APC Primaries Spark Off Protests In Benue
The APC primary elections held on Thursday and Friday, ahead of the June 3 Local Government polls in Benue, have sparked off protests in some parts of the state.
News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) correspondents, who monitored the elections, report that the protests were more pronounced in Benue Central Senatorial District, with Buruku and Gboko Local Government Areas worst hit.
Some of the protesters, who took over major roads in Buruku on Friday, expressed dissatisfaction over the manner some of the party’s candidates for the local government polls emerged.
The protesters held placards some of which read “No to Imposition of Candidates”, “This is not our change”, “We detest dictatorship”, while another screamed “Respect our views”.
They accused the party leadership of imposing candidates, and expressed the fear that such candidates might lose the secondary elections.
NAN reports that the situation got rowdy in some areas with some angry party members attacking others believed to be loyal to the camp accused of imposing candidates.
Among those attacked was the party’s chairmanship candidate for Buruku Local Government Council, Mrs. Justina Sorkaa, and a former commissioner in the state, Mrs. Awuese Torher.
Mr Sekav Iyortyom, a former commissioner and an APC leader in Bukuru, who reacted to the protests, however condemned the physical attack on Sorkaa amd Torher.
“The attacks on party members was wrong. There are channels for resolving grievances,” he said.
He called on security agencies to beef up their surveillance so as to fish out miscreants bent on causing trouble in the state.
NAN also reports that in Makurdi Local Government, five contestants to the chairmanship seat stormed the office of the Deputy Governor, Benson Abnoun, to protest the alleged imposition of Mrs. Justina Audu as the APC chairmanship candidate.
The aspirants – Christopher Abari, Emmanuel Fagah, Alex Ayayer, Dennis Udepuun and Anthony Dyegeh, said that they purchased forms for the contests and appeared for the screening exercise.
“But, we were waiting for the primaries when Audu was declared the sole candidate.
“We have been told that we were not successful in the screening exercise, but no one has told us what criteria was used that found us deficient,” Abari, who spoke on behalf of others, told NAN.
He alleged that the ticket had been used to compensate one Akange Audu, husband to Justina, who contested and lost the APC governorship ticket in December 2014.
Reacting to the protests, Mr Alfred Berger, APC Publicity Secretary in Benue, said that no candidate was imposed on any constituency.
He explained that after the screening, some aspirants were disqualified based on some local zoning arrangement, while others were screened out because they did not meet up the party’s strict requirements for possible success at the polls.