By Peter Duru with agency report
MAKURDI — The Benue State Chairman of the Conference of Nigerian Political Parties, CNPP, Mr. Baba Agan has stated that residents of Benue North East senatorial zone rejected Governor Gabriel Suswam’s senatorial bid because he had much money to run his campaigns but refused to pay backlog of civil servants’ salaries.
Agan said yesterday in Makurdi, the state capital, that the governor caused his own defeat by Senator Barnabas Gemade of the APC, in the senatorial district.
He spoke even as Suswam has vowed to challenge the results of the Benue North East Senatorial polls released on Monday by INEC in court on grounds of electoral malpractices.
Gemade polled 140,715 votes to defeat Suswam of the PDP who polled 118,603 votes.
He told Vanguard that Suswam ought to have seen his defeat coming.
Agan said: “Suswam actually prepared the grounds for his own defeat and the routing of the PDP in Benue State because he failed to do the needful.
“He ought to have seen his defeat coming, because in the first place, he rejected himself from the onset, or how can a serious minded Governor embark on electioneering campaigns when he is owing over five months salaries of workers in a purely civil service state like Benue?
“Our people were being owed salaries but Suswam had so much money to throw around in his campaigns.
“Perhaps he took everyone for granted but failed to realize that the women, traders, students, workers, pensioners at both the state and local government levels were deeply aggrieved and the only way we could openly vent our anger was by stopping him.
“Our people rejected his money and taught him that no single individual is bigger than our state; and the earlier the likes of Suswam realize this, the better for our prospective leaders.’’
Meanwhile, addressing newsmen in Makurdi, Suswam’s agent in the election, Solomon Wombo, accused the INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner, REC, Prof Istifinus Dafwang, of partisanship.
Wombo, who is also the Special Adviser to the governor on Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, said the REC displayed obvious partisanship when he excluded the PDP in most decisions during the election.
He accused the REC of allowing the APC to convey result sheets to Makurdi without agents of the PDP, thereby allowing them the opportunity to manipulate figures.
“ When the the REC took the decision to change the collation centre for the constituency from Katsina-Ala to Makurdi, he never told the PDP but relayed the decision to the APC.