The All Progressives Congress (APC), Benue State Chapter has claimed that Governor Samuel Ortom plans to bribe INEC officials to rig the March 9th gubernatorial elections in the state.
“According to the plan by the Governor and PDP in Benue State, INEC ad-hoc staff in the 5,102 Polling Units and Voting Points will be given N75,000 for refreshment amounting to N382,650,000.00. In a similar manner, Ward Collation Officers in the 276 Council wards in Benue State are to go home with N150,000 each,” according to a statement signed by Comrade Abba Yaro State Chairman, APC.
“Each of the 23 Local Government Electoral Officers (EOs) will get N1,500,000 as “understanding” fee. The Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) Benue State is not left out in the largess as N500m has been earmarked for him to be paid through a Royal Father in the state,” the statement claimed.
The release reminded Nigerians that the governor has at various occasions boasted that he was going to win the forthcoming elections by all means.
Going further, the statement charged that “Votes are to be bought in all the polling units with N300,000.00 (1,530,600,000 for 5,102 PUs) set aside per polling unit for that purpose. In view of where we are in Benue State where salaries are not paid for over 12 months as well as Gratuities and Pensions, these monies earmarked for the election by the Governor are ridiculous to say the least.
“The Benue State Governor has not initiated and completed any project in the last four years and setting aside these huge amounts of money to buy votes would amount to playing on the sensibilities of the Benue electorates especially those who are vulnerable. The Governor has in the last four years impoverished the Benue people through massive looting only to plan to buy votes and win a second term.
“While the emerging Entrepreneurial spirit of Benue sons and daughters has been exterminated by the Governor in the last four years, his personal enterprises have blossomed. Something as common as water taken at all government functions must be the Governor’s Goshen water just as printing of all documents by the Benue State government is done by Oracle Printing Press owned by the Governor and now managed by his younger brother Mike and his in-law Mtom.
“The APC in Benue State is presenting a credible candidate to be elected as governor on March 9, 2019. Rt. Hon. Emmanuel Jime is a patriotic Nigerian who does not own conglomerates as such he will not have any conflict of interest between his own enterprises and governance. He is not a businessman and would not attract foreign investors to his farm/business as it is the case with Gov. Ortom whose numerous trips to China in search of investors has ended up with Chinese on his Oracle Farms. Rt. Hon. Jime is not a “farmer as such his administration will develop agricultural land schemes, buy tractors, fertilizers and other critical inputs for farmers in the state and not what is obtainable now as any functional tractor in Benue State today belongs to Oracle Farms Ltd. The Benue State Tractor Hiring Agency (BENTHA) has folded up to give way to Oracle Farms. Publishers in the state would enjoy patronage under Jime who like his in-laws does not have a Printing Press.
“We wish to remind the governor that in 2015 when the people of Benue State voted massively for APC, he did not have any money to buy votes. This implies that conscience of the people of Benue state cannot be bought with silver or gold. The party is advising the governor to use the money he intends to buy voters to offset salaries or better still pay pensioners at least four months’ pension.
“The APC in Benue State calls on the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) as well as other security agencies to as a matter of urgency commence investigation and arrest of culprits as vote buying is a criminal offence under the laws of Nigeria. These investigations should include INEC officials who participated in the February 23, 2019 elections in Benue State.
“Benue State is not for sale to the highest bidder. Shun the looter of state and local government treasuries. Vote Rt. Hon. Jime and all APC candidates to the State House of Assembly.
“Also, we read from the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Mr. Terver Akase of alleged plans by the APC leader in Benue State, Senator George Akume to invite the military to disrupt voting in the state on March 9, 2019. May we for the umpteenth time request Gov. Ortom to refrain from peddling false rumours as Benue people are ready to vote him out in a fair and free election without the use of the military. However, the law allows the use of the military and other security agencies to maintain peace and order during elections. Senator George Akume does not deploy soldiers,” the statement added