Showing posts with label Politics. Show all posts

By James Pitila

I saw a tweet by the arrogant and loudmouthed man who is the governorship candidate of Labour Party in Benue State, Herman Hembe in which he claimed that Peter Obi lost in the state because he embraced Governor Samuel Ortom. That was arrant nonsense. Hembe is a crook and a mischievous chap who has insulted every elder in Benue state.

The question to ask him is what did he do to win support for Peter Obi in Benue state? Obi visited the state many times but Hembe was not even recognized. He was not significant to the Obidient project so no one bothered to even notify him of the visit of Peter Obi.

Let me remind you about the crook called Herman Hembe. He is a very corrupt man and a cultist. He is not someone Benue people will consider for the big job of Governor. He will mortgage the state and run away with the proceeds to a foreign country.

Hembe hails from Mbakpor clan in Mbake council ward of Konshisha Local Government Area of Benue State. He is the second of six children in the family of the late Godwin Hembe, a professor of Political Science at the Benue State University, Makurdi.
He had an absurd reputation of fierce disagreements with his father who almost disowned him at a point in time. Before the man died, his son Iorwase made him have many regrets and went to his grave a sorrowful man.

You won’t find Hembe in the news all the time; but whenever you do, it’s mostly for the wrong reasons. And whenever it is for good reasons, they’re usually quickly overtaken by bad news. Let’s see a few examples.

In 2007, when Hembe first entered the political space, he was a greenhorn, entirely unknown, and he was going to get the backing of Olusegun Obasanjo, President at the time. He did. But that was the only good thing about his political journey since then.

Hembe is on record to have repeatedly insulted every prominent politician in Benue State. From the present Governor Samuel Ortom, Senator Barnabas Gemade, Senator George Akume, Senator Gabriel Suswam etc, Iorwase Hembe has spared none. Gemade in particular is his punching bag. Recently, he has been moving around insulting Governor Ortom during campaigns. But fails to tell the people what he can do differently if given the chance to govern the state. He pours venom on elders in a fashion only a criminally minded person would.

It was public knowledge that while he was at the Benue State University, where he studied Law, Hembe’s records were splotched by allegations of active involvement in cultism. His father was known to have publicly expressed helplessness in curtailing the truancy of both Hembe and his other brother, Orkuma, who attended but never graduated from the University of Agriculture, Makurdi.

So, how did an alleged cultist find his way to the National Assembly? Hembe’s brother, Orkuma, had been President of the once-cerebral but since-decrepit National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), in 2005, earning himself notoriety for attempting to perpetuate himself in office beyond the limit of his term. Orkuma was Obasanjo’s anointed candidate for the NANS presidency. When Orkuma reluctantly vacated his office, the alliance blossomed. Once during Obasanjo’s tenure, Orkuma was reported to have told the Vice Chancellor of his university that after the president of the country, his vice, and the senate president, he was the next most powerful Nigerian! That was how Iorwase got closer to power and found himself at the National Assembly.

Hembe was still 36 years old in 2011 when he became Chairman of the House Committee on Capital Market and other Financial Institutions. A ‘youngie’ chairing a strategic economic committee of the lower chamber! Great news, right? But Hembe ruined it all, and soon found himself at the heart of a mighty bribery allegation.

His committee had picked an unusual interest in the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), and decided to probe it. The committee accused Arunma Oteh, Director-General of the agency, of squandering a princely N30 million on hotel accommodation in just eight months, expending N850,000 (later clarified as N85,000 for a meal eaten by a team of experts) on just a meal. In a matter of days, the committee claimed to have unearthed documents proving underhand dealings in the handling of the DG’s accommodation and official cars.

Not one to go down alone, Oteh fought back, alleging that the committee had demanded a combined bribe of N44million from her. She said “Hembe lacks credibility. For instance, he collected estacode and other travel allowances from the Securities and Exchange Commission to travel to the Dominican Republic on a capacity enhancement conference for capital market regulators. He did not go neither did he return the money collected.”
She added that he also “asked the commission to contribute N39 million towards the ongoing charade of a public hearing and demanded another N5 million cash on Tuesday, March 13, 2012. He made both demands by proxy. So, I doubt it if I can have fair hearing from this committee and this fact has been more than demonstrated with the way you are handling this important issue.” Hembe could not wrestle himself out of the allegations.

In February 2017, the House of Representatives mandated its committee on Federal Capital Territory to investigate the Centenary City project in Abuja.
On the first day of the hearing, a former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, Pius Anyim, accused Hembe, who was the chairman of the committee, of pursuing a personal agenda.
When it was time for Mr. Anyim to speak, he said “Mr. Chairman, I want to put it to you that you have personal motives, you have told everyone who cared to listen that when the former Director General of the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) Ms. Arunma Oteh accused you of demanding bribe, you have pushed for her sack and I refused to sack her as the SGF, so this is an opportunity to get back at me.

“You have been threatening to conduct this public hearing for over one year now, we only discovered your game plan for all the postponement when you started sending messages to the Managing Director to come and see you privately, I want you to know that nobody will come and see you privately”.

Hembe also engaged in a war of words with the former chairman of the House Appropriation committee, Abdulmumuni Jibrin, after the House suspended the latter for one year when he accused the leadership of budget padding.

Hembe has often diverted constituency projects meant for Vandeikya/Konshisha federal constituency and names the projects as his own. He deceives the people into believing that he is working for them. He diverted a road meant for the Jechira constituency to Nyiman in Makurdi and called it his project.

Such a man with a stinking record of corruption and cult activities does not possess the credentials to lead Benue State as Governor. He should better jettison the idea and stop wasting his resources.

