon. Inalegwu Adaje, the coalition with immediate effect. Senator George Akume has been of great help and assistance to many prominent sons of Idoma extraction.
“It is convenient to state that no one has helped Idoma sons to elected and appointed positions like the SGF, George Akume. He deserves respect and honour and not insults from people like Hon. Adaje. Akume has helped David Mark so much in his political career. Chief Audu Ogbeh was made national chairman by Akume. Abba Moro was made chairman and ALGON chairman by same Akume amongst many others
“In 2015, President Buhari appointed Chief Audu Ogbeh minister, Senator George Akume publicly congratulated him and led a Benue delegation to thank Buhari for the appointment. In the second term of President Buhari, Akume was appointed minister, Chief Audu Ogbeh refused to either call, visit or congratulate him till today.
“The Idoma Coalition has been silent at the grave injustice melted to other tribes at the Federal University of medicine, Otukpo, where all the principal officers in the institution are of Idoma extraction.
“The Coalition of Idoma Professionals have kept mute in the wake of the injustice melted on the Igede people of Zone C. In the history of the senatorial seat in the zone occupied by both the Idomas and Igedes, no Igede man has ever been senator of the zone. Why will a people like that cry of injustice?”