Rose Ejembi, Makurdi
Former ambassadors and envoys from Benue State have appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to request the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) declare the candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Governor Samuel Ortom, winner of the March 9 elections and cancel the planned supplementary elections in Benue on March 23.
The former envoys include Amb. Dennis Ukume (Cote’ D Voire), Amb. Senator Prof. lyorwuese Hagher (Canada, Mexico), Amb. Godwin O. Agamah (Republic of Guinea Bissau), Amb. Chive Kaave (Argentina) and Amb. Matthew Adoli (Republic of Togo).
In an open letter, the ex-envoys enjoined the President to request INEC prevail on the Independent INEC to follow the example it set in Bauchi by setting up a committee to investigate the inconclusive return of the Benue gubernatorial poll.
Amb. Iyorwuese Hagher who read the open letter on behalf of his other colleagues before newsmen in Makurdi on Tuesday, enthused that the Benue gvoernorship elections have already been won and lost.
“Mr President should advise INEC to do the needful to reverse itself through the removal of votes tallied from Guma, Azendeshi, Vandeikya, and Mbalom wards as not among the votes cancelled, but wards where the parties each scored zero each; and to declare Dr, Samuel Ortom as winner of the Benue governorship elections 2019.
“Mr President, just like the Nigerian people elected you to a second term the majority of Benue people have also elected Governor Samuel Ortom to a second term with a clear winning margin of over 81000 votes over his keenest challenger.
“Like you, Ortom has not been a perfect leader. But both of you are beneficiaries of God’s common grace and the people’s ability to forgive and give a second chance.
They opined that the performances of the APC and the PDP in all the elections in Benue State have justified the Victory of the governor over his rival contender even as they urged the President not to permit a rerun that is capable of precipitating massive irregularities, corruption and violence in the state.
“The PDP won the Governorship elections. It is more honourable to declare them winners rather than allow a festering use of militia and put the lives of citizens in harms way. These fears are real.
“As diplomats, we believe that if you defend the rights of the Benue citizens to choose their leaders, you will be building bridges for lasting peace. You would have paved the way for we the elders and statesmen and women in Benue State to bring Governor Ortom and other Benue politicians to share in your vision of reconciliation, peace and progress for all Nigerians.
“We trust that God will help you to build a new Nigeria that is based on love rather than hate, and on inclusivity rather than exclusion. As Nigerians we all are tied in a destiny of mutuality. May God Almighty help you with good health, good advisers and the grace to leave a befitting legacy,” they concluded.