* Pitila writes from Gboko, Benue State

The presidential candidate of Labour party Mr Peter Obi came second in the recent presidential trending search on google, his vice Hon Dalti also came second in the.


Second link

Click here

We read with disgust the comments of the Minister of Special Duties and Intergovernmental Affairs, George Akume while campaigning in Gboko two days ago where he launched a verbal attack on the administration of Governor Samuel Ortom and the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.

Akume’s utterances smacked of someone who is riding a sick horse (APC) and is not sure of getting to his destination. His attack on the PDP government is a clear pointer to the fact that he and his Miyetti Allah party have nothing with which to campaign. He is aware that 2023 is the end of his inglorious and infamous political career and the best way for him is to ceaselessly insult PDP directly or through sponsored mercenaries.

Benue people, like other Nigerians have made up their minds to reject the Fulani occupation agenda known as Muslim-Muslin ticket. Anyone campaigning for Tinubu and Shetima is wasting his time inflating a flat tyre.

And that fake man called Hyacinth Alia ought to know that as a priest of the Catholic Church (though suspended), we are shocked and disappointed that he is the one championing the Islamization agenda and takeover of Benue lands by Fulanis. We, the people of the state will respond to him at the appropriate time. But before then, he must be made to understand that he is a traitor. His acts of betrayal by taking money from some Fulani governors with a promise to give their people free access to lands will be met with humiliating rejection!

Back to George Akume. The man who had no single motion or bill to his name in 12 years at the Senate does not qualify to criticize anyone on leadership. Akume ran the worst administration in the history of Benue State with nothing good to remember him for. He was rejected by the people of Zone B in 2019 and will be rejected again with his Islamic agenda this year.

Akume and Alia are only ‘useful idiots’ in the hands of Fulani. He has forgotten so soon that the Northern elites were the first to reject him when he vied for the position of Senate President during the 8th Senate. The Fulani hegemony particularly said the man they described as "Dan Giya" which means drunkard in Hausa was not fit to preside over activities at such a hallowed chamber. The Oligarchs said the man who has always shown the attributes of a traitor, betraying his people for peanuts and unmerited political favours is not someone they could trust with a high position.

George Akume thinks only about himself and his family when power is concerned; That is why after 12 years in the National Assembly, he is insisting that his wife Regina must go to the House Reps. As far as it benefits him, Akume romances with enemies of Benue State, but whenever he gets power, he hardly uses it to benefit his people. It is no longer news that the Fulani hegemony has always gone beyond limit to put hurdles on the way of any Tiv man. They are using Akume now against Governor Ortom.

It is obvious that Akume was not satisfied with the humiliation he suffered in 2019 and wants to taste a little more of the sour soup this year. Benue people are ready with their PVCs to serve APC pepper!

Comrade Ternenge Bendega
President, Benue Alliance for Democracy.

As a socio-political group, we the Friends of Terver Akase, FOTA read with great displeasure how Hyacinth Alia, the disputed APC governorship candidate in Benue State literally lifted ideas from
the guber manifesto of our principal, Mr Terver Akase to develop the document he presented before the media on Sunday 8th January 2023 morning in his Makurdi residence. We find this approach appalling, deceitful and unacceptable.

FOTA observes that in the said document which is tagged "A Strategic Development Plan for A Greater Benue”, Alia copiously used ideas from our principal's gubernatorial manifesto titled "Benue' S-WEALTH Template" which was officially presented to the public on February 25, 2022 and is available at for open access to anyone in any part of the world.

We expect Alia to have known that lifting our principal's ideas contained in his manifesto without permission and the deserved credit given to him is a crime punishable under extant laws of this country. If a man who aspires to govern the state is bereft of ideas of his own to the extent of simply copying another person's ideas and presenting them as his, then, there is a great cause for worry.

Akase’s manifesto had a 7-point agenda. Alia has adopted the same 7-point agenda in what he falsely claims to be his document. A perusal of the sectors such as Security, Education and Agriculture will leave no reader in doubt that the document is a wholesome adaptation of Akase’s original manifesto.

We strongly condemn Alia's deliberate crude approach in plagiarizing our principal's manifesto. We are however not surprised that the APC candidate could go this way which clearly exposes his unpreparedness for the enormous task of governance. It is glaring that he lacks the basic ideas about governance and policy formulation. As the Latin phrase summarizes, 'Nemo dat quod non habet' - 'you cannot give what you do not have' which Alia has clearly demonstrated that he has no depth.

Given his crafty and abysmal conduct, Benue people must understand the shallowness and lackluster disposition of the APC guber candidate in his desperate political ambition which continues to hang in the balance.

FOTA demands that Alia should immediately retract the plagiarized document and tender an unreserved apology to our principal, Mr Akase. Failure to do so, we will be left with no option than to seek redress in a competent court of justice.

Enoch Tsambe
FOTA Media Coordinator,
10th January, 2023.

 The Governor of Ekiti State, Biodun Oyebanji, and his Deputy, Mrs. Monisade Afuye, have both had their elections validated by the Election Petition Tribunal.

The plea of Mr. Segun Oni, the candidate for governorship put forth by the Social Democratic Party (SDP), was rejected by the Tribunal in its verdict delivered on Thursday in Ado-Ekiti.

In the ruling that was read by the Chairman, Justice Wilfred Kpochi and a member of the Panel, Justice Sa'ad Zadawa, resolved all of the matters that had been brought up in dispute against Oni and his party, SDP.

According to the decision made by the Panel, the appeal that Oni submitted in opposition to the repatriation of Oyebanji and Afuye respectively "failed horribly head or tail."

