25th April, 2011
The Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, Benue State chapter, has accused the Peoplesâ€™ Democratic, PDP, of plotting to rig the governorship election on April 26th 2011.
Mr. Adaa Maagbe, special adviser to the partyâ€™s governorship candidate, Prof. Steven Ugbah, who raised the alarm at a press conference in Makurdi, yesterday alleged that the PDP intends to use one Prof. Armstrong Adejo and the State Resident Electoral Commissioner Alhaji Nasir Ayilara to perfect their rigging strategies.
â€œWe believe that Prof. Adejo is a man of integrity and has his name to protect. We believe that he will not allow himself to be used against the wishes of the people,”Maagbe said.
The Specila Adviser who is also a Management Consultant further alleged that the PDP is planning to use all the power at its disposal including money and position to intimidate voters to either vote for PDP candidates or stay away from the polling booths if they will not vote for them.
He accused Governor Gabriel Suswam of inducing Police DPOs in the State with the sum of N1 million each to aid the party rig the elections as well as doling out N 1million to a group of civil servants at Lobi Quarters, another group of women working at IBB Square N3 million, BSU staff N4 million, BSU students N2 million, North Bank Motor park users N250,000, College of Advanced and Professional Studies (Suswam support Group) North Bank N3 million, College of Education Oju staff N4 million, College of Education, Katsina-Ala N6 million and Akperan Orshi College of Agriculture N2 million.
He lamented that most of these institutions have remained without roofs.
Maagbe further disclosed that PDP has concluded arrangements to embark on widespread violence, ballot box snatching and ballot paper thumb printing, adding that traditional rulers in Naka, Gwer west Local government are housing thugs whom they will use to intimidate voters.
â€œIt is common knowledge that some of the traditional rulers are using their positions to compel people to vote for their preferred candidates which in all cases are PDP,â€ he alleged.
â€œSome of these traditional rulers are audacious enough to carry their seats to polling booths to make sure that their subjects vote for PDP in Guma and Gwer West LGAs.
“It is also noted that palaces of traditional rulers are being used for these devilish acts of pre-election thumb printing of ballot papers,â€ Maagbe alleged.
He disclosed that thousands of fake ballot boxes and papers have been smuggled into the state with the assistance of Engr. Akem and Abari who are close associates of the state government and are working with a federal agency.
According to him, these materials have been designated as â€˜gift itemsâ€™ and addressed to traditional rulers who will distribute them through the channels they are creating by offering huge sums of money to groups, individuals, traditional rulers and others.
The ACN stalwart expressed worry at the high tech rigging method used by INEC at the collation centres that has seen Benue come tops with 50% according to National Human Rights Commission and the CLEEN Foundation reports.
Maagbe appealed to President Goodluck Jonathan to ensure that the brazen disregard for peopleâ€™s wishes and safety by the PDP government in Benue State is curtailed.
However , the Benue State Government in its reaction through the Special Adviser on Media and Publicity refuted the allegations, saying that there are no fake ballot papers designated as gift items to traditional rulers.
A statement signed by Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr. Cletus Akwaya, a copy which was made available to P.M.NEWS, described the allegation as â€˜ridiculous and laughableâ€™, regretting that the accusation shows the level of contempt the ACN holds traditional institution in the state.
He also noted that the allegation that the governor doled out N1 million to Divisional Police Officers in the state was a â€˜cheap propagandaâ€™, adding that the governor will not induce the Benue voters with monetary gifts.
Akwaya further accused the opposition party of plotting to use fake soldiers in addition to causing violence in Gboko, Tarka and Buruku local government during the governorship election.
The Special Adviser expressed confidence in the PDP to win the governorship election on Tuesday 26 April and charged the ACN to concentrate on issues rather than peddling falsehood.