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Arewa Elders disagree with Audu Ogbe over calls for SGF, Akume’s sack

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In what it described as totally unacceptable, a socio-political group in northern Nigeria, AREWA elders under the auspices of Arewa New Agenda, ANA, has condemned an act by a former Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbe, aimed at tainting the Secretary General of the Federation, SGF, Senator George Akume.

Chief Ogbe, a Benue Politician from the Idoma extraction who spoke in a recent press conference which he alongside other aggrieved stakeholders of the Idoma extraction allegedly organized, called for the sack of the SGF, blaming him for alleged marginalization of the Idoma ethnic group in Benue State in terms of ministerial appointment.

Chief Audu Ogbe

Chief Audu Ogbe during a press conference

Chief Ogbe and his group, alleged that the SGF was the mastermind behind President Tinubu’s selection of a Tiv man for ministerial appointment while he (Akume) was already in the president’s cabinet.

Senator George Akume

George Akume, Secretary General of the Federation.

Reacting, ANA through its Convener and Chairman, Sen. Ahmad Abubakar MoAllahyidi, condemned Chief Ogbeh’s actions while calling on the President to ignore such “mischievous calls.”

MoAllahyidi said: “We have observed with keen interest the development unfolding in the Nigerian political space relating to the arguments and agitation by different interest groups as the Tinubu administration positions to set governance machinery in motion in fulfilment of the mandate given to it by the Nigerian people in the 2023 general election.

“Of particular interest to ANA at this point in time is the utterances of our own very respected elder statesman Chief Audu Ogbe, calling for the sack of the secretary to the Government of the Federation, His Excellency, Senator George Akume.

“The respected Chief Ogbeh recently led some stakeholders of Idoma extraction to address a press conference where they expressed misgivings over the inclusion of a Tiv man, as the ministerial nominee from Benue State claiming that the action further marginalized the Idoma race in the scheme of things in Benue State.

“It would have been okay and taken as their democratic right to voice opinion and canvas for positions if Chief Ogbe and his co-agitators had stopped at that. But they went ahead to allege that the development is the handiwork of the SGF to spite the Idoma race and called for his sack. This is where ANA finds it strange, and wishes to intervene by setting the record straight to avoid sending the wrong message to the Nigerian people.

“The appointment of H.E. Sen Akume as SGF by president Bola Ahmed Tinubu in the early days of setting up the governance machinery of his administration received wide acceptance across the length and breadth of the country especially amongst the different strata of political and social circles as it provided the balancing needed for political stability after the keenly contested 2023 presidential election.

“Sen. Akume’s appointment is a northern appointment from the north central geopolitical zone and properly located among the northern Christian block for socio-political expediency. An appointment that holds so much for the stability of the Nigerian nation must not be reduced to a Benue State local political fight.

“Sen. George Akume represents northern Nigeria in President Bola Tinubu’s cabinet; more than that he is an essential political stabilizing rod maintaining balance in the Nigerian political equation.

“Arewa New Agenda is unhappy that Chief Ogbe’s stance on Akume’s appointment has exposed him to uncomplimentary comments by those who would otherwise not have had such opportunity. Those not qualified to join issues with him now take turns in berating him. ANA finds it regrettable for one of its own highly regarded in the north and indeed the whole nation to be exposed to such low comments.

“ANA by this press conference, calls on Chief Audu Ogbe and co-travellers to retract their tirade against the SGF, reign-in the young people now disparaging the SGF in the interest of northern peace and unity and by extension national cohesion.

“In view of the recent socio-political developments in Benue State that pitched different political blocks against one another which threatened to set the State backward, ANA charges the elders of Benue State to rise to the occasion and ensure that peace reign and the State continues to shine as the ‘food basket of the nation’.

“In conclusion, ANA calls on His Excellency President Ahmed Bola Tinubu to ignore these mischievous calls; remain steadfast and focused on leading Nigeria out of the woods through people-oriented policies that the Renewed Hope agenda promised the Nigerian voters.”

However, the group called on northerners to support the SGF to effectively discharge his functions as “the engine room of the Nigerian Government.”

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