Alia’s tour of insults, failed promises

Benue State, Governor Hyacinth Alia

Alia’s tour of insults, failed promises

…A Misuse of Resources and Disregard for Governance

By Amos Uchiv

Governor Hyacinth Alia’s ongoing “thank you tour” across Benue State, under the guise of showing gratitude to the people, is nothing more than a premature campaign for a second term in 2027. This ill-timed and self-serving tour not only demonstrates a lack of respect for the democratic process but also a disregard for the responsibilities of governance.

A governor who is receiving unprecedented amounts of money as federal allocations following fuel subsidy removal has chosen to waste two good weeks crisscrossing the length and breadth of the state repeating the campaign promises that he made before the 2023 elections which he has failed to fulfill any.

Instead of using this opportunity to showcase his achievements over the past year, Governor Alia has focused on soliciting endorsements for his 2027 ambition. This not only undermines the mandate he was given by the people but also shows a blatant disregard for accountability and transparency in leadership.

Our group Defenders of Democracy (DoD) and other organizations have been challenging the Benue State Governor to tell the people what he has been doing with the huge allocations coming into the state since last year but we have not got a single response. We have challenged him to publish the account of his stewardship in the first year in office but he is mute on that too. He severely attacked the previous government for not disclosing the state wage bill and promised that he would make everyone know how every kobo belonging to the state is spent under him. But Alia has proven to be the direct opposite of all what he promised.

Insecurity: Gov Alia should stop insulting Benue People

Governor Alia’s state tour where we expected to hear his one year scorecard has sadly been dominated by insults and mudslinging against political opponents and other stakeholders in the state. Such behaviour is not only unbecoming of a leader but also sets a dangerous precedent for political discourse in the state.

The Governor’s tour should have been an opportunity to engage with the people, listen to their concerns, and address the pressing issues facing the state. Instead, it has become a platform for self-promotion and political maneuvering, at the expense of meaningful governance and development.

The resources and energy being expended on this premature campaign could have been better utilized in addressing the challenges facing Benue State, improving infrastructure, tackling insecurity, and promoting economic development.

Fulani herders are still attacking and killing people and displacing thousands from their ancestral lands across the state but that does not qualify to feature as an issue in any of Governor Alia’s speeches during the tour. In Kwande where many people have been killed by armed herders, the governor showed no empathy and sympathy, but rather chose to tell the people that a polytechnic that was to be located in Kwande was taken to Wannune.

But if anyone is to be questioned on fairness and equity, such a person is Governor Alia. He has taken nepotism to a ridiculous degree in the state. Under him, most key appointments in government – about 90% that he made in the first year in office are from his Kyan clan of Vandeikya local government. He runs the government like a parish and expects no one to be bothered.

Alia promised to return the internally displaced people who are in camps in parts of the state to their ancestral homes within his first 100 days in office but he has failed to do so after one year.

Alia promised to clear the arrears of salaries, pensions and gratuities, but has failed to do so despite receiving volumes of money from Abuja. He is the only governor in Nigeria who is yet to clear salary, pension and gratuity arrears. All other states have since cleared the backlog and are still constantly paying salaries.

It is imperative that Governor Alia refocuses his efforts on fulfilling his mandate, delivering on his promises to the people, and demonstrating effective leadership, rather than prematurely campaigning for a second term. The people of Benue State deserve a leader who prioritizes their needs and interests above personal ambitions and political gain.

Uchiv is the President, Defenders for Democracy (DoD).

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