Gov Alia Silent After Receiving N50b Security Support From Tinubu

NV News


By Peter Awunah, PhD

I have observed the present Governor of Benue State, Hyacinth Alia for some time now and have come to the conclusion that he is ill prepared to govern. Most of the decisions the Governor has so far made are not products of careful planning and (KPI – Key Performance Indicator) projections.

Aside from the fact that Alia is running the state like a one man show, he appears to be jacklegged about administrative processes and is averse to advice and only listens to himself. The Governor apparently makes most of his decisions on the spur of the moment.

- Advertisement -

Worst of it all is that Governor Alia has not taken time to study a bit about governance of the state in terms of policies that have been implemented and the ones which may only require amendments and improvements. An example of this is his recent visits to Sokoto and Niger States.

While he was in Sokoto on the 9th of March, 2024, where the State Governor, Ahmed Aliyu launched the Sokoto State Community Guards Corps, Governor Alia’s remarks sounded like one who was hearing about such an initiative for the first time. He even said that Benue would learn from the Sokoto example and establish a similar security outfit. I was shocked and I asked someone who was watching the live programme with me “So the Benue Governor is not aware that his state launched Community Volunteer Guards two years ago and Sokoto is only copying the Benue programme?”

At the same event, Alia addressed the Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar as “my daddy” after the Sultan described Tiv people in derogatory terms as cattle thieves and turned to lavish praises on the Governor for defending Fulani interests in Benue State. Alia made no effort to correct the indictment on his people. But this is a governor who calls the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Senator George Akume, as “my son”. Senator Akume is 4 years older than the current Sultan, yet, Alia finds the spiritual leader of Nigeria’s Muslims as a daddy but has never addressed the Tor Tiv, HRM Professor James Ayatse who is an age-mate of the Sultan (67 years) as his father.

On the 11th of March, 2024 when President Bola Tinubu flagged off the Food Security and Agricultural Mechanisation Programme in Niger State with a fleet of about 1,000 tractors initiated by Governor Mohammed Bago, our Benue Governor was there looking like a man who was witnessing such a feat for the first time. He forgot that Benue launched a similar programme 4 years ago.

This is what you get when you elect someone who has no time for understanding a system and knowing what is already in existence and what requires consolidation or improvements.

- Advertisement -

Another aspect of Governor Alia’s style of leadership is covert and unilateral operations. The words transparency and accountability do not exist in the Governor’s vocabulary. Only he knows what the government is doing. He is mum on what the state is receiving from Abuja in terms of monthly allocations, despite the oil subsidy removal windfall. He is equally silent on the internal revenue of the state, as well as the state wage bill. No one knows what he is doing with resources of the state. As far as he pays workers salaries, he tells the people not to bother asking further questions.

Alia awards contacts by himself and pays also by himself. There is no due process in advertising and bidding for contracts. He chooses which contractor he wants and signs the papers by himself. This is why contracts such as the 16 short streets of merely 15 kilometers being constructed within Makurdi are heavily inflated (N9 billion) well above the standard rates of contract awards.

Another worrisome issue is that Governor Alia has literally become the spokesman for Fulani pastoralists. He absolves them of blame and defends them against accusations better than they defend themselves. Nomadic Fulani do no wrong in the eyes of Hyacinth Alia. He says the herders only react when their cattle are rustled and he also says his people are the cattle rustlers. Each time Alia accuses his people of stealing Fulani cattle, he receives a pat on the back from the Caliphate. Make no mistake about it.

When the pressure mounted on him by Benue people to stop the herders attacks became unbearable, Alia tamely declared a 14-day ultimatum for the herdsmen to leave the state with their cattle. And on the day the ultimatum elapsed and he was expected to move against the pastoralists, he stayed away and asked his Deputy Samuel Ode to speak on his behalf. As expected, no action has been taken since the 14-days deadline expired and Fulani herders are still attacking, killing and sacking communities across the state.

It has been rumoured in some quarters here in Abuja that shortly after he declared the 14-day ultimatum for Fulani herders to leave Benue State, the Caliphate summoned the governor to Sokoto and pulled his ear not to actualize the deadline. That is why there has been grave silence since the period elapsed. This had confirmed the earlier reports that Fulani elites had gathered large sums of money running into hundreds of millions for his campaign. He reportedly met with wealthy Fulani elites including some northern governors and struck a deal with them to fund his campaign. Pictures of him with former Kaduna governor Nasir el-Rufai, Governor Bello Masari of Katsina among others surfaced giving credence to the speculation that the Fulani were the ones sponsoring him to become governor. Alia’s part of the deal was to protect Fulani interests in the state, if elected. He has thus far not disappointed them.

It was reported that President Tinubu recently released N50 billion to each state facing serious security challenges to enable the state governments tackle the crises, but as it is his characteristic conduct, Governor Alia has not even bothered to mention ever receiving such a large amount of money.

Benue people should ask Governor Alia where the N50 billion from the federal government has gone. Why is he mute over such a big issue and billions of funds meant for the safety of our people?

Alia is apparently serving the interests of Fulani and he is determined to help them become integrated into Benue State where they can own land and freely rear their cattle. Forget his belated pronouncements that the anti-open grazing law is in force. He will never enforce that law because doing so will be violating the deal he had with the Fulani oligarchy and his chances for a 2nd term will be in jeopardy.

Lastly, I am worried about the number of political battles that Governor Alia has waged. He acts like someone who was elected to be the Chairman of All Progressives Congress, APC. He is more interested in controlling the party than his constitutional duties as governor. It is one week, one battle; another week, another barrage of insults on political opponents. If he is not throwing jabs at the SGF Senator Akume, he is insulting Akume’s loyalists as “empty heads and envious people who do not care about the interest of the people.”

He tells the people that he is the first and the only person who has ever loved and cared about them.

Governor Hyacinth Alia has surely missed the point!

(Dr. Awunah writes from Durumi, Abuja).

Share This Article
Leave a comment