From Scholastica Onyeka, Makurdi
A group under the auspices of Atiku Grassroot Movement, (AGM),in Benue State, has described as a fallacy, reports that Atiku or Ayu sponsored the disruption of Governor Samuel Ortom’s senatorial campaign rally in Gboko, last Tuesday.
Briefing newsmen in Makurdi on Thursday, leader of the group, Mr Joseph Asawa, who is the Publicity Coordinator of the movement in Benue, said they are compelled to present “a true representation of facts of what transpired at the J.S Tarka stadium venue of the PDP Zone B Senatorial Campaign flag off on 29th November 2022.
He said AGM was shocked that after the flag-off of Governor Samuel Ortom’s Senatorial Campaign Rally in Gboko, a sponsored group turned around to blame Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and the National Chairman of PDP, Sen. Iyorchia Ayu for their nightmare.
Asawa quoted the group saying “some people apparently sponsored by the camp of Atiku in Benue State, stormed the JS Tarka Stadium, venue of the rally chanting war songs”.
He said the group lied because as law abiding and peaceful members of the society and the party, they can only attend their party event and do not need to storm it.
Asawa narrated that “When the build up to the 2023 general election began, many of us were officially drawn close to the Atiku Presidential bid by Honourable Terzungwe Atser who later became the Chief Convener of the Atiku Grassroot Movement (AGM) in Nigeria.
“We therefore supported the cause till Alhaji Atiku Abubakar won the primaries. After the primaries, the Atiku Grassroot Movement was formally launched and I was made the Publicity Coordinator of the movement in Benue State, we have been proactively mobilizing the grassroots to vote for all the candidates of the PDP from the bottom to the top.
He said the movement, after formation, on 15th November 2022 mobilized their canvassers to attend and add shine to the Benue North-East Senatorial Campaign Flagg-off of Sen. Gabriel Torwua Suswam at Adikpo town in Kwande Local Government area and the AGM delegation at that occasion was accorded special recognition appropriately.
Asawa said “It was in the same spirit of solidarity that we equally mobilized our members to attend and add shine to the Senatorial flag-off of the Executive Governor of Benue State, Dr. Samuel Ortom on 29th November, 2022.”
“He narrated that at the event, some of their members who were adorned in Atiku/Okowa T-Shirt were refused entry as others were harassed, thoroughly beaten and some sustained wounds, for wearing campaign materials with Atiku/Okowa insignia.
He stated that before he could reach out for a peaceful resolution, some hefty young men descended on him, pulling off his cap, snatching his handsets, punching and dragging him on the ground like a common thief.
Asawa said even though he was saved by a former PDP Youth Leader of Gboko local government, Shawa Ugye, he become unconscious and was rushed to a medical facility where he regained consciousness after taking a few drips.
While the general beating of our members at the Ortom Senatorial Campaign Flag-off was ongoing, Atiku’s presidential campaign materials were roundly destroyed in Gboko town.
The group leader who disclosed that abused AGM members were still receiving treatment in various locations in the state, vowed that despite the infraction in Gboko, they are resolutely committed to delivering their principal and all other PDP candidates come 2023.