By Joe Nashima

A cold war is brewing between the leader of All Progressives Congress APC in Benue state and the governorship candidate of the party hon. Hyacinth Alia which is threatening to sink the party before the 2023 elections.

Tuesday 27th December 2022 was the leader’s birthday but Alia refused to wish him a happy birthday celebration. 48 hours later, no such message has come from the embattled candidate. I will tell you why.

Trouble between the two began when two northern (Fulani) governors sent N500 million to support the ambition of the suspended priest who had visited them and pledged to serve the Fulani interest, if elected as Benue governor. The governors however decided to channel the N500 million through the Benue APC leader (Lida) who refused to release it Alia.
The disputed candidate was very angry and expressed his frustration with some of his friends. The two northern governors also will later find out that Lida cornered the funds for himself.
Since that time, the relationship between the two men has not remained the same.

Another strong cause of the friction between Lida and Alia is the wife. Alia’s close relationship with Lida’s wife is beginning to raise doubts and suspicion in the minds of those close to the former first family of the state. Madam is the one who brought Alia knowing that as a reverend father, he doesn’t have a wife so she would assume the position of first lady for a second time. Alia calls madman even at odd hours and speaks in romantic tunes. The ugly scenario has created a gulf between him and Lida.

That is why you have not seen Lida at any campaign event organized by Alia.

Then there is a former female House of Reps member representing Jechira who is also hotly contesting for the position of first lady in the event that Alia wins. Another group of ladies who are girlfriends of Alia recently began to print posters and billboards to campaign for him. He has children with some of the ladies. They have vowed to slug it out with the “old ladies” and install one of them as the First Lady.

As the Court of Appeal prepares to rule on the cases brought before it against Alia, the man’s headache has increased. He is already regretting why he left priesthood to pursue a mirage.

* Nashima writes from Akpehe, Makurdi

By Samson Ochono

The governorship candidate of All Progressives Congress APC in Benue State, Hon Hyacinth Alia is not pretending about his connection with Fulani oligarchs and pastoralists. He is ready to do the dirty job of the undertaker who would blink no eye in sacrificing his people and hurrying them to their early graves in exchange for wads of currency and power.

The report that he is being sponsored by a group of Fulani governors led by the diminutive governor of Kaduna State began like a joke until the suspended priest was seen in photographs with the Kaduna Governor and other prominent Fulani persons.

Benue people woke up one day in June 2022 to read a shocking news report which quoted Alia as blaming the insecurity in the state on the youths of the state. He tagged the youths as idle minds who indulge in gossip and communal clashes.

That was his maiden outing to impress his sponsors and to assure them that he is committed to the terms of the agreement they entered into in Kaduna that they would support him so that if he wins, he will grant them free access to Benue State and repeal the law prohibiting open grazing of cattle.

A few months later, he was appointed as the coordinator of the Muslim-Muslim presidential ticket of APC in the state. In his excitement, he began to compose songs in praise of Bola Tinubu and Kashim Shetima. The songs sparked negative reactions even from some of his supporters who felt disappointed and betrayed. It was all about his selfish interest.

A few weeks ago, some Fulani groups met in Lafia, Nasarawa State and declared that Alia is their candidate for the 2023 governorship election in Benue state. The groups vowed to mobilize support for him to win the election so that he can fulfill his side of the agreement - to give them lands in the state to occupy.

The report of his endorsement by Fulani groups was widely published by the media. If anyone had doubts about the earlier reports that Alia is an agent of Fulani, such a person needed no further proof after the Lafia endorsement. He has not come out to distance himself from the endorsement up till now.

Alia has been in constant touch with the Governors of Kaduna and Katsina as well as other Fulani fundamentalists who are bent on installing a governor in Benue State to serve their interests. The first time they sent money to him running into hundreds of millions, his benefactor George Akume reportedly hijacked the funds. The issue caused a serious brawl between him and Akume on one hand and the minister’s wife Regina on the other hand.

The questions every Benue voter must ask before casting his ballot in next year’s election are:
1. Why has Alia not condemned the herdsmen attacks on Benue communities since he became a candidate?
2. Why has he not visited any of the IDP camps to sympathize with victims of the attacks?
3. Why has he visited Kaduna and Katsina many times since June this year?
4. Why has Alia not made any public statement regarding his endorsement by Miyetti Allah groups?

* Ochono writes from Apo, Abuja.

By Samson Ochono

The 2023 governorship election in Benue State may just be a walkover for the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Rt Hon Titus Uba. I say this without any shred of doubt or equivocation because the coast seems to be getting clearer for Uba each passing day. His supposed main challenger, Hyacinth Alia of All Progressives Congress, APC has a mountain of problems that have already buried his ambition.

Most of the obstacles facing Alia are self inflicted. They are unforced errors which are too late to be corrected and his disposition does not look like one who is ready to learn from the bitter experience of Emmauel Jime who flew the APC governorship flag in 2019 and was defeated by Governor Samuel Ortom.

One of Alia’s pitfalls is his links with some Fulani governors and groups such as Miyetti Allah who are believed to be sponsoring him to win and repeal the Benue open grazing prohibition and ranches establishment law to grant herders free access to lands in Benue State. This is the same factor that sank Jime in 2019.

For some years now, Benue people have been fighting a survival war against the Fulani jihadists who are bent on taking over the Benue Valley to occupy. Anyone who enjoys the support of the Fulani oligarchs and pastoralists is outrightly rejected by Benue people. Alia has been seen in several pictures with Governor El-Rufai of Kaduna, Governor Bello Masari of Katsina and Miyetti Allah groups after closed door meetings where he is believed to have promised the Fulanis that he will do their bidding, if elected.

