Controversy has surrounded the All Progressives Congress primary election in Benue State.
This is as Governor Hyacinth Alia suspended the event, which was meant to select a candidate for the February 4 bye-election for the State House of Assembly.
The need for the bye-election arose after Dr. Yamar Ortese, representing the Guma 1 state constituency, was appointed as Commissioner for Health and Human Services.
During a press conference in Makurdi on Saturday, Governor Alia claimed the primary was disrupted by threats and hijacked by individuals who were not from the Guma Local Government Area and should not have participated in the election.
The APC’s state spokesperson, Morgan Ihomun, countered that the governor cannot suspend a process that the party already conducted in an orderly manner.
Governor Alia, accompanied by state security chiefs, also mentioned that the primary was planned for Saturday but was overshadowed by threats from irate youths.
The governor said, “Security of state remains paramount to us. Today (Saturday), the APC is to conduct primary but it was marred by misconduct and this posed insecurity in Guma. It became imperative to calm the irate youth.
“Party stakeholders felt disenchanted. I would not want any semblance of insecurity in the state. I suspend the delegate primary. Sad enough the party faithful came out but were stopped at the gate by people who do not belong to the local government; all stakeholders were locked out and youths became angry. Party faithful must help keep the peace in the state.
“I do not want any bloodshed as people get sensational and sentimental about politics. I have asked the security operatives to ensure that there is no break down of law and order. I know that the national working committee of our party will do all to ensure that the right thing is done.”
Meanwhile, Morgan insisted that the primary election had been held and a candidate emerged to fly the party ticket during the forthcoming by-election.
He said, “The question we should be asking is that, does the governor have the power to suspend the primary election?”