2023: Meet The Controversial Labour Party Gov’ship Candidate In Benue, Herman Hembe
Born Herman Iorwase Hembe on 22 June 1975, the 2023 governorship candidate of the Labour Party (LP) for Benue State is a Nigerian politician and lawyer from the Konshisha local government area.
Naija News reports that Hembe emerged as the flag bearer of the Labour Party in the state in June 2022 after a failed attempt with his former party, the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Hembe, whose political history dates back to the days of former President Olusegun Obasanjo, made his way into the House of Representatives at the young age of 31 on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
As a third-term federal lawmaker representing the Konshisha/ Vandeikya constituency of Benue State, Hembe’s political career has been trailed by a lot of controversies ranging from when he was Chairman of the House Committee on Capital Market and other Financial Institutions in 2011 to when he chaired another house committee to probe the $18 billion Centenary City project of the Goodluck Jonathan administration in 2016.
Naija News understands that in 2012 the Labour Party governorship candidate for Benue State was involved in a bribery allegation with the then Director-General of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Arunma Oteh.
Hembe’s committee, according to reports, had picked an unusual interest in SEC, accusing Oteh of squandering the sum of N30 million on hotel accommodation in just eight months and a whopping N85,000 spent on a meal eaten by a team of experts.
However, Oteh fought back, revealing that Hembe requested that she pay a combined bribe of N44 million to the committee.
An allegation the young lawmaker denied vehemently, saying that it was Oteh who offered him a bribe and that he “rather fought hard to resist such temptation.”
Similarly, in 2016, Hembe recorded another bribery allegation that involved Anyim Pius Anyim, the then Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), when he (Hembe) headed the committee to probe the $18 billion Centenary City project of the Goodluck Jonathan administration.
Just like in the first instance, Pius Anyim also alleged that Hembe wanted some officials of the Centenary City Company Plc to see him privately after he had blamed them for several violations of the agreement signed between them and the office of the SGF, including lack of evidence of the company’s payment of the 15% of $18billion allocated for the development of the city.
However, Anyim, in his confrontation at the committee’s hearing, was quoted as saying, “Mr chairman, I will not allow you to use the National Assembly platform to pursue a personal vendetta. It is unacceptable, and I will not submit to it. All I am asking for is a fair hearing.
“You have been threatening to conduct this public hearing for over a year now; in fact, you ended last year with it, and this year you started with it. You scheduled it for January 27 but later moved it to February 1 and now moved it to February 3.
“Mr chairman, we only discovered your game plan for all the postponement when you started sending messages to the managing director of the project to see you privately, and it was after all your efforts to get the managing director to see you privately failed that you confirmed this date. I want you to know that nobody will see you privately, and we are here for the hearing, and we will have the hearing.”
Another allegation Hembe vehemently denied.
This online news platform understands that Hembe got into politics despite allegations of cultism during his school days with the aid of his brother, Orkuma, who happened to be the President of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), in 2005.
Orkuma was believed to be a candidate of the former president, Obasanjo, for NANS, and reports have it that in 2007 when his brother was contesting for the PDP primaries, he stormed the venue of the congress with a car full of money he reportedly received from Obasanjo.
With a roller coaster of controversies throughout his political career, Hembe has moved in his political ambition to contest as a governor of his state on the platform of the Labour Party.
He emerged winner of the party’s primary election last June with 103 votes to defeat his opponent, Benjamin Akaakar, who got four votes.
Hembe, in the March 11 governorship election, would be contending with the APC’s Rev Fr Hyacinth Alia, the PDP’s Titus Uba, and the NNPP’s Professor Bem Angwe.
One of these four contenders or others in the race would emerge as the successor of the state governor, Samuel Ortom of the PDP, whose preferred candidate is Titus Uba.