By Malam Farouk U. Muhammed, mni
Recently, the High-Level Contact Committee, HLCC of Senator George Akume’s bid for APC National Chairman 2022 visited the Governor of Niger State, H. E. Abubakar Sani-Bello and the Emir of Minna HRH, Dr. Umar Farouq Bahago, CON.
At the first port of call, Government House Minna, the Team was very warmly received by Governor Sani-Bello. The HLCC Members were introduced by Team Leader, elder statesman and Distinguished Second Republic Senator, Chief Tiley Gyado. Thereafter, His Excellency introduced his top government officials, including the Speaker of the Niger State House of Assembly, the SSG, his Chief of Staff, Permanent Secretaries and others.
Senator Tiley Gyado conveyed to Governor Sani-Bello, the fraternal and warmest greetings from Senator George Akume. The Team Leader then proceeded to explain the essence of the visit, which was to sell an excellent product in the person of Senator George Akume, the key reasons why he is aspiring to the office of APC National Chairman, and to seek the Governor’s valuable support. He said Senator George Akume is “a detribalized Nigerian and has the calmness of character to stabilize the APC by listening to all sides of an issue and being fair to all concerned”. Continuing, the Team Leader said “Senator George Akume will deploy his astounding peace-making capabilities to solve the myriad problems bedeviling the Party and take it to higher levels”. He emphasized that “with Senator George Akume’s passion, extensive experience and absolute respect for the Constitution of Nigeria and that of the APC, the Party can confidently and positively look to the future”. He added that during Senator George Akume’s eight years as the elected Governor of Benue State, he served the State and its people meritoriously by constructing numerous infrastructural facilities and significantly expanding the educational institutions, among others. In conclusion, Senator Tilley Gyado said “with all these sterling qualities and much more, APC Party leaders and stakeholders need look no further but support Senator George Akume in February 2022 to become the next National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress.” He then thanked Governor Sani-Bello for very warmly receiving and interacting with the High-Level Contact Committee for Senator George Akume aspirant for APC National Chairmanship 2022.
Responding, Governor Sani-Bello again welcomed the Committee. He said in recent times, “I have not seen such a high-level delegation with former executive governors, former ministers, professors, former chairmen of federal agencies, Top veteran journalists and some captains of industry.” He then started by extolling the qualities and suitability of Senator George Akume for the position of APC National Chairman. Governor Sani-Bello said “Apart from being a perfect gentleman, Senator George Akume is a unifier who consistently promotes the peace, stability and progress of Nigeria.” The Governor said like other major political parties, APC has its fair share of serious issues that need to be rectified. He said “given Senator George Akume’s calmness, he is the experienced hand that APC urgently needs as National Chairman to bring calmness and stability, which are important factors, as we enter the general election year.” Governor Sani-Bello stressed that he appreciates Senator George Akume’s sterling qualities and extensive experiences “which he would bring to bear as National Chairman, having served the nation as two-term Governor of Benue State from 1999 to 2007; three-term (12 years) as Senator and currently Minister of Special Duties and Inter-Governmental Affairs.”
On a related matter, Governor Sani-Bello said the North-Central Geo-Political Zone has not been fairly treated by Nigeria. He said the Zone has contributed three Heads of State (Generals Yakubu Gowon, Ibrahim B. Babangida and Abdulsalami Abubakar) yet the Zone lacks important Federal Projects like, modern roads, the development of power generating projects and soon. Furthermore, the Governor said “in spite of the Zone’s huge potentials in agriculture and agro-allied industry, over the decades until recently during the Buhari Government, there have been no agro-allied industries in Benue and Niger States in particular and the North Central Zone in general.
On the matter of electing the next APC National Chairman, the Governor again extolled the overwhelming qualities of Senator George Akume, adding, “I will be very happy if the APC National Chairmanship comes to the North Central Zone.”
In conclusion, the Governor again thanked the Committee for the courtesy call and wished it well. He then requested the Committee to convey his positive remarks to “Distinguished Senator George Akume.”
The Committee then proceeded to the Palace of Emir of Minna, His Royal Highness, Alhaji Farouq Bahago, CON, and was warmly welcomed by the Emir. The Team Leader Senator Tilley Gyado addressed in fluent Hausa, the Emir and his “Hakimai” (District Heads). He thoroughly explained the reason for the visit whose main objective is to promote Senator George Akume as the most suitable aspirant for the position of APC National Chairman 2022.
The Emir appreciated the courtesy call and said he knows Senator George Akume “as a detribalized person who always has the interest and well being of his fellow Nigerians.” Emir Bahago emphasized that he knows and appreciates the many qualities of Senator George Akume, including the highly commendable development projects he did during his eight years as Executive Governor of Benue State. The Emir also praised Senator George Akume for “the many quality education infrastructure and modern road projects he executed in the state, as well as the significant contributions towards the development of Nigeria that he made during his 12 years in the Senate”. Saying that Senator George Akume is a top quality product any day, he wished him the very best in his quest to become the next APC National Chairman. He blessed the efforts of Senator George Akume and the Committee and wished the Members a safe trip back to Abuja.
Undoubtedly, the very encouraging courtesy visit to Governor Abubakar Sani-Bello and His Royal Highness the Emir of Minna, Alhaji Farouq Bahago, CON, gave a big bounce to Senator George Akume’s bid to become the next APC National Chairman 2022.
Members of the high level contact committee for George Akume APC Natiomal chairmanship 2022 include elder statesman Senator Tilley Gyado, Team who is Leader; veteran Journalist Chief Simon Shango (Chairman, High-Level Contact Committee), Former Edo State Governor, Senator and Law Professor Oserheimen Osunbor, Chief K. Oanduoaka : Former Minister of Justice and Attorney General Chief Barr Sam Ode, mni,
former Minister of State for Niger Delta & Governorship Aspirant, Benue State, and Dr. Stephen Tsav : Former Speaker, Benue State House of Assembly (Consultant.)
Others include Prof. Terhemba Shija, former NASS Member and ex Commissioner, Benue State. Barr Patricia Kupchi, Commissioner, National Population Commission, Chief Mrs Awuese Torhee : Woman Leader, APC Benue State, Hajiya Salamatu Uba Ahmed, APC Activist, Prof Bolaji B. Babatunde: UN Consultant, Nuclear & Environ Scientist, Technical
Consultant to Minister of Special Duties & Inter-Governmental Affairs and Chief Ray Murphy, Publisher/Founder Murphy Mastech/Murphy Academy of Arts, Science & Technology.
Also on the team were Alhaji Ibrahim Safiyanu, ‘Dan Iyan Keana, Nasarawa State (APC Chieftain & Private Sector Entrepreneur), Chief Akputu : Director Operations & Governorship Aspirant, Benue State, Malam Farouk U. Muhammed, mni, (Director Communications & Publicity; Former Editor, Daily Times and retired OPEC/OPEC Fund Senior Management official.