The story has spread rapidly across the Benue landscape and now many people including the rural folks have been discussing the issue in market places, beer joints etc. Alia seems to have lost the election even before we enter the year 2023! He now has the moral burden to reject the billions thrown at him by the Fulani or face humiliation at the polls. But does he have the moral strength and conscience to resist the lure of Fulani billions? No! I understand that he loves good money and the good things of life.

Benue people have made up their minds about who they want as Governor. Their survival is non-negotiable! They won’t be voting for a man who will turn them to slaves for Fulani in their homeland. They won’t be voting for a man whose loyalty lies with their perennial attackers. They won’t be voting for a man who has refused to sympathize with thousands of those who have been displaced by killer herders and forced to live in IDP camps for years.

The other factor that has defeated Alia even before 2023 is the man who brought him to contest for governorship. George Akume has a reputation for destroying those he helps to ascend the position of Governor. He attempted it against Governor Gabriel Suswam and did the same against Governor Samuel Ortom. Though he did not succeed in destroying the two gentlemen, he is on record as a godfather who does not allow his godson the free hand to work. Alia is a novice in politics so Akume can easily manipulate him. Even Ortom and Suswam who are highly experienced in the game of politics did not find it funny working with Akume.

The last factor that is Alia’s biggest albatross is his ego and untrustworthiness. He is known to be a very arrogant person who claims to know it all. Those on his campaign team have complained often that their candidate is not a team player. He is also associated with corruption dating back to when he was still a practicing priest.
Alia eagerly accepted the result of the sham primary election that his party conducted when every other person saw the nomination as fraud of the highest level.

The conclusion of observers and analysts is that Titus Uba has no real challenger going into the election. Even if Alia survives the lawsuits against him at the Court of Appeal (which I doubt that he will), the people have already made their choice and he is not that choice.

* Ochono writes from Apo, Abuja.

…Switches off Phone as Thugs Chase Supporters from his gate

By Vincent Ogbu

Reliable sources within the All Progressives Congress APC in Benue state have it that the disputed governorship candidate, Hon. Hyacinth Alia has absconded with the money sent to him as the state coordinator of the Bola Tinubu presidential campaign to do Christmas for members of the party.

According to our sources, since the funds were sent to Alia some days ago, he did not bother to call a meeting of the Tinubu campaign team in the state to brief them. He also shunned the leader of the party in the state George Akume who later got wind of the funds and tried to reach Alia to no avail.

Yesterday being the eve of Christmas, some members of the APC trooped to Alia’s Makurdi house in New GRA to find out what was happening as their people back home were expecting the Christmas package from them. Eye witnesses said on getting to the gate, stern looking thugs chased the APC members from the gate and told them to go and seek Christmas elsewhere.

Some of the courageous ones among them brought out their phones and dialed the number of Alia which was switched off. He could not be reached even at 6 o’clock in the evening. The hungry and angry APC members who could no longer wait began to leave in frustration and regret.

Some of them were heard saying “Is that how this man hopes to win elections?” “How can you treat your key supporters this way with just two months to the elections?” ‘Let’s see how he will continue like this and win. I am tired of the whole thing”.

They said it was the first major test of Alia and he has failed. The APC members frowned at his conduct and gave the suspended priest till the morning of Christmas to release the funds or face a public protest.

The social media team of APC in Benue state couldn’t take it anymore. Some of them like the organizing secretary of the party James Ornguga made more than five posts in less than two hours lamenting the lack of any Christmas package.

Those who watched the drama in Benue APC concluded that Alia has shown early signs that he is someone who cannot be trusted with state resources as it is written in the gospel of Luke 16:10-14 “Whoever can be trusted with small things can also be trusted with big things. Whoever is dishonest in little things will be dishonest in big things too.

By Vincent Ogbu

The contumacious candidate of All Progressives Congress APC in Benue state Hon. Hyacinth Alia has once again shown that he lacks what it takes to govern the people. All other governorship candidates have issued statements since yesterday wishing Benue people a merry Christmas, but Alia has done nothing of the sort.

The Christmas day has come and gone, yet no message has come from the camp of the yahoo yahoo APC candidate. His arrogance won’t allow him to wish anyone good. He sees himself as someone who towers above all other human beings.

After taking millions from Tinubu, El Rufai and other sponsors with a fake promise do Christmas for those deceiving themselves about his ambition, Alia did not buy even one sachet of water or a half bag of rice for anyone. He was not reachable throughout yesterday and has remained unavailable today.

Yesterday, being the eve of Christmas, some members of the APC trooped to Alia’s Makurdi house in New GRA to find out what was happening as their people back home were expecting the Christmas package from them. Eye witnesses said on getting to the gate, stern looking thugs chased the APC members from the gate and told them to go and seek Christmas elsewhere.

Some of the courageous ones among them brought out their phones and dialed the number of Alia which was switched off. He could not be reached even at 6 o’clock in the evening. The hungry and angry APC members who could no longer wait began to leave in frustration and regret.

Some of them were heard saying “Is that how this man hopes to win elections?” “How can you treat your key supporters this way with just two months to the elections?” ‘Let’s see how he will continue like this and win. I am tired of the whole thing”.

They said it was the first major test of Alia and he has failed. The APC members frowned at his conduct and gave the suspended priest till the morning of Christmas (today) to release the funds or face a public protest.

At the time of this report, APC people have not seen any money. The frustration and confusion in their camp has now grown to anger. A number of them are already insulting Alia and calling him a selfish and arrogant person.

