The Benue State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) remains embroiled in internal conflict, with no resolution in sight. At the heart of the controversy is a purported rift between the party’s state leader, George Akume, Secretary to the Government of the Federation, and Hyacinth Alia, leading to a significant split among party members.
Austin Agada, the state party chairman, known for his allegiance to Akume and vocal criticism of the state governor, finds himself at the center of the storm. This loyalty has seen the majority of the executive committee standing by Akume, though a minority has sided with Alia, indicating a clear division within the party’s ranks.
The tension escalated following a complaint lodged by Dan Onjeh, the APC senatorial candidate for Benue South in the 2023 elections, accusing Agada of sabotaging party efforts. This led to Agada’s temporary suspension by a lower party official, a move that was quickly overruled by the APC’s national leadership, calling for a hold on any action until further review.
In a surprising twist, Benjamin Omakolo, the State Welfare Secretary, was briefly named the acting chairman, only to be suspended by the party’s disciplinary committee in Apa LGA on charges of misappropriation and insubordination. Amidst these developments, it has been revealed that the governor has thrown his support behind Omakolo, working to overturn his suspension and replace Agada.
A State High Court in Makurdi has further complicated matters by barring Agada from assuming the role of party chairman, a decision that stands in opposition to the National Working Committee’s endorsement of Agada as the rightful chairman.
This series of events underscores a profound crisis within the APC in Benue State, with allegations of underground maneuvers and external pressures seeking to reshape the party’s leadership structure. The conflict has reached a point where even the physical safety of involved parties is at risk, as evidenced by an attack on Agada at the party secretariat.
Party insiders express deep concerns over these developments, highlighting the potential ramifications for the party’s cohesion and effectiveness. While some blame Agada for the predicament, citing disrespect towards the governor, others lament the impact of these internal struggles on the party’s unity and electoral prospects.