Parties trade words over alleged plot to rig polls in Benue


    THE Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Benue State are now back in the trenches over the 2011 polls.

    The state’s ACN governorship candidate, Prof. Steve Ugbah, has accused PDP of stocking arms, which it intends to use in the ringing of the 2011 polls by unleashing violence on the ordinary people who have rejected the party.

    However, Governor Gabriel Suswam has countered the allegation, claiming that political violence threatening the conduct of polls in Benue State was being masterminded by the ACN.

    The governor said security agencies would soon tackle those responsible for such acts.

    Ugbah, who spoke with journalists at the weekend in Makurdi, alleged that several arms have been acquired and handed over to PDP thugs with the directive to forcefully rig the 2011 polls across the constituencies of the state.

    “Arms are being stock-piled by the PDP in Benue State. PDP is planning violence as a way of rigging the elections because its members know that they are losing the elections. The only way the PDP wishes to win the elections is by using excessive and overwhelming violence,” Prof. Ugbah.

    He said that the ACN abhorred violence, but stated that the party members would not hesitate to defend themselves if the violence in the state continued.

    According to Ugbah: “We want to serve notice to the PDP that we will monitor them. They have provided fake military and police uniforms to their thugs to be deployed just before elections for them to pose as officers before the election. We call on the Inspector General of Police to investigate these actions.”

    Ugbah added that security agencies in the state must investigate the alleged mass purchase of voters’ cards by the Suswam administration, which is then destroyed by agents of the administration to disenfranchise majority of the people who are not with the governor.

    He said that contrary to claims by Suswam that he (Ugbah) was an unknown person, he disclosed that he was introduced into the race by Benue people who believed that the governor had failed to use the abundant resources at his disposal to improve on the fortunes of the state.

    He stated that he would fund free education up to secondary school for all Benue indigenes and free education for all females up to university level to stem the tide of prostitution in the state.

    Ugbah added that all students studying science, technological and engineering courses would have free tuition as he intends to galvanise Benue’s economy using science and technical education.

    However, Suswam in his meeting with journalists, accused the ACN of acts of violence and provocation against the PDP.

    Suswam said: “It is very obvious that the ACN members are determined that there should be violence because of their attitude of blocking roads and beating brooms on peoples vehicles.

    You can see that they use to tie brooms across major highways. The essence is to provoke people, so that there will be violence.”

    He urged PDP supporters to remain calm, saying that the party would win the forthcoming elections despite the acts of violence by the ACN.

    He said the acts of violence by the ACN in the state did not indicate the popularity of the party.

    Meanwhile, the Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Terseer Tsumba, has denied allegations that he has misappropriated N374 million meant for the running of the House. He said he would not resign as suggested by the opposition in the House.

    Addressing journalists at the weekend, Tsumba described the allegations of financial impropriety against him by members of the minority as baseless, hence they should be disregarded.

    The speaker noted that the funds that he was alleged to have embezzled, were funds that were sent to the committees of the House as overhead, which they expended without recourse to the leadership.

    Tsumba claimed that since assuming the leadership of the House, he has been transparent and has conducted all financial dealings in line with the accounting rules governing the House.


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    Parties trade words over alleged plot to rig polls in Benue