ENUGU, Nigeria (VOICE OF NAIJA)- The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Benue has accused Governor Hyacinth Alia of negating the federal character principle in his appointments.
The opposition party, in a statement by its publicity secretary, Bemgba Iortyom, specifically accused the Governor of appointing “mostly persons from his Kunav clan”.
“Only this morning, the Governor announced the appointment of another Kunav man, Mr Raymond Asemakaha, as Managing Director of Benue Investment and Property Company (BIPC).
“The appointment of Asemakaha at BIPC adds to the growing list of Kunav sons heading crucial outfits.
“Among these outfits are the Benue Internal Revenue Service, State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) and the Bureau of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs.
“Another Kunav son is heading the State House of Assembly Committee on Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs.
“PDP finds this development unacceptable as it blatantly negates the principle of federal character as enshrined in the constitution.
“The federal character principle emphasises inclusivity of all component parts of the state in the holding and wielding of power and influence vested in such sensitive positions as listed above.
“The PDP is mindful of the need for merit as a basis for making appointments into sensitive positions and is aware that Benue is endowed with an abundance of competent persons from all groups.
“The tendency to choose mostly persons from his Kunav clan for appointment into powerful public offices certainly does not promote unity, harmony and public partnership.”
The PDP urged Mr. Alia to borrow a leaf from the wisdom deployed under previous administrations when there was never such a concentration of power and influence in just one, out of the numerous clans in Benue.
Reacting to the allegation, the state government said that no part of federal character regulation insists on the number of initial appointments in a government that must be shared “equally”.
“Governor Alia is exactly five months in office today. He is yet to exhaust appointments into Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) and political offices,” Tersoo Kula, the chief press secretary to the Governor, said.
He said that there are enough offices to go round.
“As far as appointments so far are concerned, no part of the state has been marginalised.
“Though Alia is in the saddle to cleanse the squalor Benue became, and is not out to follow the regrettable steps of the last administration, PDP should be the last to venture into any criticism of any policy of government including the issue of “federal character”.
“Where people are development-inclined, the query would have been whether the persons appointed so far are qualified or possess the right skills, or are meeting up with their assigned responsibilities, or whether their antecedents are in question.
“But these claims coming from PDP, we are not surprised. A group who ran a system where merit was murdered and sacrificed on the altar of mediocrity and anything goes sure cannot do better outside power.
“Alia is focused. No amount of distraction can make him waver,” Mr. Kula said.