By Egbe Attah
A two-time chairman of Otukpo Local Government and chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief Godwin Ukpoju, has advised Benue citizens to continue to have faith in the Governor Hyacinth Alia’s regime, saying he will not disappoint them.
Chief Ukpoju, who gave the assurance last Monday in a chat with The Voice in Otukpo, Benue State, said the damage done to the state by the previous administration was colossal and would take the current government long time to heal.
“I believe Father Hyacinth Alia will keep all the promises made during his campaign.
“Although, we know that politicians hardly keep promises made during campaigns, but, the current governor of Benue, being a man of God will be different.
“So, all our people have to do is to be patient, in case he is not able to transform the state overnight which definitely will not, as he is not a magician.
“During his inauguration, he told us that we’re in new Benue, that the old ways of doing things are gone,” Chief Ukpoju recounted.
The elder statesman praised the emergence of the APC in Benue State and at the federal level, adding that he was not surprised at the outcome of the general elections as his party worked for it.
On the suspension of Benue council chairmen by the Alia-led government and the ongoing probe, Chief Ukpoju said the move is appropriate, stressing that those of them found clean would be restored at the end of the exercise.
“The governor is magnanimous enough that it was only suspension, in some other places, it would have been outright sack, yet, they (chairmen) are grumbling”, he said.
On the nature of partisan politics played in this era, the former state chairman of the defunct All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) decried it in totality, saying it has become politics of exclusion, adding that anyone who wins election on a political platform keeps the dividends to himself alone, to the exclusion of other members of the party.
He noted that this was a deviation from their good old days in which victory for a political candidate was victory for all members of the party. “What we had then was politics of inclusion,” he averred.
Chief Ukpoju observed that his election as Otukpo Council Chairman was his glorious political era, pointing out that among four of them that contested the election during the zero party politics and at the time of the United Nigeria Congress Party (UNCP), only him was returned as elected.
On challenges during the time he held sway as council chairman, the former council boss noted that there was not much money in politics, explaining that sometimes they would get zero allocation from the federal account but he ensured he was not owing his staff and also executed some viable projects.
The Elder statesman also called on Nigerians to be patient with the federal government and endure the current economic hardship occasioned by fuel subsidy removal, saying there would be light at the end of the tunnel.
He called on state governments to make judicious use of the money given to them as palliative to cushion the suffering of the masses.