A youth group, the Benue Youth for Peace and Unity, has accused the secretary to the government of the Federation, Senator George Akume, of favouring his Jemgbagh bloc in appointments.
The group made the allegation yesterday during a press conference held at the White House Hotel in Makurdi, the state capital.
President of the group Charles Mah cited such appointments as the minister of water resources and sanitation, the chief medical director of the federal medical centre MAKURDI, and the rector of the federal polytechnic Anune, amongst others, as coming from the same bloc of Jemgbagh with the SGF.
Mah also requested the Tiv Paramount Ruler, the state Chairman of the APC, and opinion leaders to call Akume to order.
The media space in the state has recently been whitewashed with press and counter-press briefings (for and against the SGF) following some federal appointments so far made to the state.
The press statement is reproduced below;
PRESS RELEASE BY BENUE YOUTH FOR PEACE AND UNITY REGARDING THE NEED FOR A CHANGE IN AKUME’S NEPOTISM
Ladies and Gentlemen,
We, the Benue Youth for Peace and Unity, having carefully observed with concern the recent political upheaval that has enveloped the Benue Political landscape since the appointment of Senator George Akume as the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) and the various Press releases (Press release by Idoma Elders, Zone A People’s Assembly, ZAPA, Tiv Youth Council Worldwide, Tiv Youth Arise) feel compelled to lend our voices as stakeholders who bear the consequences of the choices made by our leader, truth must be told.
As you are well aware, Senator George Akume, CON, was appointed as SGF by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, GCFR, to support the administration in effectively managing the nation’s affairs.
It is important to note that Akume’s appointment was made possible due to the significant efforts of the Benue people (Zones A,B and C), who rallied together to remove the PDP administration from power in the state and voted overwhelmingly for Bola Ahmed Tinubu as the President. This pivotal action led to Akume gaining the favor and support of influential figures, ultimately propelling him to the esteemed position of SGF.
Regrettably, since assuming the role of SGF, Senator Akume has displayed a narrow focus in the distribution of political resources, particularly favoring his immediate locality of Jemgbagh.
This has been evident in his influence over key appointments and positions, such as securing the exclusive zoning of the speaker of the Benue State House of Assembly to Jemgbagh, appointing Prof Joseph Utsev as a minister, and installing his close relative, Dr. Dajoh, as the acting rector of Federal Polytechnic Wannune.
Adding to these concerns, Akume’s selection of Prof Kortor, another individual from Jemgbagh, as the Chief Medical Director of Federal Medical Centre Makurdi, over other qualified candidates from different regions, has further raised alarms.
Our astonishment grows as Akume continues to concentrate his efforts solely on advancing the interests of Jemgbagh, neglecting the broader Benue community. Despite benefiting from the support of Senator Gemade, Late Senator Waku, and others in his political ascent, Akume distanced himself from his initial allies, instead aligning closely with individuals from Jemgbagh to share in the spoils of power.
In 2007, Akume even forcefully secured the Zone B senatorial seat and the position of Speaker of the Benue State House of Assembly to Jemgbagh denying other intermediate areas within the Zone B their fair share in the administration.
Notably, Akume has engaged in conflicts with successive governors following his tenure and is currently undermining the administration of His Excellency Rev. Fr. Hyacinth Iormem Alia.
Our concern arises from the fact that, in the wake of the 2023 elections, the overwhelming support for the APC extended all over Benue State.
Thus, it is disheartening that Akume’s actions disproportionately favor his own Jemgbagh people alone. At the moment Jemgbagh which comprises of Gboko, Buruku and Tarka Local Governments occupy the following appointments at the federal and state levels:
Secretary to the Government of the Federation
Minister of Water Resources and Sanitation
INEC Resident Commissioner Plateau State
Acting Rector Federal Polytechnic, Wannune
Medical Director, Federal Medical Centre, Makurdi
Speaker, Benue State House of Assembly
Three (3) Commissioners in Benue State Executive Council
Among several others not mentioned, disregarding the contributions of individuals from other intermediate areas and senatorial districts.
Disturbingly, there are rumors that Akume is actively working to displace notable Benue figures like Emmanuel Jime, the Executive Secretary of the Shippers Council, and replace him with a candidate from Jemgbagh.
The cumulative effect of these actions raises questions about Akume’s motivations and his potential to destabilize the peace unity and progress of The State and intermediate areas, particularly under the administration of Rev. Fr. Hyacinth Alia.
Just yesterday, at the Benue Hotels, Tiv Youth Arise a loyal group to Akume dragged the name of the Executive Governor His Excellency Rev. Fr Hyacinth Alia into a publication by Zone A Patriotic Agenda ZAPA, Wherein they accused him and even directed the Governor to call ZAPA to order to imply that, the governor was behind ZAPA but unfortunately the Tiv Youth Arise could not explain to Tiv Nation and Benue State at large why since the appointment of Akume as SGF only his Jemgbagh people are appointed into positions.
The Question Begging for answers is how can His Excellency Rev. Fr. Hyacinth Iormem Alia mobilize the state resources to celebrate SGF, Minister and other appointees from Jemgbagh only? We at this point appeal to the governor to think deep and possibly reconsider his earlier stand on the reception because not only Jemgbagh is Benue State and Benue people are not happy with Akume and his Jemgbagh people.
Furthermore, we condemn the use of derogatory language and insults by Akume’s lieutenants, such as Crucial Abua Yaji, against former and current Benue State Governors, including Gabriel Suswam, Samuel Ortom, and Rev. Fr. Hyacinth Iormem Alia. Such actions are unacceptable and deeply troubling to all peace-loving Benue people.
Finally, we appeal to the Tor Tiv, State Chairman of APC and other political and opinion leaders to call Akume to order before things get out of control