By Donald Atule.
More revelations have emerged about the low turnout of people at the APC presidential rally on Thursday 26th January, 2023 in Makurdi, Benue State.
Bola Tinubu, the presidential candidate of APC had before the Makurdi rally sent N200 million to the leader (Lida) of the party in Benue State to facilitate the planning of the event. However, Lida saw that as an opportunity to corner the package for himself.
According reliable sources, Lida took N100 million from the campaign funds and later took an additional N5 million and said that the M5 million was for “bank charges”. The development caused protests among some courageous members of the central planning committee who threatened to pull out of the event planning and even report Lida to Asiwaju. Lida in turn threatened to suspend or even dismiss them from the APC.
On Wednesday evening which was the eve of the Makurdi rally, there was deep confusion among APC supporters in Benue state with some announcing the total postponement of the rally. But what none of Lida’s supporters could deny was that the diversion of N105 million by Lida had got to the ears of Asiwaju and the former Lagos Governor was very angry and was considering canceling the visit to Benue state.
Another shocking revelation from the APC rally in Makurdi was that the organizers had contacted some persons to dress and pretend to be pastors who had come out to receive Tinubu and Kashim Shetima. The idea behind the move was to create the impression that Christians in Benue State have no problems over the Muslim-Muslim ticket of APC. But the plan backfired. One of the ladies contacted to act as a pastor (name withheld) said she and the other selected “pastors” were offered N10,000 each for the “performance” but they turned down the offer saying they wouldn’t betray their Christian faith. Recall that APC did a similar thing in Abuja last year. Our sources said the planning committee voted N10 million for what was going to be just a cameo appearance by the “pastors” but only N10,000 was offered to each of them so that the rest of the money would be pocketed.
A significant aspect of the APC Makurdi rally was that the suspended priest Hyacinth Alia whose yahoo yahoo nomination was recently annulled by the Court of Appeal did not get any recognition from Asiwaju. Instead, the APC presidential candidate raise the hand of Chief Barnabas Gemade at the rally. Many observers concluded that Gemade is the preferred candidate and that move by Tinubu might just be the end of Alia’s governorship ambition. The former priest looked depressed throughout the event, only forcing a dry smile a few times.