The people of Atirkyese in Ushongo Local Government, Benue state have lamented maltreatment and political marginalization against them.
Atirkyese district is the home of prominent Nigerians including the late CJN, Justice Katsina Alu, former NAFDAC DG, Dr. Paul Orhii, former MD NEXIM Bank, Chief. Roberts Orya amongst others.
Alu’s kinsmen lamentation is stemmed from the backdrop that they have been once again shortchanged in the sharing of elective position, especially that of the Local Government Deputy Chairman in the forthcoming council polls.
In a letter of protest addressed to Governor Samuel Ortom and the state Chairman of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), titled “Complaint over the Replacement of Local Government Council Deputy Chairmanship Candidate from Atirkyese with a Candidate from Mbasember: Call for Justice and Fair Play”, the people traced the historical background on how offices were shared in the past and how in recent times, they have been sidelined and treated with “utmost disdain” with positions meant for them denied them and shifted to other section of the Local Government.
The people led by their leaders including Hon. Nyior Terfa, Ibugh Innocent, Elder Adue Ge and 47 others requested to know why after a resolution reached at Benue hotels Makurdi where all stakeholders in the Local Government unanimously agreed that they should produce the next Deputy Chairman for Ushongo LG and the name of Hon. Terungwa Moses Targema was submitted but later altered and a name from another section of the LG was discreetly submitted to the state secretariat of the PDP for onward forwarding to the Benue State Independent Electoral Commission (BSIEC).
From signatures appended in support of the protest, the protest letter is backed by leaders of 9 other council wards out of 11 wards in Ushongo.
The protest later said in part, “with due respect and humility, we shall appreciate it if this last decision taken based on misrepresentation of facts is reviewed /reverted and Atirkyese Zone made to occupy the slot of deputy chairmanship position…”
BSIEC has set ending of March 2020 for the conduct of Local Government elections.