***Insists his chances are bright
Former Senator Barnabas Gemade who represented Benue North at the red chamber has led a group of elders of the All Progressives Congress (APC) across the country to obtain national chairmanship nomination form for the Minister of Special Duties and Inter-governmental Affairs, Senator George Akume.
The APC elders include; National Publicity Secretary of the defunct National Party of Nigeria (NPN) Chief Simone Shango, a former Governor of Edo state, Prof. Oserheimen Osunbor, Publisher, Summit Newspapers, Chief Ray Murphy, Governorship aspirant, Chief Terlumun Akputu, and a former senator, Prof. Terhemba Shija, among others.
Akume has now joined five other aspirants who have paid N20 millions each for the national chairmanship nomination forms.
Others include: Senator Sani Musa, Malam Mustapha Saliu, Senator Tanko Al-Makura, Senator Abdullahi Adamu and former governor Abdulaziz Yari.
Speaking after obtaining the nomination form for Akume Wednesday at the national secretariat of APC, Senator Gemade said the former Bune governor’s chances of emerging the next APC national chairman was good.
Gemade described Akume as calm, focused and foresighted who will bring his extensive experience and competences to bear on the job, by thinking and acting outside the box in prioritizing the solving of APC’s problems.
Gemade who led other APC elders said: “On behalf of Minister of Special Duties and Inter-governmental Affairs, who is aspiring to be national chairman of the All Progressives Congress, this event is for us to come and pick the form for him so that he can fill to satisfy the conditions of the party for the contest of this position.
“We believe that what we have done today is a landmark event and we pray that the Convention goes smoothly and this party becomes stronger at the end of it and the best candidate which we believe will be Akume to win this position in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
When asked what the chances of Akume in the race was, the APC chieftain said: “His (Akume) chances are good. Now everyone of them if you ask them, they will tell you their chances are good. And we know that God knows the winner and we believe that His mercies are good for us and at the end of the day, we will be satisfied with whatever our God does for us.”
On whether the elders’ group will prefer a consensus arrangement to elect the next APC national chairman, Gemade said: “Whatever the party chooses. The party has the final say. If at the end of the day, the party is able to consummate a consensus exercise for this contest, we agree with it.
“However they decide there should be a balloting for this contest we will go with the balloting and whatever the outcome is we will accept.”
Akume was elected as Governor of Benue State for two consecutive terms (1999-2007). Thereafter, he served for three terms (12 ycars) as the Senator representing North-West Senatorial District (2007-2019) and was Chairman Senate Committee on Army and also Senate Minority Leader. Since 2019, he has been the Minister of Special Duties and Inter-Governmental Affairs.