WHERE IS GOV HYACINTH ALIA?
By Mson Fachir
Where is the Governor of Benue State, Hyacinth Alia when the state is currently witnessing a depressing and traumatizing period in its history? Insecurity is at its highest height in the state. No day passes without reports of attacks, kidnappings and other crimes.
Fulani herdsmen are on the rampage. Women and children have been taken away from their families. Many are still missing.
We recall vividly that before the 2023 elections, Miyetti Allah and other Fulani groups adopted Alia as their governorship candidate in Benue State and said they were supporting him because he had an agreement with them to loosen up security and allow their people to return to the state, if he won the election. The Fulani groups also said Alia had promised to carve large parcels of land in each local government area of the state to give them for open grazing. We listened to that but thought it was only a wicked rumour. Today, with what is happening in Benue State and with the silence and withdrawal of governor Alia who has done everything to also suppress media coverage of the attacks and killing of Benue people by herdsmen, we can no longer doubt what the Fulanis said before the election.!
Despite all these dreadful happenings, Governor Alia is nowhere to be seen. The last time Alia made a public appearance in the state was two weeks ago during a thanksgiving Mass in honour of the member, North-East Development Commission, Stephen Tsav at a catholic church in Daudu, Guma local government area.
Governor Alia has not been sighted at any public event in the state since then. He has been represented at all state events between that time and now. But the governor has not told Benue people if he is on holiday or he has abandoned the state.
Where is Governor Alia when Benue State is bleeding?
Last Saturday 29th October, 2023, a respected elder in the state and former Council Chairman of Ukum local government, Washima Erukaa who was kidnapped for some weeks was confirmed killed by his adductors.
Last week, heavily armed men stormed Otukpo, the headquarters of the Zone C part of Benue State and attacked four banks killing some innocent people. Governor Alia was no where to be found.
When helpless women from the camps of internally displaced people marched to the Makurdi-Abuja expressway protesting against attacks on them by herders and their abandonment by the state government, Alia did not even bother to send a message of assurance to them. He ordered security men who went and dispersed the poor women.
The other day, one of his media aides accused Benue people of killing themselves and exonerated Fulani herders. It is unfortunate and sad that a man who rode to power with tens of fake promises has not been able to fulfill even one of the promises and is rather accusing the people of his state, many of whom are languishing in IDP camps.
Since coming to power, Governor Alia has not bothered to visit any of the IDP camps on his own. The only time he was in one of the camps was when a United Nations delegation was in the state and asked him to take them to see the displaced people.
There are senseless killings ongoing in the state with the governor maintaining shocking silence either to please the Fulanis who were alleged to be the main sponsors of his governorship campaigns or to appease the Sankera bandits that gave him N15 million for campaigns before the elections from the money they dubiously make collecting ransom on their kidnapped victims.
Recall that Governor Alia had during the campaigns, openly said he was working with the bandits and criminals in the Sankera axis of the state and they would never strike unless they hear from him. Reliable information said that the criminals gave him the 15 million naira to support his ambition with a deal for political patronage when he assumed power.
But the governor reportedly reneged on his promises to the bandits and that is what is responsible for the current rising insecurity in the area.
It is however, not surprising that Governor Alia is not in anyway committed to facing headlong, the security situation in the state. His refusal to appoint a Special Adviser on Security after nearly 6 months in office and gross silence in the face of the mayhem being visited on the people by Fulani herdsmen is confirmation that he is not prepared for leadership.
The Benue State House of Assembly gave Gov Alia an ultimatum to compulsorily appoint a Special Adviser on Security but he ignored the ultimatum and has not even bothered to respond to the lame duck Assembly.
Even the Internally Displaced Persons, IDPs who were hoodwinked into voting Governor Alia due to a phantom promise to resettle them back to their ancestral homes have lost faith in the man they expected much from.
Where is Governor Hyacinth Alia? If he has discovered that the job of Governor is beyond his capacity, let him come out and say so and resign immediately. Running away without informing the people is a constitutional breach!