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Benue Poll: Suswam Heads for Tribunal as INEC Declares Gemade Winner

Benue State Governor Gabriel Suswam has rejected results of the March 28 Senatorial election for Benue North East.

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chief agent for the poll, Prince Solomon Wombo, who is the Special Adviser to the Governor on Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, called for the cancellation of the results for Logo, Ukum and Konshisha Local Governments, citing cases of disenfranchisement and authenticity of the results.

The results were announced on Tuesday morning, at the Benue State secretariat of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Makurdi, the state capital.

The results, which were announced by the returning officer for the senatorial districts, Prof. Muhhamed Ignatius Ada, showed that the incumbent senator Barnabas Gmade of the All Progressives Congress (APC) polled 140, 715, while Governor Gabriel Suswam, polled 118, 603 votes.

The returning officers for Logo, Ukum and Konshisha complained of harassment, coercion, intimidation and threat to life during the course of their assignment.

But Wombo insisted that the results from the three local government should be cancelled in the interest of justice.

He told reporters that the INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Prof Istifanus Dafwang, had shown, by his conduct, that he took side with the (APC).

According to Wombo, the result was unacceptable, partial, and Dafwang’s conduct questionable.

Meanwhile, the head of the legal team of Suswam’s Senatorial Campaign group, Mr. Andrew Wombo, said the team had commenced processes to approach tribunal for redress.

APC has won two of the three senatorial seats in Benue; PDP, one.

 

Meanwhile, Makurdi has been relatively peaceful, even though the sudden defeat of the governor at the poll had disrupted government activities, as most civil servants were seen discussing the outcome of the Presidential and National Assembly polls, in place of doing their work.

The defeat of Suswan by Gemade, who defected to the APC prior to the PDP primary for Benue North East, may not be unconnected with displeasure, in recent times, following lack of payment of workers’ salaries and lean economic situation in the state.

Another factor is lack of federal presence in the state, despite the mass support enjoyed by President Goodluck Jonathan from the state and the general disconnection between the PDP-led government and the electorate.

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