By James Ibechi
AVM Monday Morgan (rtd) the National Coordinator, Benue Rebirth Movement, BRM, a pressure group championing the agitation for powershift in the Food Basket of the Nation has vehemently condemned and rejected alleged deployment of state PDP machinary by Governor Samuel Ortom against the interest of the people of Zone C in the process leading to the governorship primary of the umbrella party in the state, ahead 2023 Benue guber poll.
AVM Morgan’s stout rebuttal was contained in a statement he personally signed, a copy of which was made availabe to jamesibechi.com in Makurdi on Monday.
Besides rejecting the adoption of Titus Uba by Governor Ortom whom he said is a father of all by the virtue of his leadership of the party and as Governor of all the zones including Zone C peopled by Idoma, AVM Morgan also viewed the Governor’s pronouncements partaining to Uba as Zone A and B’s adoption for governor as a deliberate attempt to foreclose the possibility and chances of a Zone C person becoming the state Governor next year.
Detail of BRM press release:
A PRESS STATEMENT BY BENUE REBIRTH MOVEMENT (BRM) ON GOVERNOR ORTOM’S PREMIUM TIMES INTERVIEW AND ADOPTION OF RT. HON. TITUS UBA AS TIV AREA CONSENSUS CANDIDATE
1. The attention of Benue Rebirth Movement (BRM) has been drawn to a widely publicised interview granted Premium Times by Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State as well as the purported selection of Rt. Hon. Titus Uba, Speaker of the Benue State House of Assembly as the PDP consensus candidate of the Tiv-Speaking area of the state.
2. In the interview, the Governor was reported to have said that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) cannot zone the position of state Governor to Zone C for the 2023 election. His reason is that, if PDP picks its Governorship flagbearer from zone C and the All Progressives Congress (APC) does not do the same, PDP would lose the Governorship election in the state since politics is a game of numbers.
3. Less than 24 hours after the publication of the interview, an expanded meeting of PDP’s caucus for the Tiv speaking area held at the New Banquet Hall of Benue People’s House, Makurdi, on Sunday, April 17, reportedly endorsed Rt. Titus Ubah, Speaker of the Benue State House of Assembly, as the preferred candidate from Vandeikya LGA where the same caucus had earlier zoned the governorship ticket to.
4. A statement issued by Bemgba Iortyom, State Publicity Secretary, PDP, Benue State, after the meeting quoted Governor Ortom as calling on all hands to remain on deck as more efforts would be required “to navigate the way through to an eventual consensus candidate for the party in the state.”
5. To say the least, we in BRM and Zone C were greatly shocked to read the statements credited to Governor Ortom in the interview. We view the Governor’s statement as a deliberate attempt to foreclose the possibility and chances of a Zone C person becoming the state Governor next year. We also consider the process of the purported selection of Rt. Hon. Uba as a ruse designed to frighten zone C into abandoning its Gubernatorial aspiratiion. It is like rubbing pepper in the 46-year-old ethnically motivated political wound inflicted on the people of zone C.
6. We consider it inappropriate for Governor Ortom who is the leader of PDP in Benue state and father to all to publicly take a definite position against Zone C and openly align himself with the aspiration of Zone A.
7. We reject completely the deployment of virtually the entire state PDP machinery by the Governor to the pursuit of a Tiv ethnic agenda. We reject the situation whereby well-established party structures would be replaced overnight with an illegal body known as the “caucus for the Tiv speaking area” for the purpose of picking the party’s candidate for election.
8. The Governor’s roles in (6) and (7) above are prejudicial and against the principles of equity, fairness and justice. This is inimical to the credibility and integrity of any process for the selection of the consensus Governorship candidate at the state level in which the Givernor is supposed to play a neutral, fatherly role.
9. Having followed closely the consensus process in the Tiv-Speaking area, we have observed how Zone B was eliminated in favour of Zone A because the former currently holds the Governorship position; four Tiv ruling houses were dropped in favour of Jechira; and how three Local Government Areas in Jechira were asked to give way to Vandeikya, all in a bid to ensure equity, fairness, justice and brotherhood. Since the position of Governor covers the entire state, why are similar considerations not applied to Zone C which has never occupied it before?
10. We totally disagree with the notion that giving the party’s gubernatorial ticket to Zone C would cost the party victory as if the Governorship election is a tribal war between the Tiv speaking people and the rest of the state in which every voter must vote for his tribesman. Lest we forget, Zone C aspirants, notably Chief Mike Okibe in 2007 and Chief Steven Lawani in 2015 nearly won their party’s Governorship tickets with a large chunk of votes from Tiv speaking delegates. If such feats could be achieved at a time there was no organized agitation for a Governor of Zone C extraction, it follows that with the level of sensitization carried out this time by the Benue Rebirth Movement (BRM), a Zone C Governorship contender could easily win the Governorship election of any party.
11. We want to draw the attention of ethnic champions in Tiv land to the fact that the ethinic agenda being pursued in PDP is at variance with the thinking, mood and aspirations of the ordinary Tiv man. With all the five Tiv ruling houses having tasted the seat of Governor, the average Tiv man is now willing and prepared to accept and vote a non-Tiv person, at least for a change. For this reason, giving the Governorship ticket of the PDP or APC to zone C is not an electoral gamble.
12. We want to make it very clear that we in BRM and Zone C refuse to be cowed or intimidated by the escalating affront on our rights and aspiratiion to take our rightful place in the Governance of Benue state, our state. We are resolute in our determination to pursue our noble cause of redressing the 46-year-old story of exclusion of zone C from the political centre stage in our state.
13. We are resolved to take advantage of the scheduled primay elections of the political parties to achieve our goal. We, therefore, challenge the PDP leaderhip in the state to provide a level playing field for free and fair primaries. We are confident that a zone C candidate, specifically, Engr. Benson Abounu, will win clean and square.
14. We call on the people of zone C and our teaming supporters to remain calm while we study the different ramifications of the evolving political developments in the Tiv-Speaking area and determine our reactions to them. This is not the time to give up or chicken out. It is the time to roll up our sleeves and brace up for more action. It is a time to be more united, committed and focused than ever before. We have never come closer to actualizing our governorship aspiratiion than now and we are not about to surrender for whatever reason.
15. We urge His Excellency, Engr. Benson Abounu, the PDP consensus candidate for Zone C and other Governorship aspirants from the zone not to be disillusioned but to remain strong. We assure you that BRM and other people of good conscience in the state are with you. We are confident that with hard work, commitment, determination and God on our side, victory will be ours.
Categories: James Ibechi