By Tunde Olusunle

Samuel Ioraer Ortom's name without doubt, is one of the most well-known in Nigeria's subsisting democratic dispensation. The Benue State helmsman is something of a "comrade governor," who is well-spoken, vocal and activist. He is never shy of baring his mind on issues of fairness, equity and justice. He reminds you of Adams Oshiomhole, the hitherto khaki-wearing trade unionist, turned governor of Edo State. His voice was recognisably loud and clear in the ears of the public and the government at the centre, even when he was chief executive of his home state. I can't forget the scene of the near fisticuffs Oshiomhole engaged with Mohammed Adoke, SAN, attorney-general and justice minister under the Goodluck Jonathan presidency, sometime in 2012.

Oshiomhole's beloved principal secretary, Olaitan Oyerinde, also a foremost unionist, was murdered in his home in Benin City, early May 2012. The investigation process seemed to drag forever and Oshiomhole angrily confronted Adoke, the nation's number one law officer months later, about the snail-pace of the interrogation. Attendees at the chambers of the federal executive council in the State House where the incident happened, had to come between both men. Watching Ortom fume at airforce officers at Airforce Base in Makurdi last February for denying him access to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo who was transiting through the facility to Wukari, Taraba State, re-echoed the Oshiomhole/Adoke saga.

Much as you will hear Ortom's voice on developments in politics, governance and administration nationally, there is a reticent streak about his noise levels, concerning his own endeavours. His background as a multitasking business man and entrepreneur, has taught him requisite shrewdness which he applies to the business of governance. He does a mental aggregation of the cost of staging a ceremony to inaugurate a completed project, and checks what other pressing need can be addressed with the vote for such fanfare. He has therefore opted for informed conservatism on matters related to self-promotion, preferring to work quietly and deliver on his developmental vision. The visit of Ortom's "G-5" colleagues to Benue State early November 2022, opened the astonished eyes and astounded lips of the world to certain accomplishments of his administration, in his seven and half year stint in office.

Except you were a wary, circumspect resident of Makurdi the Benue State capital, the dominant, self-introducing structure which was sprouting on the immediate outer circumference of Government House, would have passed for just another building. Located to the right, en route "Makurdi Waterworks," the building sits with uncommon elan, its backside overlooking the "Benue River" in the proximal distance. The complex retained its mystique even when its name, BENGIS Service Centre was plastered on its forehead. Frenetic completion works, installation of kerbs, grassing, cleaning, test running of equipment, red-carpeting, in days preceding Monday December 12, 2022, gave insights into the place of the project in the grand vision of the Ortom administration. The "Benue Geographic Information Service Centre," (abbreviated BENGIS), had been birthed! The state had thus joined select Nigerian states and entities which have subscribed to the deployment of digital instruments for enhanced efficiency and effectiveness in land administration. These include: the Federal Capital Territory, (FCT); Lagos, Niger, Bauchi, Cross River, Edo, Gombe, Kaduna and Nasarawa, among others.

The colourful commissioning of the project was transmitted on live television to underscore how much value the Ortom administration places on the BENGIS initiative. Benue State commissioner for lands, survey and solid minerals, Bernard Aondoaver Unenge, recalled the groundbreaking of the project September 30, 2000. He explained that the concept deploys information communication technology, (ICT), through digital platforms and software for seamless management of land administration. He noted that the technology will accelerate the processing of certificates of occupancy, (C of O); efficient land recertification; regularisation and registration of titles and warehousing of documents in soft copies and hard copies.

Unenge equally noted that the new technology will automate transparency in revenue generation, by eliminating leakages at various junctions. He announced to the delight of the audience at the inauguration of the new facility, that the duration for the receipt of certificates of occupancy, (C of O), will henceforth be between 30 days and 60 days. The project he noted, is fitted with "high-tech state-of-the-art-facilities, comparable to the most up to date anywhere in Nigeria.  He expressed delight that in spite of delays occasioned by COVID-19 and the prevailing economic situation, the Ortom government remained focused and committed to the conclusive completion and operationalisation of the project. He saluted Ortom's vision in the holistic reformation of land management in Benue State.

Ortom while delivering his speech, said the delivery of the project could not have come at a better time, given the increasing importance of land assets in the socioeconomic development of the people of the state. He noted that feedbacks he received during the test run of the facility, suggested that the challenges encountered by his constituents on land management, had been largely reduced. According to him: "Since the commencement of the BENGIS Project, the land digitisation initiative has greatly improved improved urban planning, infrastructure development and environmental management. Investors are also increasingly encouraged." Gone are the days of rat-eaten, rain-worsted, oil-soiled files and land folios, gathering dust, moisture and cobwebs in the shelves of government offices. There will no more be incidents of files growing wings and flying to space.

The Benue State governor observed with utmost delight, that: "With the commissioning of the historic project, we have achieved global best practices in land administration. I am optimistic that this project will attract the World Bank's grant of USD 2.5 million, through the "States Fiscal Transparency, Accountability and Sustainability, (SFTAS) Programme. This will be diligently applied to developmental projects in the state." Ortom who noted that a princely sum of N6.5 Billion was expended on the project, noted that BENGIS will operate throughout Benue State, as it will have additional service points in important towns in the state, notably Gboko, Otukpo and Adikpo. He admonished owners of all residential and commercial properties in the state capital, Makurdi, and sociocultural headquarters like Gboko and Otukpo, to subject to recertification of their titles within six months.

