•You are just a bad loser – Ortom replies
From Uche Nnorom, Makurdi
Governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Benue state, Mr. Emmanuel Jime has alleged that the inconclusive guber and state Assembly elections in the state were rigged in favour of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
He particularly accused some top members of the PDP, including the incumbent Governor of Benue State Samuel Ortom, the former Governor Gabriel Suswam, of perpetrating “unprecedented electoral heist ever seen in the history of the state.”
Jime’s allegations were contained in a press statement signed by the Deputy Director of his Campaign Organization, Mr. Kula Tersoo.
According to the statement, Suswam is alleged to have, prior to the polls, activated his link with a section of the militia from his area recruited by the wanted chief terror in the state, Terwase Akwaza aka Gana for the electoral fraud.
“These militia helped him to intimidate and sack voters from polling centres to pave way for massive multiple thumb printing and general rigging in the five wards of Gaambe Tiev area of Logo Local Government. Eventually, a cooked figure of over 30,000 votes were awarded to Ortom and the PDP while about 2,000 miserable votes donated to Jime and the APC.
“Same Suswam, we gathered on good authority connived with the Resident Electoral Commissioner in Benue state and got only his blood relations and kinsmen of Shitile appointed as returning officers in the Benue Northeast senatorial district. We have the names of these returning officers, their relationship with him and will at the appropriate time, make the list public.
“This also explained why with glaring manipulation of votes, gubernatorial and House of Assembly results from the Northeast part of the state and particularly, Sankera axis were not cancelled.
“All petitions written against these elections by our collation agents were ignored. The returning officers would always make sure they detach all petitions from form EC40(G) before submitting at the INEC office in Makurdi”, the statement said.
The campaign director alleged that Governor Ortom hijacked electoral materials meant for the three(3) council wards of Nongov; namely, Nzorov, Saghev and Kaambe in Guma Local Government where he manufactured over 28,000 votes for his party and allocated a laughable less than 200 votes for APC.
“Heavily armed Livestock Guards were on hand to intimidate voters to sell their PVC. The team raised for that purpose would then use the PVCs for accreditation and subsequent thumb printing for the PDP. Those who ventured groaned were heavily beaten and threatened to keep their mouth shut.
“Presiding Officers were bribed and coerce to submission. Those who did it for fear of their lives came back and gave us these facts. They also assured that need be, they will not hesitate to testify in court”, the statement noted.
Responding to the allegation against his boss, Chief Press Secretary to Governor Samuel Ortom Terver Akase urged Jime to tender proof of his rigging claims against the Governor and PDP.
Akase said Jime knows that he has lost the governorship election and so is resorting to raising unfounded allegation against PDP.
“With 81,554 result margin facing him, he knows he is at his wits end.