By Ikechukwu Okaforadi
Arewa New Agenda (ANA), a group of northern based politicians, diplomats, technocrats and scholars, at the weekend chided former Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Audu Ogbe, for leading Idoma elders to demand sack of the present Secretary to Government of Federation (SGF), George Akume over alleged marginalisation of Idoma tribe in President Ahmed Tínubu’s ministerial appointments.
Briefing journàlists yesterday in Abuja, the National Convener of ANA, Ahmed Abubakar MoAllahyidi, said Akume’s appointment as the SGF is for the North, and also to maintain political stability in the country between muslims and christians in the north and not for the interest of Benue or Idoma people as perceived by Ogbeh.
To this end, he said demands for the sack of the SGF by Ogbeh are unnecessary distractions, especially now that President Bola Ahmed Tínubu is struggling to set the ship of governance in motion, adding that stability and peace is least both the government and the country desire presently.
MoAllahyidi, who said Arewa New Agenda is seriously concerned over the drums of war and derogatory remarks by young people of Idoma extraction in Benue against the incumbent SGF, warned that office of the SGF, being the engine room of governance in Nigeria, should not be attacked with unnecessary vicious sentiments of local Benue politics.
ANA said “Sen. Akume’s appointment is a northern appointment from the north central geopolitical zone and properly located among the northern Christian block for socio-political expediency. An appointment that holds so much for the stability of the Nigerian nation must not be reduced to a Benue State local political fight.
“Sen. George Akume represents northern Nigeria in President Bola Tinubu’s cabinet; more than that he is an essential political stabilizing rod maintaining balance in the Nigerian political equation.
“Arewa New Agenda is unhappy that Chief Ogbe’s stance on Akume’s appointment has exposed him to uncomplimentary comments by those who would otherwise not have had such opportunity. Those not qualified to join issues with him now take turns in berating him. ANA finds it regrettable for one of its own highly regarded in the north and indeed the whole nation to be exposed to such low comments.”
Calling out Chief Ogbeh for championing what he said was an ignoble course, sen. MoAllahyidi said “Of particular interest to ANA at this point in time is the utterances of our own very respected elder statesman Chief Audu Ogbe, calling for the sack of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, His Excellency, Senator George Akume.
“The respected Chief Ogbeh recently led some stakeholders of Idoma extraction to address a press conference where they expressed misgivings over the inclusion of a Tiv man, as the ministerial nominee from Benue State claiming that the action further marginalized the Idoma race in the scheme of things in Benue State.
“It would have been okay and taken as their democratic right to voice opinion and canvas for positions if Chief Ogbe and his co-agitators had stopped at that. But they went ahead to allege that the development is the handiwork of the SGF to spite the Idoma race and called for his sack. This is where ANA finds it strange, and wishes to intervene by setting the record straight to avoid sending the wrong message to the Nigerian people.
“The appointment of H.E. Sen Akume as SGF by president Bola Ahmed Tinubu in the early days of setting up the governance machinery of his administration received wide acceptance across the length and breadth of the country especially amongst the different strata of political and social circles as it provided the balancing needed for political stability after the keenly contested 2023 presidential election.”
The ex lawmaker said ANA’s agenda is for the peace, unity and progress of Nigeria, especially after the mandate given to the present government by the Nigerian people in the 2023 general election.