By James Shim & Nancy Adanu
Internal bickerings over who emerges running mate to the All Progressives Congress (APC) gubernatorial candidate in Benue State, Rev. Fr Hyacinth Alia have heightened in the Benue South Senatorial District.
The zone has been given the opportunity to produce Fr Alia’s running mate for the 2023 elections but the efforts to arrive at a consensus candidate has rather polarized the party.
Presently, there are groups fronting different candidates with threats of abandoning the party to lose elections if their preference is not considered.
The APC guber candidate, however, in an effort to fulfill conditions set by the Independent National Electoral Commission, (INEC), had fielded a place holder, Isaac Vembeh, pending the opportunity that will be availed during the substitution window.
Adding to the bickerings, a group known as APC Professionals Forum in the Benue South Senatorial District (otherwise known as Benue Zone C), have presented Nelson Alapa, a former Member of the House of Representatives for Otukpo/Ohimini Federal Constituency as the choice of Zone C as Alia’s running mate.
Making the presentation in Otukpo, Monday while addressing newsmen, the forum said Alapa as a former Deputy Chief Whip of the Green Chambers, to serve as running mate to Fr Alia would be most appropriate.
Leaders of the APC professionals, Dr Clement Emoche and Barr John Ebije, Coordinator and Secretary respectively, said the choice of Alapa came after careful consideration of his liberal, and steadfast faith in the APC.
According to them, Alapa has sweeping acceptability across the zone.
“You will remember that in our first release, we urged the party to look at a candidate with the requisite spread that will land our party victory in the 2023 guber polls across Zone C, if we must take back the state from the PDP and push the state back from the brinks of precipice.
“There is no doubt that none of the aspirants, other than Nelson Alapa meets this very important qualification. Apart from being from Otukpo LGA, a council with the highest voting population in Zone C, Alapa’s mother hails from the Igede axis in the state.
“The former federal lawmaker speaks fluent Igede language, which is a powerful tool in political campaigns. His wife is also from Ogbadibo LGA, a very critical area of Zone C where the PDP hitherto commanded a thick block.
“From this you can see that Alapa’s tentacles are spread across Zone C and is a potent tool that our party must exploit to be able to defeat the PDP in the Zone,” Dr Emoche stated.
The forum called for the speedy resolve of the crisis rocking the party in the zone, and urged relevant stakeholders to close ranks in the overall interest of the party in the zone.
They, however, pledged their full commitment to helping the party galvanize campaign strategies that will lead the party to victory in the zone, assuring that nomination of Alapa as the deputy guber candidate will boost the party’s chances in the polls.
It could be recalled that leadership of the APC, in Benue South, had taken decision on the running mate of the party’s governorship candidate.
Led by the former Minister of Agriculture, Audu Ogbe, the leadership narrowed down its decision to three persons.
The nominees included former Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Barr Sam Ode, Dr Isaac Egboja and Benjamin Abuh Omakolo.
Their selection was arrived at, following series of meetings and consultations, with a charge for the three to decide among themselves and present one person for the deputy governorship job.
However, the another APC elders group among other interests groups have come up with counter claims and different choices for Alia’s running mate.