Following the replacement of Mr Hien Biem with Dr. Stephen Hwande, as the gubernatorial candidate of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) in Benue State, the party has warned supporters against inciting violence.
Mr Biem who was the party’s initial standard-bearer was dropped due to plethora of allegations levelled against him by some members of the party.
National Secretary of SDP, Shehu Gabam handed down the warning, yesterday in Abuja when some youths from Benue State paid him a courtesy call and also to thank him for his prompt intervention in amicably resolving the matter.
Gabam, who charged members of the group to intensify their tempo in ensuring that the party’s candidate emerges in next year’s election, also appealed to them to go and obtain their Permanent Voter’s Card (PVCs) as a tool to dislodge both the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the All Progressive Congress (APC) in the state.
“The decision of the party is not parochial. It was done in the interest of the party. We are still working hard to win Benue State come 2019.
“You must have your PVCs and work as a team. SDP has no faction in Benue and we must strengthen the party in the state. We employ you to remain humble, avoid violence, and work for the progress of the party.”
Speaking earlier, the leader of group, Alaka Donald, said that with Stephen as its candidate, the election would be a coaster roller ride for the party.
“We are happy that the party deemed it necessary to recognise Hon. Stephen. We are going to step up the campaign to ensure that our candidate, coast home to victory. We have suffered enough in Benue State. We need the likes of Hon. Stephen to bail us out,” he added.
In another development, the Primate of King David International Ministry, Pastor Davidson Akhimien has challenged the Federal Government to stop the sponsorship of religious pilgrimages to either Jerusalem or Mecca.
Pastor Akhimien, who is also the presidential candidate of Grassroots Development Party of Nigeria (GDPN) ahead of next year’s election, made the appealed yesterday in Abuja when he delivered a keynote address at the Forum of Ministers for Peace and Reconciliation, titled: ‘The impact of religion on Nigeria’s democracy,’ noted that spirituality was a personal affairs.
According to him, “The present government policy on religious pilgrimages should be abolished. Pilgrimages should be private, personal and not a state affair.”
He also advised government to ensure “certification, registration, licencing and monitoring of religious clerics and organisations through a dedicated agency to help check extremist tendencies.
“Wherever religious education is taught, government should ensure that toleration doctrines are included in the syllabi and all such syllabi should be screened.
“As much as possible, state agents should desist from courting the participation of clerics in the political process. It should be noted that these crlerics have a cult-figure personality and their floowers may misinterpret government intentions whenever there is an overt and outlandish show of government patronage of their religious leaders.
The Edo State indigene, also lamented the poor state of governance in the country, promising to change the fortunes of Nigerians for good.
“It is a shame that since 1960, the economic situation has remain the same.
“I can see people mourning because of no food despite the economic endowment the country is blessed with with natural resources,” he added.
President of the forum, Bishop Fred Sam, frowned at the high rate of killings, stressing that God is not pleased with the situation.
Bishop Sam further admonished Christians to replicate the teachings of Christ in ensuring that peace prevail.