EMULATE AKANGE AUDU – ABBA YARO REPLIES JIME’S THE BENUE APC, THE MISSING LINK AND OUR HOPE
My dear Rt. Hon Emmanuel Jime,
May I extend the highest regards and esteem of the All Progressives Congress, APC, family in Benue State to you, your family and political associates across the state and beyond.
Let me also acknowledge your contributions and efforts at making our party a formidable force in the state that it is today and register our appreciation for all these.
It is from the foregoing that I wish to inform that my attention had been drawn to the press statement which you issued after you addressed your expanded campaign team on Sunday, February 1st, 2015 and circulated widely on the social and other media platforms.
Before I make brief comments on some of the issues you raised let my express my excitement over your assurance that all your supporters, campaign structures and vehicles have been engaged to secure the election of our Presidential Candidate, General Muhammadu Buhari on February 14th this year.
The entire APC family in the state is happy that you are on the same page with us on this crucial and critical assignment.
We believe that our candidate’s victory on that date will generate a multiplier effect on the governorship and House of Assembly elections across the country hence our excitement at your pledge which we urge you to carry through.
We are also happy that although you are one of the aspirants who have taken us to court as a consequence of the nomination of our governorship candidate, Chief Dr Samuel Ortom, you have also been exploring alternative dispute resolution efforts hence your claim to have met some of our party leaders at the national level.
Let me also assure you that we remain open to dialogue on this and all other party matters.
However, I think some of your claims in the statement are preposterous and untenable.
How could you be leading in an election in which delegates from only four of the 23 local governments had cast ballots votes which had not been counted?
How tenable is it that the leadership of the party could resort to a court injunction which it neither instigated nor induced as a face saving measure as alleged?
It must be noted that up to this moment no claim has been made that the party’s leadership played any role in the series of court injunctions that stalled the primaries.
We must however, commend your frankness in admitting that over 100 hundred of the delegates for the primaries were away for the National Convention in Lagos. This number included the state leader and other leaders of the party as well as some other governorship aspirants. Could it have been fair to conduct the primaries in the absence of this caliber of people?
You may need to be reminded that it was in the absence of these critical stakeholders including three aspirants that you arranged with the army to give you cover to conduct the primaries and had to be stopped as your behavior smacked of desperation.
Furthermore, when you claim that you emerged the concensus governorship candidate of the party at a meeting of five aspirants with selected national leaders of the party in Abuja, does that make sense to you?
As a lawyer would you say that emergence conformed with the party’s constitution, guidelines and the provisions of the Electoral Law? If it did why was it not enforced?
It ought to have been clear to you that it required the consent of the candidate, his death, or court order, none of which was obtained, to secure a replacement at the time you claimed you emerged consensus candidate.
Incidentally, the National Chairman of the APC, Chief John Oyegun, who you claim was at the meeting presented the party’s governorship flag to Chief Dr Samuel Ortom at the Presidential rally in Makurdi.
This ought to have struck home the point that your so called emergence was null and void hence it was unenforceable.
You seem to be particularly irritated that Chief Dr Ortom came from another party and suddenly picked the nomination.
May I remind you that the APC is populated with those who came from other parties including you.
Moreover, the party took a deliberate step to accommodate people like the former Minister by amending its constitution to accommodate and also provide them with the platform to contest elections within 24 hours of their membership of the APC.
When it became impossible to conduct primaries on account of court injunctions and petitions of which you are acquainted the party resorted to its constitution and guidelines with regard to consensus candidate and chose Chief Dr Ortom in compliance with the provisions of the Electoral Law.
The Electoral Panel which conducted the exercise took their report to the appropriate quarters which accepted and forwarded his name to the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.
Moreover before Chief Oyegun would present the gubernatorial flag to Chief Dr Ortom in Makurdi he asked three times who the people wanted as their governorship candidate and there was unanimous acclamation that it was Ortom and he obliged.