Leader of the "G-5" governors who have subsisting issues with the main opposition party, the Peoples' Democratic Party, (PDP), Nyesom Ezenwo Wike of Rivers State, was the special guest of honour at the programme. He commended Ortom's vision and consciousness in the conception and completion of the project, despite the generally unfriendly national economic situation. He observed that whereas some of his governor colleagues were perennially bemoaning the insufficiency of monthly allocations and accruing resources, Ortom was practically squeezing water out of stone to serve his people. Wike reminded the audience that the people of Benue North West have requested Ortom to proceed to Abuja to serve them as their Senator, upon the completion of his gubernatorial assignment. He counselled that all Ortom's opponents from other political parties contesting the senatorial position with him, should drop their ambitions. Ortom, according to him, has done very well.

For an administration in its final months, the commissioning of BENGIS attracted several dignitaries including royalties, parliamentarians, (from the federal and state legislatures), members of the state executive council and political leaders. The Tor Tiv, James Ortese Iorzua Ayatse, (a respected professor) was represented, while the Och'Idoma, John Elaigwu Odogbo, (hitherto a revered clergyman) attended the event. Deputy Governor of the state, Benson Abounu; senator representing Benue South, Patrick Abba Moro; and members of the House of Representatives including: Bem Benjamin Mzondu; John Dyegh; Robert Aondona Tyough; Ottah Francis Agbo, were present. Deputy Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Chris Adaji; Secretary to the State Government, Anthony Ijohor; Head of Service, Veronica Onyeke; Chief of Staff to the Governor, Tivlumun Nyitse, attended the event. Benue State Secretary of the PDP, Bem Zoho and Information Adviser to Ortom, James Uloko, graced the event.

Facilities in BENGIS include: the arrival hall/reception desk; conference rooms; equipment and hardware rooms; offices, among others. The outfit will, in addition to the aforementioned benefits, assist with the digital area mapping of the state; identification of solid mineral resources; elimination of land speculation and boosting the real estate sector. It will also enhance the identification and collection of revenues and dues, including ground rents, C of O fees and other land charges. BENGIS will facilitate the computer-based decentralisation of land management, courtesy of the establishment of zonal centres. Importantly too, it will be useful in locating and classifying swathes of land based on their suitability for crop cultivation, forestry, mining and other uses. Individually and collectively, these will enhance sustainable development and economic and budgetary planning, among others.

Tunde Olusunle, PhD, poet, journalist, scholar and author, is a Member of the Nigerian Guild of Editors

Fulani pastoralists from Benue and Nasarawa yesterday endorsed the governorship candidate of All Progressives Congress, APC in Benue state, Fr Hyacinth Alia as the man they will support for the 2023 election.

Addressing journalists after the meeting in Lafia, spokesman for the group, Alhaji Sahabi Husaini stressed that Alia is the only one who has promised that if elected as governor, he will protect Fulani herders with their cows and accommodate them for peaceful coexistence in the state.

“We are fully behind that reverend father. All Fulani men and women will support him to win the election because he has given us his word that our people who have been chased from Benue state will be allowed to return to carry out their legitimate business of cattle breeding,” he stated.

Husaini thanked the leadership of APC in Benue state for giving the governorship ticket to Alia whom he described as “a true friend who is ready to defend the Fulani interest”.

“Let me tell you that even in 2019, we preferred Jime, who was like a son to us instead of Ortom but the majority of Benue people wanted Ortom so we had to wait for the right time (2023) when we will install a governor who will serve the Fulani interest in that state”, said.  

The herders’ spokesman further said that they would mobilize support for the Benue APC governorship candidate with financial resources to enable him emerge victorious at the polls next year.

Alia last month received a similar endorsement from another group known as APC Fulani Nationwide which said it is working round the clock to ensure that he becomes Benue governor in 2023.

National Leader of the group, Garus Gololo, told our correspondent on telephone that the Benue APC candidate is the only one who has held meetings with Fulani pastoralists and condemned the Benue anti-open grazing law while giving them assurance that he will protect their interests if they support him to win the coming election.

Gololo accused Governor Samuel Ortom of making a law that has grounded the business (open grazing) of Fulani herders in the state. He said their reason for backing the APC candidate in 2019 against Ortom and now supporting Alia is to have a Governor who will repeal the law prohibiting open grazing and allow their members free passage in parts of Benue state.

Gololo added that the struggle to return Fulanis to Benue will not end until they succeed in achieving their target, no matter how long it takes.

By Peter Ahenakaa

If there is anyone who should not be talking about governing Benue State in 2023, such a person is Hyacinth Alia, the man whose only achievement is conducting fake healing masses and stealing church funds and building materials to build mansions for himself and his many women.

That man is not a priest. He only used the priesthood to hide and commit atrocities. This is why an old priest like him didn’t have a parish where he was presiding as the priest before he abandoned the work of God to have more time for worldly pleasures.

Alia is also a very corrupt man. In all the places he served as a priest, there are records of his mismanagement of funds and embezzlement to build mansions for himself and his women.

A Randy Priest

In 32 years of being a priest, Alia who is better known as ‘Orhiti’ for his sexual escapades with women, did not build even a toilet for the church. The money that poor parishioners raised through their meager efforts, he squandered it all with a life of pleasures - alcoholism and womanizing. He diverted the trailer-load of cement generously donated to the Catholic Church by philanthropists at Anum near BSU and used it to build the house he and his women call the “white house” in New GRA.

Alia violated the Oath of Celibacy many times. The oath of celibacy is the state of a Catholic priest remaining unmarried and totally abstaining from sexual activities. But here is a priest who has not only violated that oath but also had children with different women from Nigeria and abroad. The church confirmed his illicit acts and decided not to give him any parish to head. He is believed to have not less than 16 children by 12 different women.

