Ex-Senate president urges respect for zoning of Benue seat

Former Senate President and Chairman of the Congress for Equality and Change Chief Ameh Ebute has condemned “attempts” by some Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) members in Benue State to scuttle the single-tenure zoning of the House of Representatives seat in Okpokwu, Ado, Ogbadibo Federal Constituency.
Ebute, who is the first Senate president of Idoma origin, said the seat for 2015 was zoned to Ado in 2010 at a caucus meeting of the three local governments in the constituency at Okpokwu Hall in Okpoga.
He said the people believed zoning and a single tenure arrangement would prevent rancour in the constituency.
Ebute said he was initially opposed to the single term formula but, as a democrat, he succumbed to the people’s will.
He said Minister of Interior Abba Moro and Benue PDP Chairman Agbo Emmanuel “convened a stage -managed meeting” in Okpoga on Sunday and announced that the party elders had changed the single-term arrangement to enable Ogbadibo Local Government go for a second term and that the decision should not be challenged.
Ebute, who chairs the National Open University (NOU), said such decision was never taken. He challenged Moro and Agbo to name those at the meeting where the so-called decision was taken.
He said when he rose up to speak last Sunday, Moro and Agbo prevented him and he walked out of the hall.
Ebute said: “The Deputy Governor, Chief Steve Lawani, is my political boy. The minister was my legislative aide in the second republic for two years shortly after his National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) and I supported him to be Okpokwu chairman. What they did to me was an act of disobedience that will haunt them in future.”
He said he would prove to Moro and Agbo, who he dubbed “political hawks”, that he has not expired politically.
Ebute said: “In the first place, the party chairman, the deputy governor, the minister and even the state chapter of the party have no power, no jurisdiction to zone the House of Representatives seat to any zone. If it must be done at all, the zoning has to be by the federal secretariat of the PDP.”
He described last Sunday’s outing as “undemocratic, a shame and a show of arrogance by people who have abused their offices and feel they could use their ill-gotten wealth to manipulate people”.
Ebute urged the people to stand by the old agreement, adding that Ado would produce the constituency’s representative next year.

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