Benue Coalition for Democracy said it is disappointing that the Peoples Democratic Party national chairman, Dr Iyorchia Ayu and PDP presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar sponsored thugs to disrupt Governor Samuel Ortom Senatorial campaign flag-off in Gboko local government area yesterday.
The group’s coordinator, Aloysius Gbakaan in a statement he signed further stated that: “The 2023 election is a moment of decision for our survival! We will vote for only those who truly love and care about us.”
The statement reads in parts: “We watched a disturbing scenario yesterday in Gboko where some miscreants who were apparently sponsored attempted to disrupt the Benue North West Senatorial Campaign Flag-off organized by the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.
“As a watch group for democracy, we officials of the Benue Coalition for Democracy were on ground in Gboko well ahead of commencement of the event and postponed ourselves to monitor the proceedings. We observed that even before Governor Samuel Ortom and his entourage arrived at JS Tarka Stadium, we saw a group led by the former Council Chairman of Ushongo Local Government Area Joseph Asawa around the stadium with t-shirts and posters of the PDP presidential candidate Atiku Abubakar. They were attempting to force their way into the densely crowded arena. The group showed zero regard for the security personnel stationed at the stadium. Leader of the group Joseph Asawa had earlier in the day boasted on his Facebook wall that they were going to storm the Gboko rally.
“We asked some members of the group why they chose to conduct themselves in that manner and they told us that the former Chairman of the Benue State Board of Internal Revenue who contested the Gboko/Tarka Federal Constituency primary election of PDP but lost Terzungwe Atser was the one who sponsored them to do what they were doing at the PDP Gboko campaign flag-off. They then continued to arrogantly chant songs of war in support of Atiku saying that whether anyone liked it or not, Atiku will be president. Atser is a boy and loyalist of the PDP National Chairman, Senator Iyorchia Ayu.
“At that point, other youths who could no longer tolerate the insults from the Atiku group stepped forward to remind them that Atiku has insulted Benue people enough with his insensitive comments against the killings by Fulani herdsmen and the people of the state have resolved to reject him come 2023. They warned the Ayu/Atiku group to stop spitting on the graves of hundreds of the innocent Benue people killed by herdsmen. It was at that point that physical confrontation ensued and the Atiku group members were given the beating of their lives and they retreated.
“As eye-witnesses, we have taken time to narrate the true picture of what happened in Gboko so as to set the records straight. The Atiku sponsored youths were the aggressors. They had no reason to invade the PDP Gboko rally.
“We must caution Senator Ayu and Atiku’s supporters to desist from further acts of violence. What they did in Gboko was capable of triggering a major political crisis in the area.
“Our finding further indicated that Governor Samuel Ortom was not even aware of the unfortunate incident as he was very busy with activities at the event. Those accusing the Governor of instructing his supporters to dislodge the Ayu and Atiku invaders are doing so out of ignorance and mischief. If Governor Ortom were not a peace loving leader, he would not have tolerated the insults on his person by supporters of Ayu and Atiku for this long. The Governor has been calm in the face of the deliberate attacks on his person.
“We condemn the act of supporters of Ayu and Atiku and urge security operatives to investigate the incident and bring the culprits to justice.
“Lastly, it is pertinent to sound it loud and clear to Atiku Abubakar and Iyorchia Ayu that we Benue people will not vote for those who will sponsor herdsmen to kill us and take our lands. The PDP presidential candidate has proven that he is for Fulani and he will be a Fulani president, if elected. He will be worse than Muhammadu Buhari. We will not enthrone our enemy to turn his gun against us.”