By Nicholas Dechi
The Commissioner for Finance in Benue, Dr David Olofu, has said that the Idoma nation has a good chance of producing a governor for the North-Central state in 2023.
Olofu stated this while interacting with newsmen on Sunday in Makurdi.
The Idoma, with the second largest number of people in the state after the Tiv, have never produced a governor since the state was created out of the then Benue Plateau State in 1976.
The position has been an exclusive preserve of the Tiv group that constitutes the majority.
But the commissioner told newsmen that with the nomination of Mr Benson Abounu as Idoma’s consensus candidate in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the long time dream was appearing possible.
“The people are on the right track. We are getting it right.
“There has never been a time the Idoma people were as united and sincere in their agitation like this.
“Since 1999, this is the only time Idoma people unanimously produced one candidate for PDP primaries.
“There is hope for us as a people and I pray it eventually ends in praise,” Olofu said.
He described as unfounded and mischievous, the news making the rounds that he was working toward becoming the deputy governor as against the governorship aspiration of the Idoma people.
“Those behind the report are hallucinating as there is nothing to suggest such move.
“Those who are conversant with political party activities and electioneering process in Nigeria will agree with me that no one talks about deputy governorship of a state, except the governorship candidate emerges in the party after primaries.
“How can one be talking about deputy governorship when we are yet to know who will fly the flag of the party?
“Deputy governorship position is not like other positions that are contestable.
“It is usually zoned to a particular area and the stakeholders from that area meet to agree on an acceptable candidate that could also help the party win general elections.”
He advised his Idoma kinsmen to heed to the advice of Gov. Samuel Ortom by continuing to lobby the Tiv stakeholders for a possible understanding before the primaries.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that late Mr Aper Aku was Benue’s first civilian governor, while Rev Fr Moses Adasu governed the state when civilian givernance returned in 1991.
In 1999, George Akume was elected governor and was succeeded by Gabriel Suswam in 2007.
Current governor, Samuel Ortom, took over from Suswam in 2015 and would be expected to handover to a successor at the expiration of his two terms of four years each, in 2023.
The five governors all hailed from the Tiv nation. (NAN) (www.nannews.ng)
Edited by AbdulFatai Beki and Ephraims Sheyin