AKUME: THE EGOCENTRIC PRINCE OF BENUE POLITICS

Senator George Akume, the present Secretary to the Government of the Federation, (SGF).

AKUME: THE EGOCENTRIC PRINCE OF BENUE POLITICS

By Godwin Anule

He cares only about himself and what benefits him. Since the creation of Benue State, no other politician from the state has been favoured like Senator George Akume, the present Secretary to the Government of the Federation, (SGF).

He came from the civil service background and was taken to the political limelight by former Senate President, Senator Dr. Iorchia Ayu who was Minister during the military era. Ayu made Akume his personal aide, a position that would become his launch pad and political baptism. Today, if there is anyone who Akume despises with venom, that person is Senator Ayu.

This is a man who has benefited from Benue State and has been shown love by the people of the state more than any other person since the return of democracy in 1999.

Akume was elected by the people as Governor for two terms; he later became a Senator representing Benue South West for 12 years and was Minster representing the state in the Federal Executive Council during Buhari’s reign for 4 years.

God has been so merciful to Akume that he helped him to have a hand in the emergence of three successive governors after him -Governor Gabriel Suswam, Governor Samuel Ortom and now His Excellency, Very Rev. Fr. Dr. Hyacinth Iornem Alia.

Akume ruled Benue State for eight years but does not want to see another Benue son serve two terms as governor.

He brought Gabriel Torwua Suswam but even before Suswam could finish his first tenure, he recruited Suswam’s kinsman, Professor Steve Ugba to replace him.

In 2015, he brought Ortom against the run of play. Ortom was not even a member of APC until the last day of the governorship primaries, yet, Akume imposed him on the party and handed him the ticket which he later won the election to become governor.

Less than three years into Ortom’s tenure, the Prince of Wannune started his antics again and Ortom left our party back to PDP. Many of us who had suffered to work for APC were left stranded until the election season came again in 2021/2022 ahead of the 2023 elections.

How the Yes Father Movement Saved Him

Akume was practically helpless until His Excellency, Very Rev. Fr. Dr. Hyacinth Iornem Alia decided to join our party and aspire for the gubernatorial ticket. Let me say here that without the massive popularity of Rev. Fr. Hyacinth Iormem Alia, it would have been difficult for us to win the election. Akume could not even go anywhere to campaign. But today, he boasts in Abuja that he is the one who made Fr Alia the Governor. How? A man who couldn’t even help himself in 2019 when PDP crushed our party in all the elections? He lost his own election woefully that same year.

The man Senator George Akume is a true or wan iyuhe (sadist). He is out to destroy all other Benue sons and remain the only lion in the forest.

It is not a secret that Governor Hyacinth Alia played a pivotal role in convincing President Bola Tinubu to appoint Senator Akume as Secretary to the Government of the Federation, but today, the name he hates the most is that of Governor Alia. The reason is simple. His Excellency Governor Alia has refused to open the accounts of the state for Akume to dip his fingers like he tried to do with all the previous governors. Any time you see him fighting a sitting governor of Benue State, know that the governor is refusing to compromise resources of the state and make them his private property. He has an unquenchable thirst for money.

The evidence of his unrestrained quest for more money came to the fore last week in Abuja when he raised a memo to the President requesting for N1.8 billion for a mere sitting of a committee on the National Minimum Wage. What does a committee require such a huge amount for?

Now that it is apparent that he won’t be vying for any elective position in future, Senator Akume has decided to amass wealth that can last generations. Investigation reveals that he has purchased the massive land meant for Zone 4 headquarters not far from his house in Judges Quarters in Makurdi. At the same time, his wife Regina, a serving member of the House of Representatives is building a giant plaza. In less than 2 months, Senator Akume’s house in Judges Quarters was reconstructed to look like a presidential residence with state of the art finishing, before his 70th birthday last December.

Why he is angry with Gov Alia

After failing to pressurize Governor Hyacinth Alia to appoint his relations as heads of juicy agencies in the state such as Benue Internal Revenue Services (BIRS), Benue State Independent Electoral Commission (BSIEC), State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), Water Board, State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB) and Social Investment programme, Akume’s current agenda is to remove the governor. He is doing everything to make the state ungovernable.

Our party at the national level has made it clear that where there is a sitting governor on the platform of the APC, the governor automatically becomes the leader of the party in the state. But Senator Akume’s vaulting ambition won’t allow him assimilate this fact. He sees himself as a mini god to whom everybody must bow! He is now struggling with His Excellency Governor Alia over party structures against the decision of the party at the federal level.

As some concerned groups have pointed out, the SGF is working so hard to usurp APC structures in the state and use resources from the state to expand to north-central including the use of blackmail against influential leaders in the region who may not want to back his ambitions.

Grooming Prof Utsev for 2027 Benue Guber Election

There are clear signs that the self-appointed godfather has anointed the Minister of Water Resources and Sanitation, Prof. Joseph Utsev who is his Jemgbagh kinsman and loyalist to replace Governor Alia in 2027. Akume is bent on truncating the zoning formula of the APC which has given governorship to Jechira for 8 years. He wants his loyalist Prof Utsev to take over from Governor Alia after 4 years, if his plan to impeach the governor before then does not succeed. Utsev is already building a palatial gubernatorial house at Judges Quarters, Makurdi.

This is proof that Akume does not want the progress and unity of Benue State. As SGF, we expected Senator Akume to support his younger brother, Governor Alia to tackle development challenges such as insecurity and the economy, but not seek to pull him down as he is doing. We have not heard him utter a word of support to the governor who is battling to resettle over one million internally displaced people (IDPs). Akume prefers to grandstand and pontificate in Abuja like an overlord.

Appeal to President Tinubu

Lastly, it is necessary to appeal to Mr President, Bola Ahmed Tinubu to call the SGF to order to allow Benue to be in peace. Our people are already traumatized as a result of the attacks on them by herders and they won’t cope with a political crisis which Senator Akume is pushing for. He should allow our Governor to work in peace and deliver the dividends of democracy as he is already doing.

But if the SGF is more interested in local politics in the state, the best thing is to resign and return home to be a local champion!

Anule is the Coordinator, Concerned Benue Sons.