The Benue State Government has reacted to the protest staged by some youths at the Police Headquarters, Abuja yesterday, calling for the deployment of more security personnel to the State for Saturday’s Governorship and State House of Assembly elections.
The state government said the outing was apparently sponsored by the All Progressives Congress, APC, in another show of desperation by the party to disrupt the coming elections in Benue State and force a shift of the polls to a separate date to suit their rigging agenda.
According to Terver Akase, Chief Press Secretary to Governor Samuel Ortom, the outing by the hired youths in Abuja, most of who we noticed are not indigenes of Benue, “has confirmed our earlier statement that APC plans to use Federal Government agencies to trigger political crisis in Benue State if their plan to rig the elections fails.”
He said in a statement that, “After losing nearly all the National Assembly positions to PDP in addition to the presidential election in the state on February 23, the bitter reality has hit APC that Benue people have rejected them and are poised to reject them again during the coming polls. They are therefore desperately bent on thwarting the popular will of the people.
“The first phase of their plan was to try to change the narrative that Benue people were the ones killing themselves. With their rejection at the just concluded Presidential and National Assembly elections in Benue State, they have employed their plan B which is to invite the military to intimidate Benue voters and pave way for their unholy rigging agenda.
“The lies being peddled by APC against Governor Samuel Ortom describing him as violent person are only part of the plan to force postponement of the elections in Benue State.
“This is a clear case of blaming the victim. The APC with its administration at the centre has made Governor Ortom a target of vilification, victimization and all forms of attacks since he left the party.
“If any political party is to be accused of violence in Benue State, such a party is APC which leader Senator George Akume led a band of youths round Makurdi after his defeat to destroy campaign materials belonging to PDP.
“We once again advise the Federal Government to resist the urge to militarize the coming elections in Benue State. The state is not at war. Benue people are peace-loving and are ready to exercise their civic duty of voting leaders of their choice on Saturday, March 9, 2019.
“We equally caution against any plan to intimidate key PDP members and effect the arrest of many before and during the elections while instilling fear among voters of the state. Benue people must be allowed to cast their ballot without harassment from any quarter.
“We urge Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC to remain neutral and refuse to be pressurized into doing the bidding of one political party (APC) at the expense of the rest.
“We reiterate our stand that the Nigerian military has no role in casting or counting of votes; therefore any attempt to use them to manipulate the Governorship and State Assembly elections in favour of APC in Benue State will be resisted.”