If there was anyone who ought to have been vexed more than the others with the development it would have been Chief Akange Audu.
This man resigned his appointment as a permanent secretary with a lucrative portfolio and plunged headlong into the race in the defunct ACN and expended enormous resources before the others joined him in the latter days.
Yet he has accepted the party’s decision and has not only pledged support by turning over all his structures, vehicles and offices but is personally on the campaign train.
I would advise you to emulate Chief Audu’s spirit of sacrifice and sportsmanship as no one or group of persons can ever be greater than the party.
If you cannot do this why not allow the courts to adjudicate on a matter which you took before them? Why become judge in your matter?
Perhaps it might be necessary to inform you that since his entry Chief Dr Ortom has boosted the fortunes of the APC in the state by leaps and bounds as has been reflected in the massive defections from the PDP into the party during the rallies in the Benue North East and West senatorial districts.
This underscores his clout and value.
Comrade Abba Yaro,
APC Benue State Chairman.
THE BENUE APC, THE MISSING LINK AND OUR HOPE
(BEING BRIEFING BY RT. HON. EMMANUEL JIME, APC GOVERNORSHIP ASPIRANT DELIVERED TO HIS EXPANDED GUBERNATORIAL CAMPAIGN TEAM ON SUNDAY, 01 FEBRUARY, 2015 AT HIS CAMPAIGN OFFICE MAKURDI, BENUE STATE)
In two weeks time, the first round of the 2015 general elections shall be held. In that election, our voices will be heard, our choices shall be made. This is why I am here today to address the best campaign team I have ever had the privilege of working with: men and women whose commitment is second to none. I have benefited from your hard work. I see your loyalty. In my heart, i feel your trust. Truly, I have received your calls and messages and prayers all urging me to keep the path of honour. Even in our trying moments, our support has not depleted. Our faith has not waned. That, my friends, is the real change in this election.
When we toured all the 23 Local Governments with a message of hope for Benue communities seeking their support, we did so as democrats who believe that power belongs to the people. We told everyone, “Let Governance be about the people”. We re-energised our Party. We appealed to students, workers and pensioners as well as farmers, the unemployed and indeed everyone concerned in the Benue Project even as we reached out to the rural communities. We pointed to my record as a basis for which they should believe we would do the things we were promising them.
As a Campaign, we embraced tendencies nurturing, not altering, the ideals of true internal democracy.
But, as I address you today, let me briefly, chronicle our struggles from the primary elections we never had to where we are now.
On the 4th of December; 2014, our party, the APC, held her gubernatorial primaries in all States where elections are to hold in February this year.
Curiously, Benue State was exempted from this otherwise, national exercise. Reason: the leader of our party, Sen. Dr George Akume had sought and gotten approval from the APC National Chairman for the primary election in Benue State to be postponed to the 5th of December 2014. This postponement was ostensibly to allow for dialogue to arrive at a consensus candidate. No meeting was called to seek for this consensus candidate and consequently, by the next day, all aspirants and delegates had readied for the primary election.
On the morning of that Election Day (5th December 2014), we heard that the leader of our party Sen Dr George Akume had endorsed one of us running for the APC ticket, Chief Akange Audu as preferred candidate. This is within the rights of our leader and so, we did not begrudge him. We remained confident that we would secure the vote and secure our leader’s blessings.
The voting eventually began after accreditation of all delegates. When 4 local Governments had voted and my humble self in a very clear lead, the vote was brought to a stop citing an injunction earlier secured by one of the aspirants. This injunction was ignored by the party leadership when served earlier in the day but was shopped for at dead of night to halt the primary. We thanked the delegates who had come from all over Benue State. They journeyed back to their various places.
The injunction was finally vacated on the 10th of December, 2014.
