Benue election: Buhari told to probe his Minister, Akume over alleged N2bn campaign funds
In a statement by its President, Ternenge Bendega, JYA claimed that the money was to be used in ensuring that the State Governor, Samuel Ortom lost the 2019 election.
The group also advocated for the prosecution of APC 2019 governorship candidate in the state, Emmanuel Jime for vote-buying.
The statement reads: “We call on President Muhammadu Buhari and the leadership of All Progressives Congress, APC, to order for the probe of the Minister of Special Duties and Inter-governmental Affairs, George Akume in his handling of the N2 billion campaign funds the APC sent to Benue State in its bid to remove Governor Samuel Ortom from office during the 2019 elections.
“At a time the country is passing through difficult times, we wonder from which sources APC was able to raise N2 billion to give to Akume, Emmanuel Jime, the governorship candidate and others for campaign to lavish. More curious is the manner Akume and co managed the funds.
“It is no longer news that the combined forces of APC which boasted about “federal might” crumbled like a pack of cards in Benue State. Governor Ortom and his PDP team were unanimously returned elected.
“On the eve of the governorship election, Senator Akume and others were seen sharing large sums of money ostensibly meant for vote buying but instead of sending the money to their agents, they pocketed it. The development angered some of their members who vowed to ensure the defeat of the party.
“You will recall that Jime was caught with raw cash on the day of the election. That money was part of the N2 billion campaign funds he and Akume diverted. He ran away but his aides were arrested.
“We also demand for the prosecution of Jime and those aides. Such a heinous electoral crime should not be allowed to go unpunished. Jime is also facing likely prosecution for diverting N14.3 billion of Nigeria Export Promoting Zones Authority, NEPZA funds to a private company. The Senate is investigating the fraud and we hope that justice will be served.
“Senator Akume has a record of public funds diversion. He is yet to account for the N2 billion he misappropriated towards the end of his second tenure as Governor in 2007. He used the money to campaign for the seat of Senate President but lost to Senator David Mark. The funds have yet to be accounted for more than 12 years down the lane.
“Akume is a liquor induced personality who has arrogated to himself powers of God. In 2007, while presenting his profile at the Senate chamber while contesting for the seat of Senate President, Akume contradicted himself by saying he became Governor in 1949 and 1979.
“Last year, we all watched with utmost shame and disappointment, the presentation of the Vice Chairman, Senate Committee on Army, Senator Abdullahi Danbaba who rightly blamed the committee’s non-performance on poor leadership by Senator George Akume who was chairman of the committee. That was the highest embarrassment Benue has ever suffered in the hands of any of its representatives at the National Assembly.
“For a man who governed Benue State for eight years and spent 12 years in the Senate, the indictment of Senator Akume by his Vice in the Senate Committee on Army was proof that the Senator no longer deserved to return to the red chamber. Benue people did the needful at the polls.
“In the Senate, Akume was often caught sleeping deeply during plenary sessions.
“Minister Akume’s widely known love for liquor and habitual drunkenness is another cause of worry to us his kinsmen. A man who begins to drink as early as 6am is not fit to sit in the highest decision making body of the country as he presently does in the Federal Executive Council.”
JYA insisted that Akume failed during his time as a Senator, stressing that he never moved a single motion on the floor of the Senate.
The statement said: “As a senator, Akume did not move a single motion or sponsored just one bill in 12 years. His “stewardship” in the red chamber was all about local politics of insisting that he must install a Governor for Benue when his colleagues were busy taking big decisions on the national stage. He has continued with such local mentality even now that he is a minister.”
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