George Okoh in Makurdi
Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, has revealed that former Governor of the state, Senator George Akume, lost his senatorial election due to a determined desire of the electorate to vote him out.
Addressing journalists in Makurdi, Ortom stated that Akume who had boasted before the presidential and National Assembly elections that he would use federal might to win the polls incurred the anger of Benue people who rejected him and his party.
The governor stated that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) which is aware of the power of the people’s votes would emerge victorious at the governorship and state assembly elections.
The governor expressed disappointment with Akume who he noted, led other APC members and instead of staging a peaceful celebration of President Muhammadu Buhari’s victory, went on rampage destroying billboards of PDP, raiding shops and blocking major roads in Makurdi metropolis.
Governor Ortom advised Benue youths who accompanied the embattled senator to destroy campaign materials of the PDP to desist forthwith as their conduct was capable of truncating their future.
He called on Benue people to remain calm as the matter had already been reported to security agencies, advising innocent citizens of the state against resorting to reprisals but rather report to security personnel where their rights were being infringed upon.
While describing the outcome of last Saturday’s election as relatively peaceful, Governor Ortom commended the people of the state for conducting themselves peacefully, urging them to sustain the gesture in the March 9 elections.
Reacting, the state Publicity Secretary of APC, Mr. James Ornguga, insisted that Senator Akume never authorised the destruction of PDP billboards in the town.
Ornguga said: “What happened was that Senator Akume drove around town in a motorcade to celebrate the victory of President Buhari; he did not even invite his party supporters to join him.
“However, out of joy his fans followed him. So, I was even surprised when I passed through High Level Roundabout and saw what happened. He did not authorise that at all.
“In fact, when I brought it to his notice, he was surprised and condemned it strongly, saying that such practice was primitive, barbaric and not in tandem with modern-day democratic culture at all.”
“So, he has warned those behind the act to stop it forthwith.”
Meanwhile the Benue State Commissioner of Police, Omololu Bishi, has disclosed that seven arrests were made during the last presidential and National Assembly elections.
He said some of those arrested were found with multiple voters’ card and arms.
He warned politicians and particularly youths to stop sponsorship of violence and attack on opponents.
He said the reported attack on campaign materials of the governor was carried out without the knowledge of the Police as been insinuated.
“We got a report that huge crowd were processing around Makurdi town which we swiftly went to observe only for us to discover it was APC members celebrating the victory of their candidate, President Buhari”
He said before his men got to the place, some of the youths had destroyed billboards of the PDP.
He said investigation is going on and those involved in the act will be brought to book.