Rose Ejembi, Makurdi
Benue State governor, Samuel Ortom, has expressed disappointment over the sudden postponement of the general elections by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
The governor, in a chat with newsmen on Saturday morning after returning from his village, described the development as unfortunate, stressing that the All Progressives Congress, (APC) was by the postponement, only trying to buy additional time before their defeat.
Governor Ortom described the development as unfortunate, saying for INEC to postpone the elections it took more than three years to plan, a few hours to the commencement of voting when people had travelled from far places to exercise their franchise, was a rape on democracy.
“I am very sad as a patriotic Nigerian who wants the best for this country and for our democracy. We are becoming a Banana Republic. How can you justify that for three good years, you planned for an election only to postpone it at the last hour?”
“You can imagine the pains of Nigerians who travelled from far only to be told that the elections have been postponed. We have earlier raised the alarm that the APC is trying to truncate democracy. This is a deliberate act by the APC but I want to tell them that it’s a matter of postponing their evil day.”
The governor stated that the postponement was planned as evidenced in the statement credited to leader of the APC in the state, Senator George Akume, that they would cause the election to be postponed and write results.
While alleging that the postponement was a grand plan by the APC-led Federal government to rig the elections, Ortom called on President Buhari to prove to the world that he is a man of integrity by rising up to defend Nigeria’s democracy.
Governor Ortom urged President Buhari to remember the words of the late elder statesman, Maitama Sule, who told him when he went to congratulate him on his victory in 2015 that he should ensure his leadership was anchored on the rule of law, truthfulness and integrity where the interest of Nigerians would be protected above personal interests.
“President Buhari must rise up to defend Nigeria’s democracy by checking those people around him. He should remember what late Maitama Sule told him after he won election in 2015 that he should be a man of integrity.
“Today, where are justice, fairness and equity that we were promised in 2015? Nigerians should not suffer for making Buhari president,” Ortom said.
Governor Ortom posited that Benue State and the North Central in general are vigilant and would not allow any form of rigging during the polls, adding that the people of the region were prepared for free, fair, credible and transparent elections that would usher in leaders who can anchor the country’s democracy based on rule of law.
He said dictatorship and nepotism are some of the major characteristics of the present APC-led government at the centre where the constitution of the country is no longer respected.
According to the governor, the APC which has the resources and claims to be fighting corruption is the worst culprit of corruption in the history of Nigeria. He said it was insensitive to postpone an election in the manner the electoral body had done.
He urged eligible voters in Benue and other parts of the country not to be discouraged by the sudden shift in the election dates but to remain resolute until the current APC government of impunity is dethroned through the ballot.
He also expressed disappointment in the INEC chairman whom he said had subjected Nigerians to untold hardship, saying that the people were angry and even those who were sympathizing with the president would be forced to change their minds.
Governor Ortom, however, sued for calm and patience among Nigerians, adding that what they needed to do at this critical time was to keep a date with the rescheduled elections.