From Uche Nnorom, Makurdi
Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has raised the alarm over plots by the governorship candidate of All Progressives Congress (APC), Emmanuel Jime, to blackmail first and second class traditional rulers in the state before President Muhammadu Buhari in order to forcefully secure their support towards the coming polls.
The plot, according to state PDP chapter, in a press statement signed by its Publicity Secretary, Bemgba Iortyom, and made available to Peoples Daily yesterday, includes claims to be made by Jime that he has given to the royal fathers land allocations in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, following which a list of the beneficiaries is to be taken to the President.
Bemgba who is also the State Chairman, Publicly Subcommittee, Benue State Governorship Campaign Organization, noted that the listed beneficiaries will then be required by the Presidency to reciprocate the purported good gesture of land allocations by mobilising their subjects in support of APC at the February polls.
However, PDP observed that on his visits to a number of local government areas, Jime failed to make available a single land allocation paper to any traditional ruler, adding that investigation revealed that the APC guber candidate’s claims were only the initial steps in the execution of a nefarious blackmail plot against Benue royal fathers.
“Many have contended that even if he did truly secure land allocation gifts to the royal fathers, as he so claimed, it is morally incorrect, dishonourable and desperately self-seeking for him to have made it public, particularly at time he is running in an election.
“Others have queried why it took him so long to make available to the beneficiaries a gift he claims to have secured for them while he was still member of the House of Representatives many years ago”, it said.
Meanwhile, Benue PDP commended the courageous decision of the royal fathers so far to distance themselves from any such ‘Greek gift’, if at all it does exist.
“The party acknowledges that even today a prominent royal father in the state had made it clear that they, traditional rulers, will not be part of any such land-for-support scheme being advertised by the APC Benue gubernatorial candidate, and the party further encourages all traditional rulers in the state to be wary of entering into questionable arrangements with desperate politicians, particularly at this period of the build up to the 2019 elections.
“Benue PDP also, reminded the royal fathers of the vantage position occupied by the traditional institution and the revered role it is required to play towards the preservation of our cultural identity and norms as African people, as well as the maintenance of peace and harmony in our communities.
“This is a role the ruling party in the state urges the royal fathers to understand they must play even in the face of the sort of extreme pressure being mounted on them by APC which having failed in governance is increasingly resorting to desperate measures with the reality of their impending fall from power drawing nearer by the day”, the PDP scribe stated.
Reacting to the allegation, Publicity Secretary of All Progressives Congress (APC), James Ornguga, said the gesture has nothing to do with Jime’s Governorship ambition, noting that the promise was made in 2014 when he was House of Representatives Committee Chairman on Federal Capital Territory.