By Ohini Ojegbe
It is clear that the task to nominate a credible, politically amenable candidate as APC Deputy Governorship candidate for the 2019 poll, in Benue State has been executed without a workable result. Hence the drag and the failure of the party to officially announce a name and to allow for conjectures to be published by a section of the press.
This is also reasons for diatribes among groups in the party. While this lasts, the clock is ticking and soon it will be election time. But recently, a letter purportvedly written by Idoma Elders and signed by Elder Noah McDickson sought to exonerate the group and by implications, Idoma Elders from the seeming stalemate.
In the letter, the Elders declared their neutrality in the exercise. They preferred to be seen as people who were fair in the task of nominating a Deputy Governorship candidate for 2019. They however, did not disclose how their neutrality was the best decision the party would profit from and coast to victory in the next year’s poll which is the primary reason for the choice of a candidate.
In what was a response to the Elders’ diatribe, a letter from the Benue APC leadership signed by the Director of Publicity, Apeh Peterhot, alluded to the party’ s commitment to victory and its desire to present a Deputy Governorship candidate that was popular and acceptable to all.
While a search for an acceptable candidate is important, it is much more important to consider the electoral value of such an individual. A candidate from a district or ward that has a voting advantage, inspires hope and attracts support from other parts of Zone C should be the emphasis of the party.
Zone C is made up of Nine Local Government Areas, many which have been marginalized over the years despite their electoral values. It does not make sense to pick a Deputy Governor from an area that has dominated politics in the zone since 1999 if the party is serious about winning the next years election.
A realistic search is therefore, by Local Government Areas, not the geopolitical tripod of old Okpokwu, old Oju and old Otukpo that the Elders may have used to arrive at the decision that has brought about the wasteful stalemate currently being experienced. The yardstick for which Local Government Area is eligible should be their voting strength so APC can also decide where to choose its DG nominee from.
To begin with, let the Deputy Governorship candidate come from Ado, the third largest voting population in Zone C APC can take advantage of to win the poll next year. It can also come from Agatu, Apa, Oju or Ohimini to address the imbalance. A word is enough for the wise.
Ohini Ojegbe is Chairman, Benue APC Patriots