Benue Guber: In spite of Court Judgment, SDP remains United, Focused 

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By ROGERS EDOR OCHELA

 

Indeed, fears are rife that the judgment of the Federal High Court, Makurdi, the Benue State capital, declaring Hingah Biem the winner of the gubernatorial primaries of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) held on October 1st 2018, would cause monumental disaffection within the party, a development that could make it lose steam ahead of the March 2nd 2019 gubernatorial election. But nothing can be further from the truth.

 

However, political pundits and the party’s apparatchiks in the state are upbeat that the judgment has finally doused the air of apprehension that has been hovering over it like a Sword of Damocles for the period the court case lasted. As a matter of fact, a high preponderance of party members in the state is on the same page that with the judgment, the coast is now clear for the party to face the election squarely as one united family.

 

It has been often been said that nerves frayed in a political shouting match are usually soothed when the light of compromise overtakes the darkness of intransigence. It is in this light that all the members and supporters of the Social Democratic Party in Benue State should view this epochal judgment, which is targeted at calming all frayed nerves in the party occasioned by this court case.

 

Another fundamental issue that resonates from this court ruling is that besides affirming the rights of individuals to seek redress in the court of law when their fundamental rights are abridged, it equally a ringing condemnation of the mindless impunity that reigns supreme in virtually all political parties in Nigeria, a clear indication of lack of internal democracy in them.

For thousands of supporters of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) in Benue State, the restoration of the mandate of this retired Permanent Secretary, Bureau of Internal Affairs and Special Services, Benue State, Mr. Hingah Biem, to run as the party’s governorship candidate for 2019 general elections is a welcome development.

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Apart from finally laying to rest the huge acrimony and nerve-wracking tension that attended the conduct of the primary election of the party, this current development, if managed properly, is capable of ensuring that the party causes a major upset in the forthcoming polls.

 

Already, both the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the All Progressive Congress (APC) in the State are tainted and discredited for reasons ranging from poor performance, detachment from the grassroots, wanton corruption and lack of fidelity to issues germane to the interest of the generality of the people just to mention a few.

Another reason why this legal development will not cause any serious dislocation or upset in the SDP is the fact that it did not affect the party’s deputy gubernatorial candidate in the person of Dr Dickson Akoh, whose name is already with INEC. All that is necessary for the party to do now is for its leadership to forward the name of Mr. Hingah Biem to INEC as a replacement for that of Dr Stephen Hwande.

 

For members of the party, the task ahead is indeed daunting. And as such, they must be reminded that human progress never rolls in on wheels of inevitability; it comes through the tireless efforts of men willing to be co-workers with God, and without this hardwork, time itself becomes an ally of the forces of stagnation. Now is the time for them to make real their promise of working to salvage Benue State from the clutches of degradation and misrule; the time to salvage democracy from the vice grip of anti-democratic elements masquerading as our leaders; a time to transform our pending elegy into a creative psalm of brotherhood. Now is the time to lift the State from the quicksand of injustice to the solid rock of human dignity.

 

The leaders and members of the Party must rise up in unison to face this election squarely with every sense of responsibility with a view to confronting the overwhelming sense of skepticism and pessimism that is sweeping through the land. Some are already preaching the illogical gospel that the common enemy of the people cannot be defeated and that those who are currently taking the entire state through grinding poverty and acute underdevelopment are so formidable that their victory in the forthcoming election is a foregone conclusion. That line of reasoning is simply defeatist in nature. There is no iota of truth in that kind of thinking. After all, the incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari defeated a sitting President in 2015.

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If SDP’s current mass appeal in the state is combined with aggressive campaign and mobilization of the people, the gubernatorial trophy is there for the party to pick. The art of mobilization, it must be emphasized, lies in understanding the emotional disposition of the masses and finding, through a psychologically devised means, the best way to mould their minds and win their hearts.

 

It is quite unfortunate that as we keep vigil on the doorsteps of history, our vigil songs sound like dirges; a fast rising population, decline in agricultural activities, dependence on mono-economic pursuits; lack of serious socio-economic goals and focus, fiscal indiscipline of the highest order, intense corruption, a bloated and highly inefficient bureaucracy, an army of irredeemable malcontents and unemployed youths, collapse in virtually all sectors of the economy, insecurity of life and limbs, fraud, fatalism, cynicism and despondency.

 

On the flip side of all these is an indolent ruling class which has garnered the State’s resources, squandered some, frittered incredible sums into private accounts and constituted itself into a tiny islands of privilege floating around lagoons of poverty. Unfortunately, this is the condition of Benue State today, which every right thinking son and daughter of the State must be prepared to change come March 2. And since PDP the ruling in the State has demonstrated an unprecedented sense of inertia and proven that it is bereft of ideas urgently needed to save Benue State and the APC whacked silly by arrogance and perfidy of some its local tyrants, the SDP stands on an impregnable ground to bail the state out of this logjam.

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Thank God, Biem, the party’s gubernatorial candidate played a key role in the aborted third Republic during the administration of late Rev. Father Moses Adasu, the second civilian governor of Benue state from 1992 to 1993 on the platform of the defunct SDP! Recall that the administration performed excellently well during its 18 months tenure. Rev. Fr. Moses Adasu with the support of elements like Hingah Biem, was able to carry out landmark projects such as the establishment of Benue State University, Makurdi, College of Education Oju, JS Tarka Foundation and relocated College of Education Katsina-Ala to its permanent site among others.

 

For a State buffeted by poor governance and an unabated sleaze by power obsessed politicians who are privileged to preside over its affairs, it has become necessary to ensure the emergence of good leaders that can turn the desires and yearnings of the people into concrete reality. Methinks Hingah Biem and Dickson Akoh symbolizes this kind of leadership that the people of the State are yearning for.

 

No doubt, with Biem’s “The Benue Rescue Project as a handmaiden, he and Akoh can put smiles on the faces of our long-suffering people, restore the fading glories of the state and rediscover the abandoned pathways to socio-economic development created by the first and second civilian governors of Benue State. It will engender an era of prosperity where our people, irrespective of tongue or party affiliation, will find accommodation and fulfillment. Let the people of the State vote right and wisely as they can longer afford to mortgage the future and destinies of their children.

 

Ochela, a Media Consultant resides in Abuja




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