From Uche Nnorom, Makurdi
Erstwhile Minister of State Trade, industries and Investment, Dr. Samuel Ortom has frowned at reports in some sections of the media alleging that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has rejected him as the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Benue State on grounds that his nomination is enmeshed in controversy.
In a statement signed by his media aide, Mr. Tahav Agerzua and made available to Peoples Daily, he dismissed the claims as false, mischievous and a figment of the reporter, Tordue Salem’s imagination, adding that the report is at best anaemic, speculative and baseless and as such should be disregarded.
It should be noted that a report had emanated that INEC through its Director of Organization Office one Alh. Abubakar Kari rejected Ortom’s name, maintaining that it is not on the list of aspirants on the APC platform.
Tahav said nothing of such happened and at this moment both the state and national headquarters of the APC denied ever receiving any communication from INEC on such a matter.
“It is unfortunate that the self seeking report claimed to quote a source in the office of the commission’s Director of Organization, one Alhaji Abubakar Kari, without mentioning the source but deliberately dropping the name of the said director to give the misleading impression that he gave the information”
“The lack of credibility of his report has been further exhibited by the absence of confirmation of the authenticity or otherwise of the information which he claimed to have received from the relevant information managers of either INEC or APC”, he stated.
The media aide also denied claims that Chief Dr Ortom was a factional candidate as ‘untenable’, noting that the APC in Benue State is one indivisible family led by Senate Minority leader, Senator Dr George Akume.
“The truth is that Chief Dr Ortom remains the APC governorship candidate in Benue State as reiterated by the APC state executive committee in its statement of 20th December, 2014”, he concluded.
Meanwhile, in another development, some aggrieved aspirants including House of Representatives member, Hon. Emmanuel Jime, Prof. Steven Ugbah, Sen. JKN Waku and former Head of Service of the State, Mike Iordye have instituted a case at the high court in Abuja complaining that the Benue APC breached its constitution and the Electoral Act 2010, as amended, in imposing Ortom on the party.
The four sought an order restraining Ortom from being considered as a candidate for the polls next year as well as asked the court to restrain the INEC from recognizing him as the party’s candidate for the election next year.
They further urged the court to issue a restraining order against Ortom from parading himself as APC candidate; as well as a conclusion of the primary that was abruptly discontinued on December 5 and a winning aspirant declared from the result of a inconclusive primary.
The four aspirants are seeking the opinion and interpretation of the court on whether by the provisions of the laws, the Minority Leader of the Senate, Akume and APC state chairman, Mr. Abba Yaro, have the power to pick a gubernatorial candidate for the party, as against the provision in the APC constitution that only the National Working Committee can do so; and that if the duo do not have such powers by the combined effects of the relevant provisions of the Electoral Act and APC constitution, the candidate they have picked, Ortom, should be restrained from parading himself as APC gubernatorial aspirant