Samuel Ortom, Governor of Benue State, who is seeking reelection, says his reelection should not bring about bloodletting and loss of anybody’s life.
Ortom implored the people of Benue State to embrace peace and eschew violence in Saturday’s supplementary governorship election.
Ortom, who was represented by Benson Abounu, the Deputy Governor of the state, spoke on Wednesday at a stakeholders’ meeting at the state headquarters of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Makurdi, the Benue State capital.
He said the electorate should be allowed to elect their leaders and that their votes should count.
Abounu said: “The Governor is concerned about the violence in our electoral process. It is totally unnecessary and completely unwarranted because we are not at war.
“The essence of having an election is to allow the will of the people to prevail. The people are supposed to decide who will govern them and that is all. At the end of the electioneering, we would come back again as one state, as brothers and sisters.
“All that bothers the Governor is ’Allow the will of the people to prevail.’ That is all. But you saw what we experienced in Guma and Gwer Local Government Areas. There was violence that resulted in the loss of human lives. This is completely unnecessary.
“The Governor said his election does not warrant the loss of one single life. That is what should bother all of us who are political leaders, security operatives and even religious leaders. The important thing is that there should be no loss of any human life. The idea is to allow the will of the people. Let them decide for themselves who will govern them.
“As far as the Governor is concerned, he is not ready to force anybody to have him reelected. He is not ready to buy any vote whatsoever and he will never encourage such.”
However, Dr Nentawe Goshwe, the state Resident Electoral Commisioner, in his remarks said the commission was ready to conduct free, fair credible and transparent supplementary election on Saturday.
Goshwe, however, made it known that the commission had stopped two electoral officers in the state from participating in the supplementary election.
Benue State is one of the six states in the country where the March 9 governorship election was declared inconclusive.