From Uche Nnorom, Makurdi
Senator Barnabas Gemade and Col. Joseph Akaargerger rtd have been continued to bicker over the senatorial primaries of the Social Democratic Party, SDP for Benue North East senatorial district.
Akaargerger yesterday addressed a press conference at the NUJ house, alleging snatching of electoral materials by hired thugs, violence and thuggery, vote buying, predetermined choice of successful candidates before the so called conduct of the elections, criminal manipulation of election results in all the 277 wards and other forms of electoral malpractices as well as manifest compromise of party officers and undue influence by one Mr. David Umah.
He also, accused the national secretariat of the party of creating and recognizing parallel excos in four(4) local governments of Kwande, Ushongo, Vandeikya and Konshisha on the eve of primary elections to favor Sen. Barnabas Gemade.
The one time senator further alleged that all the returning officers posted to seven(7) local government areas of Katsin-Ala, Ukum, Kwande, Konshisha, Vandeikya, Logo and Ushongo consisting of 84 wards after collation of election materials, left for Sen. Gemade’s house in Gboko where some results were handed over to him.
“Elections results possibly came.from his house. In Benue North West, in some local governments where elections never held, results were recorded in favor of candidates loyal to Gemade.
“Consequently, we call for immediate cancellation of the purported primaries conducted on September 29th 2018 because it is a charade and sham.
“The national Secretariat should devise a credible free and fair mode to conduct the primaries that would win the confidence of all aspirants and party supporters. We call for exclusion of David Umah who clearly manifestly and openly supported Sen. Gemade from any fresh electoral processes as well as urged the national secretariat to order fresh primary election within 48 hours as we expect a response within 24 hours”, Sen. Akaargerger appealed.
Reacting to the allegations leveled against him by Akaargerger, Sen. Gemade described it as ‘pedestrian’ way of lying, adding that he(Akaargerger)is a nuisance.
According to him, there were no hitches in five (5) local governments but in two(2) when primaries did not hold.
He alleged that Akaargerger’s boys weilded guns and held electoral officers hostage compelling them to release results sheets to them.
“In Vandeikya, two(2) principal contestants for house of representative were on each others throat because of faction there. Two(2) party chairmen fought themselves and so, no material was sent them and no result was released.
‘I never went to any of these places. The party sent people whom I do not know. My presence in the party has not been long so I do not the officers.
“Akaargerger is so desperate and does not want to accept defeat. I have been defeating him in many elections. Even this time, I won him squarely. He is hired by those who drove me away from PDP. I cannot take lies against me by anyone. If I have evidence I can sue such person. I will continue to win the senate seat so I am not afraid of those contesting against me”, the one time national chairman of PDP boasted.