By Emmanuel Antswen/Gboko
Prof. Bem Angwe, former Executive Secretary(ES), National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), on Saturday joined the All Progressives Congress (APC) with his supporters in Benue State.
Angwe is the latest among Benue heavyweights to join the APC.
Among the high profile defectors in the past month were Sen. Barnabas Gemade and Mr Herman Hembe, a member of the House of Representatives representing Konshisha/Vandeikya federal constituency.
On Saturday, more people also switched to the APC.
They include Rev Aernyi, former Special Adviser to the Governor , A.A Iortyom, former Governor’s Liaison Officer for Buruku Local Government and Mrs Helen Ikpambese, former Caretaker Committee Chairman in Kwande Local Government.
The former Supervisory Councillor in Gboko Local Government who also Served as Senior Special Assistant to the Governor Samuel Ortom on Revenue and Terfa Iorgirim, were among the defectors.
Angwe, who was appointed by former President Goodluck Jonathan as the NHRC boss, has not been a card carrying member of any political party.
He was picked from the academia where he was a teacher of law at the University of Jos by the Jonathan administration.
Angwe was officially welcomed into the APC at an elaborate ceremony at Tse-Kucha, outskirts of Gboko, in Gboko Local Government Area of the state.
He said APC was the only political party in the country whose manifesto and motto appealed to him.
“The opportunity of participating in the political process of this state and country is appealing and I have looked at the motto and manifesto of all the political parties in the country and only the APC’s appeals to me.
“Their motto is peace, justice and unity which represents what I do all my life. So I seek to uphold peace and justice for my people,” he said.
The former NHRC boss also pointed out that his other reason for pitching tent with the party was his desire to partner the Minister of Special Duties, Sen. George Akume, to build the party and uplift the general wellbeing of his people.
He disclosed that most of his supporters across the different political parties in the state had defected from such parties to the APC in solidarity with him.
Receiving Angwe and his supporters into the APC, the National Caretaker and Extra Ordinary Convention Committee chairman, Gov Mai Mala Buni, described Angwe as ” a huge asset to the party”.
Represented by former Senate President, Sen. Ken Nnamani, Buni said joining the APC was the only meaningful choice of all Nigerians.
Akume warned against political violence in the state and country, stressing that “we are all brothers and sisters so there should be no political violence among us”.
He said the choice of the APC as a political platform by Angwe, whom he described as a “celebrated professor of human rights,” showed that the party is heading in the right direction.
“Prof Bem has done so much for Benue and Nigeria. He is a great and strong man. He has tremendous respect for me even when he was not a politician.
“Today we are here for Bem. Bem you deserve this respect and honour. We are proud of you, ” Akume said.
Also speaking at occasion, Sen. Gemade, who recently defected from the Social Democratic Party (SDP) to the APC, said the youths were great assets to the party.
Gemade appealed to the youths to always follow laid down procedures in conducting themselves.
He expressed optimism that the calibre of people either returning or joining the party as fresh members showed that APC was on its way to reclaiming power in the state.
Similarly, former Deputy Governor of Benue, Chief Steve Lawani, said APC is the Nigerian true political party and would rule the country for a long time.
Others who spoke at the event,including the State Chairman of the APC Comrade Abba Yaro, Hon. Herman Hembe, Member Gboko/Tarka Constituency, Hon. John Dyegh, former Senatorial candidate of Zone A in the 2019 general elections, Chief Mrs Mimi Orubibi and Barr. Sam Ode.
All applauded the leadership qualities of Senator George Akume and hailed the decision of Prof. Bem Angwe in pitching tent with the All Progressives Congress in the State.
Dr Sam Ode, the party’s deputy governorship candidate in the 2019 election, in a closing remark said the APC was set to wrest power from the ruling Peoples Democraric Party (PDP) in the state in 2023.