The crisis in the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Benue State may have assumed a dangerous escalation with the setting ablaze in the early hours of this morning of the residence of a chieftain of the party, Alhaji Usman Abubakar aka Young Alhaji in Otukpo.
The residence a palatial mansion is situated in the posh reserved area of the town and only recently a condolence register and coffin were placed in its front as a protest over what a section of the party considers as impunity and mismanagement of its affairs by Minister of Special Duties and Inter-Governmental Affairs, Senator George Akume.
Young Alhaji is also known to have gone in the company of Deputy Governorship Candidate of the PDP, John Ngbede, to meet with Governor Samuel Ortom, a move said to have hurt Akume and his section of the Benue APC deeply.
As at the time of filing this report, the forward section of the mansion housing the security post and ancillary buildings were ablaze with people seen battling to put out the inferno.
The condolence register and casket placed in front of the mansion warning of the death of APC were also not spared as they were seen burning.
Young Alhaji, a former Deputy Governorship Candidate of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) together with top leaders of the APC in Benue South (Zone C’) have been stoutly resisting what they have severally decried as impunity and mismanagement of the party’s affairs by Senator Akume.
Those leaders include former Senate President, Chief Ameh Ebutte, former Agriculture Minister, Chief Audu Ogbe, Retired General Lawrence Onoja and a host or others.
Only recently matters came to a head when Akume unilaterally picked former Minister of State for Niger Delta Affairs, Barr. Sam Ode, as Deputy Governorship Candidate of the party, a move rejected by Young Alhaji and the Zone ‘C’ APC leaders with him as impunity taken too far.
The arson attack on Young Alhaji’s Otukpo mansion could signal a dangerous escalation of the crisis in Benue APC which is already deeply embattled by controversial Governorship, National and State Assembly primaries which has seen the party enmeshed in over 53 court cases which are still counting.
By Kasper Mueter