Benue LG Poll: Aspirants Protest Against ‘Forgery’, Imposition

By Yemi Itodo

As activities into the local government polls in Benue State gather momentum, some aspirants under the ruling party, the All Progressive Congress (APC) have registered their displeasure over what they described as “dearth of internal democracy” in the party, which they alleged being perpetrated by the State Chairman, Abba Yaro.

Addressing newsmen in Makurdi, the state capital on Wednesday, Hon. Adogo Friday Iwodi, Hon. James Ediri Akor and Hon. Sunday Joseph, all chairmanship aspirants in Ogbadibo LGA, also accused their co-aspirant, James Simon Akola of forging the APC certificate of clearance.

According to the statement jointly issued by the trio, Akola allegedly flaunted a certificate of clearance on his social media page on Wednesday, even though the party screening committee and the state secretariat denied issuing clearance to any aspirant in the entire state.

“We were four aspirants who participated in the screening exercise which lasted till Saturday last week. We were expecting list of successful aspirants with clearance from the committee, only to see Akola displaying a clearance, purportedly procured from the party secretariat.

“We hurriedly besieged the party office and were shocked to hear that no certificate of clearance had been given to any aspirant in the entire state. The screening committee declared that they were not done with the whole process yet. Where did Akola get his clearance from? We demand an investigation.

“By the forgoing and with the open threat issued by the state chairman during a stakeholders meeting in Ogbadibo on 11th April 2017, that no aspirant would scale through the screening except his anointed candidate, Akola, we are now compelled to state that we have lost confidence in the Chief John Ochoga led screening committee and the leadership of Abba Yaro”, the statement reads in part.

While accusing the state chairman, Yaro of working against the party guideline by unduly projecting Akola against the interest of the entire party stakeholders and members in Ogbadibo, the aspirants called on Governor Samuel Ortom and other leaders in the state, to as a matter of urgency, intervene in Ogbadibo primaries, in order to salvage the party.

Akola, the immediate past Sole Administrator of Ogbadibo LGC, was alleged to have been anointed by Abba Yaro as the next Chairman of the area and has “many atimes boasted in the public that he would disqualify any other aspirants to pave way for his preferred candidate in his own local government, Ogbadibo.