Toryila KAJO, Makurdi
Senatorial Candidate of the All Progressive Congress (APC) in last Saturday’s Benue South re-run election, Comrade Daniel Onjeh and his supporters have staged a peaceful protest to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Makurdi, calling for the reversal of the results which was in favour of senator David Mark of the Peoples Democratic Party, (PDP).
The leader of the protesters and chairman of APC in Benue South, Alhaji Mohammed Hassan while presenting the party’s position paper to the Resident Electoral Commissioner in the state, Prof. Isifanus Dwafang said they are dissatisfied with the purported declaration of Mark as the winner of the re-run election.
“Our party is pleased to formally remind you that the just concluded re-run election on which this letter is predicated was as a result of the wilful declaration of result in the same election in 2015, without caution and regards to law and Justice that made the commission, Benue state, and the Nation to incur unwarranted expenses hence the need for this letter to avert waste of time and resources by all concerned”.
The party chairman said a total of about 29,273 votes were cancelled by the commission across the senatorial area, leaving the total difference between our candidate, comrade Daniel Onjeh, and the declared candidate standing about 13,751 votes only, therefore, cannot sustain a declaration, but an inconclusive election to enable the voters the opportunity to determine for themselves their senator.
“It is APC’s stand to which we hereby maintain that the purported declaration and return of senator David Mark is unacceptable, unlawful, illegal, null and void and in the circumstance call on the commission to declare the said election inconclusive and not to issue any certificate of return to senator Mark, but to set down election in the affected polling units within seven days for the purpose of determining the actual winner of the election”.
On his part, comrade Onjeh said INEC cannot allocate powers to itself and declared Mark as the winner of the re-run election on ground that there will be violence in the area if the exercise was cancelled, but toe the part of fair play and Justice; alleging that those that almost attacked the a Resident Electoral Commissioner in Otukpo were ‘thugs and cultists’ loyal to senator Mark.
“As former president of National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) and President of West African Students Union (WASU) which I control over 40million students, we are giving 48 hours within which INEC should reverse itself over Benue south re-run election. Anything to the contrary will deem compromise and my supporters will take over and occupy this office”.
Responding, the Resident Resident Commissioner, Prof. Isifanus Dafwang, noted that in 2015 election which the then opposition APC won governorship and two senate seats in the state, the PDP had written to Prof. Jega to remove him as REC from Benue, accusing him of siding the opposition, saying today, the reverse is the case.