Some of his sex partners are married women. He has caused them to divorce their husbands. The reason he no longer had a parish was that once he was assigned to head a parish, one of his foreign women who is a Canadian with whom he had a child would write a petition to the Bishop. The church has not been able to reply her petitions and justify why Alia should be a parish priest.

Fake Healing Masses

Alia deceived many unsuspecting people in the 1990s and early 2000s with fake miracles of healing of sick people. Till today, he can’t point to anyone who is a well known person in any part of Benue State who was cured by his “healing miracles''. The good thing is that the church soon discovered his fake life and many people stopped attending his “healing masses”.

He Lacks Credibility

In politics, people's antecedents are a prerequisite for trusting them with bigger responsibilities and Alia's case cannot be different. We must ask questions. Who is Alia? Has he been a successful priest? If yes, which development did he bring to those parishes he served in?
What was his conduct and relationship with his parishioners and his relationship with his superiors?

His Conspiracy With Enemies of Benue

Alia has been meeting secretly with some northern Governors and other individuals and groups of Fulani extraction. The Fulani have made a deal with him and are sponsoring him so he can win and give them free access to land in Benue State.  Alia eagerly promised them that the first time he will do, if elected, is to repeal the open grazing prohibition and ranches establishment law of the state. He has met with the diminutive Governor of Kaduna State and that of Katsina State on several occasions to perfect the deal. He is on the payroll of the Fulani.

His Failure As Priest

Alia served in many parishes including St Thomas The Apostle Quasi-Parish Anum, opposite BSU First Gate, Makurdi.
 1.  He started a perimeter fence at Anum and left it half-way.
 2. Built a children's church with mere wooden poles.
3. He didn’t even build a toilet there.

4. He merely repainted Father's house within the Anum church premises and claimed that the repainting cost N120m. The missing church money has remained unaccounted for since then.

Alia left the Parish without executing any meaningful project within his five years as the senior priest in that Parish with all the foreign donations that he received on behalf of the church. His successor Rev. Fr Jude Ortese has so far spent 6 years in the Parish as a junior priest but has done remarkable things with meager resources at his disposal. He has completed the perimeter fence started by the church and also redesigned and rebuilt father's house and finished the same with state-of- the-art facilities.

People must be held accountable for their deeds and be made to suffer the consequences of their actions and inaction. Alia has not done well in church leadership and does not qualify to seek higher responsibilities.

* Ahenakaa writes from Agedam in Gboko.

 Ekiti State's new governor, Abiodun Oyebanji, is a member of the All Progressives Congress, or APC. He was inducted into office earlier today.

On Sunday, at approximately 12:53 p.m., Oyebanji went to the government house of the state to take his oath of office.

Justice Oyewole Adeyeye, who is also the Chief Judge of the State, administered the oath of office to the former Secretary to the State Government (SSG).

A number of notable
dignitaries were in attendance, including Bola Tinubu, the presidential candidate for the All Progressives Congress (APC), Rotimi Akeredolu, governor of Ondo State, and Simon Lalong, governor of Plateau State.

There are also others, such as Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos, Godwin Obaseki of Edo, Governor Abubakar Badaru of Jigawa, and Governor Dapo Abiodun of Ogun.

After receiving 187,057 votes in the election for governor of Ekiti State, Oyebanji was announced as the winner of the race.

He prevailed over his two closest opponents, Segun Oni of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) and Bisi Kolawole of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), each of whom received 67,457 votes. Oni received 82,211 votes, and Kolawole received 67,457 votes.

 A member of the Adamawa State House of Assembly named Shuaibu Babas has defected from the All Progressives Congress (APC), the party that is currently in power, and has instead joined the People's Democratic Party (PDP).

As his reason for leaving the party, Shuaibu Babas, who was elected to represent the Fufore/Gurin constituency in the Assembly, cited allegations of irregularities in the most recent primary election for the House of Assembly as his motivation for leaving the main opposition APC in the state.

The legislator wrote a letter to the Assembly, which the Speaker, Aminu Iya Abbas, read during the resumed plenary session on Monday. In the letter, he explained that he had to leave the APC because of the injustice that was done to him during the most recent primary election of the party.

Babas claimed that he had no choice but to leave the APC because the party was unable to hold a primary election that was free and fair in his constituency. As a result, he had no choice but to leave the party.

The Speaker extended his congratulations on his decision to join the party that is currently in power and encouraged him to make himself at home.

The ruling PDP now has a majority of 14 members in the 25-member Adamawa House of Assembly following the defection of Shuaibu Babas. The opposition All Progressives Congress (APC) has 10 members, and the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP) has one member.

The former majority leader, Hammantukur Yattusuri, joined the NNPP last month after defecting from the PDP to join the NNPP. Yattusuri left the PDP because he was unsuccessful in obtaining the PDP nomination for the seat in the House of Representatives that he was trying to win.

 On Thursday, the aggrieved governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike, and the party's presidential nominee, Atiku Abubakar, met behind closed doors in Abuja. This meeting took place almost two months after the presidential primaries of the People's Democratic Party (PDP).

Sources within the PDP stated that the meeting between Atiku and Wike was held at the residence of a former Minister of Information and National Orientation, Professor Jerry Gana, signaling what observers believed to be reconciliatory moves to pacify the governor. Although the details of the meeting were still sketchy as of the time of this report, the PDP sources stated that the meeting between Atiku and Wike was held at the residence of a former Minister of Information and National Orientation.

