By Peter Duru
MAKURDI â€” As the campaigns for the 2011 elections hot up in Benue State, supporters of Chief Barnabas Gemade and incumbent Senator Joseph Akaargerger, the two leading contenders for the Benue North-East senatorial district, were alleged to have attacked each other at the weekend in what would have snowballed into a major crisis in the state.
Vanguard gathered that the incident which occurred in Vandeikya Local Government Area of the state drew the ire of paramount rulers in the area who decried the development when it was brought to their notice by Senator Akaargerger.
According to our source, PDP leaders including traditional rulers who convened a meeting to address the rising tension between the leading contenders had implored Akaargerger to produce his supporters whom he claimed were battered by Gemadeâ€™s supporters but he failed to do so.
However, in a dramatic twist, Akaagerger called at the PDP state secretariat in Makurdi yesterday morning where he produced a young man in torn shirt before the party executives, claiming that he was one of his supporters allegedly attacked by Gemadeâ€™s supporters.
But in a swift reacting to the allegation, Gemade who was also at the state secretariat to state his own side of the story before the party leadership dismissed the claims as untrue and baseless.
According to him, â€œthese are all lies, there was nothing like that. The fact is that lies and blackmail have no place in todayâ€™s politics. These types of gimmicks are too pedestrian for somebody like me.â€
Gemade denies being PDP Reform Forum member
The former PDP national chairman also debunked reports that he was amongst the PDP Reform Forum that wants the National Working Committee of the party sacked.
â€œI am not a member of any group. My name was never mentioned. So people should find another way of telling lies and stop using my name,â€ Gemade said.
He refuted allegation in some quarters that he was sponsoring an ANPP aspirant from Ukum LGA of the state for the position of governorship in 2011 general elections, maintaining that he was not a member of ANPP hence could not be seen promoting any aspirant from the party.
Akaargerger fails to substantiate claims
However, Akaargerger failed to substantiate his claims before newsmen as he hurriedly left the PDP secretariat when accosted by journalists.