George Akume: From governor to senator, minister, and now SGF | 25 years in public office

NewsroomJune 26, 202414 min

George Akume has been actively involved in politics and has been in public office, either elected or appointed, since 1999. Esther Adedoyin examines his political trajectory in this EX-NASS MEMBERS SERIES.

George Akume was born on 27 December 1953. He obtained a bachelor’s degree in Sociology and a master’s degree in Labour Relations from the University of Ibadan.

Beginning as a civil servant, Akume got into politics in his home State of Benue, securing the governorship of Benue State in 1999 under the banner of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), serving two consecutive four-year terms.

Akume’s governorship…

George Akume introduced “The Benue advance plan’ upon taking office in 1999.  This policy blueprint outlined his administration’s vision for a modern Benue, aiming to tackle the state’s distinct challenges and the promotion of peaceful coexistence among the state’s diverse ethnic groups.

Gubernatorial controversies…

Allegations of corruption are a common theme in Nigerian politics and George Akume is not exempt from such accusations. One such allegation was that he misappropriated N4.56 billion during his tenure as governor from 1999 to 2007, a matter re-echoed by a succeeding administration as recent as 2021 when offcials in Makurdi called for investigations by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC), and the Inspector General of Police. Akume, however, dismissed the allegations as baseless. Despite these accusations, he was never formally invited by the EFCC or ICPC.

Another controversy involved allegations of certificate forgery raised by Phillip Agbese, a Benue State indigene who alleged in 2013 that Akume forged his WAEC, NYSC, and B.Sc certificates for the 1999 governorship election. Akume refuted these claims, stating that his certificates were genuine. He explained that while he had lost the original copies, he possessed certified true copies from the awarding institutions.

From governor to senator…

Following the end of his tenure as governor, Akume successfully ran for the position of Senator for Benue north-west in the Senate in 2007 and was re-elected in the April 2011 elections, running on the platform of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN). He secured another re-election to the Senate under the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in 2015. During his time in the Senate, he served as the chairman of the senate committee on the army and held a prominent position as a ranking member of the Senate.

From senator to minister…

In 2019, then President Muhammadu Buhari appointed Akume as Minister of Special Duties and Intergovernmental Affairs, after serving in the senate. In this role, he worked to improve governance and development.

From minister to SGF

George Akume was appointed the 21st Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) by President Bola Tinubu in 2023, a position he currently holds.

As a veteran politician in Nigeria, he has not only shaped policies but also influenced the course of political discourse with over two decades of experience. His wife, Regina, has also ventured into politics, following her election as a member of the House of Representatives in the 10th National Assembly representing the Gboko/Tarka Federal Constituency of Benue State under the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC). Together, the Akumes have contributed significantly to the political landscape of Benue State and Nigeria as a whole.


One comment

  • Laz

    June 26, 2024 at 4:09 pm

    I was thinking the piece will end with a projection of what next for Akume🤷‍♂️


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