It was reported by the source that Atiku and Wike had a meeting at the home of Jerry Gana on Thursday afternoon. From what I gathered, the meeting turned out to be really successful.

They engage in light conversation and come to the decision that they will go to the next stage of the reconciliation process.
When asked if it is safe to presume that Wike and Atiku have reached a settlement, the source responded by saying that "they have started the process; this started with a one-on-one interaction."

This will bring them to a particular level, at which point they will be able to solve all of the problems.

According to the source, the selection process for the Director-General of the Atiku Campaign Organization was also said to be something that was still being discussed.

When reached, Paul Ibe, who serves as Atiku's Media Adviser, denied to respond.

The Chief Whip of the Senate and former governor of Abia State, Orji Kalu, has endorsed a former Nigerian Ambassador to the United States, Prof George Obiozor, as the next Ohanaeze Ndigbo President General.

The Abia North Senator, in a statement by one of aides, Emeka Nwala, in Abuja on Sunday, also called on Ime Obi Ohanaeze Ndigbo, the organisation’s highest organ, to adopt Obiozor as its consensus candidate.

Kalu said he had made wide consultations with the Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige; and the Minister of Science and Technology, Dr Ogbonnaya Onu.

He also said he had consulted the governors of Enugu, Ebonyi, Anambra and Imo states.

The Chief Whip added that he had also spoken with a former Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu; a former Secretary to Government of the Federation, Pius Anyim; the Deputy Chief Whip of the House of Representatives, Nkeiru Onyejeocha; Senator Ben Obi; and other Igbo leaders in National Assembly, who he said, he pleaded with to support Obiozor

The statement read in part, “Ohanaeze is the authentic voice of the Igbo, which exists for the sole purpose of speaking for and representing the interest of Ndigbo since its inception in 1976.

“It is expected to be non-partisan. We need a leadership that can rightly define and defend the interests of the Ndigbo.  I have known Prof. George Obiozor for a long time and I am confident he will competently lead an active, mature, hardworking and viable Ohanaeze Ndigbo organisation.”

Meanwhile, The highest decision making organ in the Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Ime-Obi Ohanaeze Ndigbo, on Sunday urged the 40-member national election committee to conduct the January 11, 2021, election in strict observance with the constitution of the body.

THE Peoples Democratic Party caucus in the House of Representatives has called on Nigerians to compel their representatives in the National Assembly to immediately commence impeachment proceedings against the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), for “gross incompetence and persistent and continuous breach of Section 14(2) (b) of the 1999 Constitution.”

The section partly reads, “The security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government; …”

The caucus also called on members of the Federal Executive Council to invoke the provisions of Section 144 (1) of the Constitution by declaring that Buhari was incapable of discharging the functions of the office of President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Leader of the PDP caucus, Kingsley Chinda, in a statement in Abuja on Saturday, titled, ‘PDP caucus mourns, says Nigeria saddled with the circus’, said it was disheartening to the caucus that the President has failed to lead Nigerians from the front as he promised.

“Nigerians are daily and defencelessly killed by terrorists and bandits, while the economy is being freely bled by public officers,” he said.

Chinda, while reacting to the killing of 43 rice farmers in Zambarmari area of Borno State, said the reactions from the Presidency and the military to such killings “highlight a certain crassness and lame duck attitude that has for the past five years come to define the Buhari presidency.”

He said the greater worry for the country, however, was the “do-nothing posturing and the effeminate reactions of the Presidency and the military that follow the dastardly attacks.”

Chinda said, “The PDP caucus in the House of Representatives has observed with deep pain the dastardly attacks on poor farmers, which have continued unabated across the vast swathes of northern Nigeria, which act came to a sad climax over the weekend in Zabarmari, near Maiduguri, North-East Nigeria.”

Adikum, who quickly rose after announcing the results scored by various political parties and their candidates, simply said, “I hereby return the All Progressives Congress as the winner of the bye-election held in Imo North on Saturday, December 5.”

In announcing the results, the Returning Officer said that APC scored 36, 811 votes, while Emmanuel Okewulonu of the Peoples Democratic Party came second with 31, 903 votes.

According to Adikum, APC won in five out of the six Local Government Areas in the senatorial district while PDP won in one LGA.

While PDP won in Obowo LGA where its candidate hails from, the Returning Officer said that APC won in Okigwe, Onuimo, Isiala Mbano, Ehime Mbano, and Ihitte/ Uboma LGAs.

INEC’s failure to return any candidate as the winner of the election caused disquiet in the hall, as the supporters of the two persons, Ifeanyi Araraume and Frank Ibezim, laying claims to the APC ticket who were waiting to jubilate outside went home unannounced.

The INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner in Imo state, Prof Francis Ezeonu, told journalists that the electoral umpire was unable to return a particular candidate from APC as the winner of the election because of what he called several court orders for and against Araraume and Ibezim of the APC.

The Linknaija reports that an Abuja Federal High court had on Friday disqualified Ibezim from contesting the bye-election election.

The Independent Electoral Commission has declared the state Assembly bye-election conducted in Bakura constituency in Zamfara State on Saturday as inconclusive.

Similarly, two ad-hoc staff of the commission have been declared missing and their whereabouts were still unknown as of the time of filing this report.

Addressing journalists today, the returning Officer Professor Ibrahim Magawata, said, “the election results of five polling units in Bakura ward have been cancelled”.

The affected units, according to Professor Magawata, have a total number of 11,429 votes.

He however declared that, so far, the PDP candidate, Alhaji Ibrahim Tudu, has scored the total number of 18645 votes, while the APC candidate, Alhaji Bello Dankande Gamji scored 16464 votes.


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