In readiness for the vacation of the injunction, the national leadership of the Party, clearly not un-mindful of the national convention of the Party holding in Lagos on the 10th of December but also aware of the non-negotiable place of party primary in a multi aspirant contest, sent a team to Benue State to conduct a primary election. Out of about 4,000 Benue delegates to vote in the APC gubernatorial primary, only about a 100 of them were expected to participate in the national convention. Still, the primary election was once again postponed at the prompting of our leader, Sen. Dr. George Akume to the next day being 11th December; 2014 and which was the deadline set by INEC for all party primaries.
By the next day, delegates were asked to go to HAF Haven Hotel for the Guber primaries. HAF Haven is a hotel owned by the wife of our leader, Sen Dr. George Akume. These delegates who had been in Makurdi for days, made it to the venue where they waited until later in the evening when the management of the hotel eventually chased them out. The Benue APC Guber primaries did not hold.
The following day, we woke to the shocking news that all 5 of us the bona fide aspirants had stepped down in favour of a new aspirant and entrant whose aspiration we only knew existed on the PDP platform where he contested in that party’s primary on the 9th of December and had lost. The APC constitution is, however the degree of waivers to new members, very clear on how a consensus candidate should emerge. First, all other aspirants must willingly accept the emergence of one of them as the consensus candidate and accordingly indicate so. Without this condition, a primary election must hold!
Consequently, the 5 of us were immediately united against this malfeasance. We explored all internal mechanisms. We registered our grievances before all the National leaders of the Party. Not satisfied, myself, Chief JKN Waku, Chief Mike Iordye and Prof Steve Ugbah headed to the Federal High Court, Abuja.
Our persistence finally got to the National Leadership of the party and on the 11th of January, 2015, it called a meeting of all 5 bona fide gubernatorial aspirants to resolve the APC crisis in Benue State. The meeting ended with a signed resolution by all 5 aspirants that I was their consensus candidate! The meeting was conducted under the Chairmanship of the APC National Leader, Asiwaju. Ahmed Bola Tinubu with the following party officials and members also in attendance: Chief John Oyegun, APC, National Chairman; Chief Segun Oni, APC, National Vice-Chairman South West; Chief Hilliard Eta, APC National Vice-Chairman, South-South; Chief Bisi Akande, former Interim APC National Chairman; Chief Rauf Aregbesola, Executive Governor, Osun State; Dr Kayode Fayemi, Former Executive Governor, Ekiti State.
Still, we are in court. We have been in court since the 19th of December, 2014. We hold unto hope. We have prayed the court to right the wrongs done. Now that the strike action by the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria JUSUN has been called off, we foresee an early reversal of the injustice perpetrated against us. Much as I would have loved to elaborate on the matter, it would be prejudicing to the court of law. I can only assure you, we are in this together knowing that even if we do not fully recover our mandate, we would have changed our party for the better. Never again would delegates be treated as though they don’t matter. If we let this be, if we negotiate for less, we would be encouraging impunity. We would have emboldened others to do the same thing to our children tomorrow
I began today by reminding us of the election before us in just two weeks! I am here to announce and direct with immediate effect that, all of my campaign staff and structure, materials and vehicles in all the council wards and Local Governments of Benue State, be fully available to the Buhari Campaign Organisation to ensure the successful election of our party’s Presidential Candidate, General Muhammadu Buhari on the 14th of February 2015. I urge all of our support groups to take up this challenge and vote for a leader whose primary election shines as a beacon of hope for internal democracy; a leader whose intolerance for corruption, we all applaud.
It is heart breaking and unfortunate how our Party Leaders at the State level refused charity to reflect at home even after witnessing the credible presidential primaries of our Party – the APC.
Finally, I thank everyone for their kind support. I value your support, your faith and trust and I cannot therefore in good conscience sit and negotiate to fulfil personal and selfish gains when you too have refused to compromise on your support of our cause. You have sacrificed for me; I shall continue to sacrifice for you too. I shall not disappoint you. There is more pride in a good name than in a big office.
Thank you very much and God bless you.
Rt Hon Emmanuel Jime
APC Gubernatorial Aspirant, Benue State