The New Benue Development Agenda (NBDA) has raised concerns over Governor Hyacinth Alia’s first six months in office, labelling it the most challenging period for the state since the return of democracy in 1999.
Governor Alia, according to the NBDA, faces accusations of being ill-prepared for governance and lacking a clear blueprint for the state’s development.
The group, in a statement signed by its President, Dr. Tersoo Hwande, expressed disappointment at the government, asserting that the priest-turned-politician has become the most lacklustre governor in the state’s history.
The NBDA’s evaluation of Alia’s administration led to the conclusion that he has fallen short of expectations. Rather than fulfilling campaign promises, the governor has allegedly chosen to engage in unnecessary conflicts with critics, stakeholders, and even members of his party.
Hwande highlighted concerns about the governor’s perceived arrogance, ineptitude, pride, and all-knowing attitude, asserting that these qualities have set Benue State back by over two decades, resulting in increased hunger and hardship.
The NBDA expressed regret over the absence of tangible projects, citing failed promises, lopsided appointments, and marginalization as the only visible outcomes of Alia’s leadership.
Advocating for citizen engagement, the group called on Governor Alia to prioritize discussions with citizens and stakeholders, possibly through town hall meetings.
The NBDA urged the governor to set aside his purported over-inflated ego and acknowledge mistakes in appointments, contract awards, and general conduct.
The statement released by the group reflected the initial optimism surrounding Governor Alia’s election. “Governor Alia’s election was seen as a sigh of relief. Being a Catholic priest, he was likened to the Biblical Moses who will take us to the Promised Land,” it read.
“We all campaigned for him. We mobilized our members from Lagos and other parts of the country to return home in support of the YesFather movement. However, six months later, we are ashamed of the same man. As critical stakeholders, we are compelled to make this public statement as our numerous private messages to His Excellency have fallen on deaf ears.”
The NBDA initially hoped that Governor Alia was on a steep learning curve, anticipating that the ship of the state would be righted. However, the group now asserts that Alia is not ready to learn or accept his mistakes.
“Alia has become so power-drunk that he is now inaccessible to the electorate, stakeholders, and even his party members. Shame! Effective governance is about feedback and criticism. No one knows it all.”
The group also criticized Alia for handpicking advisers and commissioners in a lopsided manner, leading to resignations within three months of their inauguration.