APC, PDP trade blame over cancelled ballot in Benue State
The ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and opposition All Progressives Congress (APC) in Benue State are accusing each other over the violence and alleged polls fraud, which led to the cancellation of elections in Mbalom ward, Gwer East Council. Mbalom is the settlement where suspected herdsmen killed two Catholic priests and 17 parishioners in St. Ignatius Catholic Church, Ukpor-Mbalom, on Tuesday, April 25, 2018.
Former commissioner for justice in the state and PDP supervisory agent for the state election, Alex Adum, yesterday, accused APC of sponsoring thugs that disrupted the voting process in the ward.He told The Guardian on Saturday that the security agencies deployed to the council compromised, alleging that instead of protecting electoral materials and the electorate, they watched APC thugs unleash violence on PDP members.
He said: “The APC in Gwer East, having realised that they did not have the strength and the popularity to contest the elections against the PDP, decided on the strategy of containment and disruption of election.
“The plan started last night (Friday), when the APC thugs led by one Desmond Ahov from Mbalom, who rode in a Sienna bus donated by the wife of Yonov Aga, Nigeria’s former ambassador to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) in Geneva, went to the collation centre in Lom and after sporadic shooting, dispersed the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) staff and set ablaze electoral materials.
“This was based on the fact that in the previous election, the results from Mbalom gave a clear indication that the people were dissatisfied with the APC and voted massively for PDP.”
But the APC accused PDP leaders and agents of violence and vote buying, alleging that APC members were violently attacked by PDP thugs.
While speaking with The Guardian, an APC stalwart and chairman of Gwer East workers’ forum, Dennis Anikpa, said: ”It all started when they came to buy votes but could not succeed. So when the plan failed, their thugs carrying machetes, axes and other dangerous weapons descended on our members, including innocent voters who came out to exercise their right.
“Some of the identified thugs, Aondohemba Orkeen and Sesugh Ade (son of Hon. Ade), came on a bike and started using machete to injure people. They chased away APC supporters and injured one of our members, Terkimbi Awua.”
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