Dr. Iorchia Ayu, two time minister, former senate president and
foundation member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), is certainly
not a new comer in Benue and national politics at large but all may
not be as it appears for this seemingly larger than life politician in
his present political party, the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN).
Ayu, a unionist turned politician is inarguably one of the pillars of
the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN),formerly known as Action Congress
(AC) in Nigeria and definitely in Benue State. A party formed by
dissidents of the former Alliance for Democracy led by Sen. Ahmed
Tinubu and a bunch of Abubakar Atiku loyalist led by Iorchia Ayu as a
child of necessity to fight then President Olusegun Obasanjo and the
PDP out of power, Ayu has been in the centre of opposition politics
from this period onwards; playing an exceptional role in northern
sectional agitations.
Prior to this times, Ayu it was who claimed to have brought to
political limelight, Senate minority leader, Sen. George Akume, with
whom they had built a long standing relationship which many feared
could never sever. He was many times accused of being the pillar
behind Akume’s media celebrated battles against Sen. Barnabas Gemade,
when the former held sway at Benue government House.
Upon the disagreement and subsequent fallout between Obasanjo and
Atiku, the former chairman, Academic Staff Union of Universities
(ASUU), followed his benefactor to the cradling AC to actualize their
dream of returning to Aso Rock, a sojourn Akume refused to embark as
he remained in the PDP; thus the two love birds parted ways though
many believe this difference was only idealogical and interest based
as they were believed to have been in close contact as proven in
subsequent years.
Like the case of tea and sugar, when the rumblings in the PDP were
about to swallow Akume he quickly jumped into the AC now metamorphosed
into ACN to join Ayu, to actualize his dream of returning to the
Senate as well as unseating his erstwhile political bedmate Gov.
Gabriel Suswam with whom he has had a running battle typical of the
Akume/Gemade battle of yesteryears.
With the advent of Akume into the ACN the once docile, the party
became a colossal assemblage of political heavy weights with a mass
exodus from the PDP and All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP), to form a
strong opposition bloc in the state. The party ran a tsunami styled
campaign sweeping through the state with gusto and frenzy never felt
before in an opposition assembled in that kind of hurry.
In the inaugural phase of the battle to unseat Suswam and PDP this
assemblage paraded members of the former AC, chiefly amongst whom were
Sen. Iorchia Ayu and Sen. David Iornem also prominent were the
disgruntled elements from other political parties led by the former
governor, Sen. George Akume, Sen. Akaagerger, Alh. Usman Mai Shanu and
a host of others.
This enormous assemblage had various representations in the personae
as the recruitment cut across politicians with grassroot orientation,
tacticians and money bags alike, in ready to unseat a government- a
task renowned to be onerous.
This new opposition bloc gave the PDP a good fight while the campaigns
lasted and even at the general elections the ACN proved their mettle
as they won National and State Assembly seats, a first in Benue’s
political history. To this feat, many political watchers predicted
that the party would go a long way unlike the usual opposition
presence in the state in previous political dispensations especially
with the ongoing legal tussle between the ACN governorship candidate,
Prof. Steve Ugbah and Gov. Gabriel Suswam over the soul of the Food
Basket Government House.
But unfortunately this hope is beginning to become but a flicker of
hope as the party is now torn between itself in the light of presumed
undemocratic practices that were seemingly perpetrated before the
elections and the tussle for the soul of the party in the state.
atiterkula findings have proven that the ACN in Benue state is
going through turbulence at the moment as two principal players in the
party have decided to be at logger heads for who becomes the leader of
the party. A battle between long time friends for becomes the
principal of the party, with their respective lieutenants already at
the battle fronts swords drawn ready for the kill.
This battle according to findings is between the loyalists of the
former Senate President, Dr. Iorchia Ayu and the Senate Minority
Leader, Sen. George Akume, to hand over the leadership of the party to
their benefactors. Reasons advanced for this battle are unclear but
causalities are already recorded on both sides.
Just last month two Local Government Party Chairmen in the ACN of the
North-East Senatorial District, precisely, Gboko and Buruku Local
Governments, lost their seats in reaction to where their loyalties
fell – a bid to unsettle their camp which has been reliably been said
to be that of Ayu.
Giving credence to this buzz is a recent interview by an Akume
loyalist and core member of the ACN, Hon. Simon Abua, who dared anyone
who felt they were a match for his benefactor to come out and
challenge him. He further boasted of their proving it will the analogy
of the removal and subsequent expulsion from the party of loyalists of
their opposition whom they claimed have been planted by the PDP. He
even went further to deny the membership of certain members of the
party some who are even contesting the election of some elected
officers under the party’s platform amongst which is Hon. Sekav
Iortyom Vs Hon. Orker Jev for the Buruku Federal constituency at the
Supreme Court.
The ACN in Benue is thus far conspicuously divided into two distinct
groups which have vowed to stop at nothing to overshadow one another.
The group which is in antagonism of the former ACN buck stopper, Dr.
Ayu, has accused him of anti party activities. According to the Akume
camp, Iorchia Ayu has been going around members of the PDP who they
claim have paid him to destabilize the ACN, to buttress their point
they have pointed to the current rumblings in the arty in Buruku Local
government where there are two court cases concerning the National and
State Assembly seats won by the ACN. They alleged that the appellants,
Hon. Iortyom and Mrs. Ngunan Adingi are cohorts of Ayu who he has
sponsored as part of his destabilization plot. They have even gone
further to deny the party membership of Hon. Iortyom, whom they claim
did not even contest the party primaries.
Another primary reason advanced by the group is the fact that the
former senate president has not properly made his position on the
candidature of the ACN governorship candidate, Prof. Steve Ugbah. They
have alleged that since after the elections Iorchia Ayu has abandoned
them and gone back to recluse leaving them to fight their battles
alone. The Akume camp are afraid that perchance Ugbah scales at the
supreme court, Ayu might be part of those to enjoy the goodies which
they claim he has never taken part in the struggle.
Also widely propagated is the hyped insinuation that the two time
minister is tight fisted. Ayu has been variously named to be self
centered when it comes to financially involving projects, they have
claimed that throughout the project of trying to unseat Suswam, he did
not commit his resources just as they claim his presence was only felt
at the premier presentation of Ugbah and Ribadu’s campaign rally where
there was some money to be shared.
The faction believes without the aid of Sen. Akume, the ACN would not
have attained the status it has so far attained in the state. It is
believed that the party generously benefitted from Akume’s expansive
financial war chest.
More so, there is the accusation that Iorchia Ayu is a political bat
of some sort. This is because they claim when many were migrating from
the PDP to the ACN, Ayu had secretly sneaked into the Government House
in Makurdi where he was issued a PDP membership card by Suswam, a
position they maintain he is yet to renounce.

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