The political cinematography in Benue State as being displayed by the Governor of Benue State, Samuel Ortom and Senator George Akume is a clear show of how selfish Nigerian politicians are. Political actors that always seek relevance are beginning to pick up their alignment and realignment tools profiling who they will support instead of looking for a solution to the feud between the two elephants for the benefit of the people. Crisis is not exclusively limited to politics. There is hardly any facet of life that is crisis free. This means that crisis is inevitable in every human society. Even though crises are undesirable, the ability of societies to stand firm, resist them and forge ahead in the face of such crises is critical for the development of such society. But in Nigeria, crisis is celebrated because it serves as an Automated Teller Machine, ATM that generates money and fame for politicians. That is why whenever there is a crisis, politicians throw tantrum and display shameful utterances that escalate the crisis for what they will gain. Their lives and everything they stand for is about self- ‘me, myself and I’.
The political elites are the major problem in this country and because they are the most influential and prestigious strata in our society, they shape the values and attitudes held by most of their subjects. They have the money and power and feel that whatever decision they take, nobody questions them.
As we enjoy the political ‘shakle shakle’ playing in Benue presently, one would begin to ask, how can Ortom and Akume who were recently rubbing shoulders are falling apart lately? Beyond the saying that there is no permanent friend or enemy in politics, light is needed to be beamed into this fallout. In a state where workers are being owed for more than ten 10 months, these politicians are busy exchanging brown envelope at the expense of the state, cleaning their mouths and hiding their malevolence in the name of being in the same political party. These are the elites who presented the ruling All Progressives Congress to Benue people with the message of Change. These are also the leaders of the APC who have been lecturing us on the dangers of corruption. Again, these are the same hallelujah boys of Muhamudu Buhari with ‘only God knows’ integrity. Now, the narrative has changed. It’s all about who stole what, to the point that they threatened to expose one another for massive looting of tax payers’ money. Shame! Maybe the ‘Oga at the top’ will pay lip service into this, even as he continues to sing anti corruption chorus. This is one of the indexes of the failure of the anti-graft war.
As 2019 draws near, political realignment is envisioned as Governor Samuel Ortom’s fate of clinching the All Progressives Congress, APC ticket is in doubt. Ortom is not seeking re-election just because two-terms is a culture in Nigeria, but it is his constitutional right to seek re-election. But the question now is under which political party will he be contesting? Now that Sen. Akume who has the federal might is filing another candidate to flag off the party flag comes 2019 in the state. Politicians in Nigeria defect from one political party to another mostly for selfish end, unlike other nations where politicians defect to another party for ideological and genuine ideational reasons. Governor Ortom’s case becomes very critical at this point since the All Progressicve Party, APC has given him red card and the People’s Democratic Party, PDP already has a driver for its vehicle. One thing you cannot take away from governor Ortom is the fact that he is highly democratic and he listens to his people.
Two things come to mind as governor Ortom passes through this ordeal. First, the governor’s critical stand on the way the Federal Government handled the headsmen crisis in Benue state. Prior to the massive killings in Benue State by the herdsmen, the Benue people were all prepared, waiting for 2019 to vote the governor out of the government house due to his inability to pay workers’ salaries. You can hardly hear anybody in Benue State speaking good about the governor just like it is with most of the states in Nigeria, but the smart governor changed all of that when he stood with his people during their trying moments without compromise. Irrespective of party affiliation, he was calling a spade a spade. He was celebrated, seen as a defender of his people and forgiven of all his sins. Now that the governor enjoys the support of his people, forces behind the scene are crippling in. The same tool that the governor used to win back his people’s love and support is hurting him badly, because some of his party members see his stand over the herdsmen issue in Benue State as a threat to President Muhammadu Buhari’s hard earned integrity. Secondly, the anti-grazing law which received heavy criticisms from the Presidency also posed a serious challenge for the governor. This is a bill that the entire people of Benue State, except the hypocrites, celebrated. The dust raised by Akum has successfully pulled the governor out of the party, but not out of the minds of the good people of Benue State.
As the feud continues, the Benue people will continue to watch how and where it will end, but in order for the governor not to be politically useless and irrelevant, it is pertinent he, at this point, looks beyond APC and PDP if he must be re-elected in 2019 since he has people’s sympathy.
God bless Benue State
God bless Nigeria