From: Linus Oota, Lafia
As the crisis rocking the Benue State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) continued to fester, as a petitioner who claimed to have won the party’s primaries for Makurdi/Guma Federal Constituency, Hon. Frank Utoo, has revealed that his name was replaced on the even of the 2016 elections.
Utoo claimed that chairman of APC in the state, Abba Yaro, replaced his name on the eve of election with a death person which paved way for another candidate in 2015.
Utoo disclosed this, on Wednesday, before the North Central Zone Investigation Panel, in Lafia. The panel was constituted to investigate allegations leveied against the Benue State party chairman for allegedly violating the party constitution, anti-party activities, indulging in criminal acts, high-headedness , oppression and arbitrary expulsions of party members.
In the words of Utoo, “Two of us contested in the primaries and I won, later the chairman forged the certificate of return and submitted the name of senator George Akume’s gateman to Independent Electoral Commission (INEC). They later reported the death of the candidate (gateman) to INEC and replaced him with Hon Dickson Takgir who is occupying the seat now.”
He warned that if nothing was done urgently to compel Yaro to step aside, the party was heading for destruction, claiming that the party might not win any seats in Benue State, “unless something urgently is done to address this else APC will die in Benue state” he said
Another witness who was also one of the petitioners, Johnson Agada, told the panel that Yaro deliberately refused to present the APC candidate for Ado/Ogbadibo/Okpokwu federal constituency to INEC to pave way for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate who was related to him, who contested and won the election unopposed during 2015 general election.
Agada also presented a Federal High Court ruling asking Yaro to refund the sum of N2.4 million for party nomination form and pay a damage of N1 million to the candidate for not presenting his name to INEC.
Chief Agada, said members of the party in Benue State demand justice and removal of Abba Yaro as chairman of the party in the interest of peace and unity of the party.
The North Central zone of All progressive congress (APC) had set up a five man committee to probe the allegations raised against Benue State APC chairman Comrade Emmanuel Abba Yaro.
The committee which was headed by Barrister Muhammad Liman from Niger state also commenced its hearing on the petition filled by a concerned group of the party from Benue state at the North Central zonal office in Lafia.
During the sitting, chairman of the committee Bar. Muhammad Liman said the panel was determined to do justice on the allegations leveied against Benue State APC chairman Comrade Emmanuel Abba Yaro and pledged to give all the parties fair hearing and discharged their responsibility without fear or favor.
He asked the leading counsel of the petitioners to submit the party registration numbers of the signatories of the petition to the panel.