As politicians fight for votes across the country, the Tor Tiv, Prof. James Ayatse, has said that Benue people were willing to vote candidates that would tackle their security concerns.
Ayatse stated this on Friday in Makurdi, when the Presidential Candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, met with Benue Council of Traditional Rulers.
Ayatse, who is also the Chairman of the council, said that the state needed political leaders that would build damaged infrastructure and protect lives.
“It is only the living that enjoy the good things of life.
“Benue people consider their security a topmost priority. We have suffered for too long, in fact, for more than a decade, and we are still suffering from the killings by herdsmen.
“The problem is not the grazing. Our major headache is the killing of my people. Before I came here, I got information that herdsmen have killed so many people in Kwande Local Government Area, just two days ago.
“We are not against any Nigerian coming to Benue. We are farmers and if you kill us, there will be hunger in the land. Our borders are unmanned and all manners of people come in to attack us,” he said.
He, therefore, appealed to the PDP presidential candidate to fix federal roads in the state, if elected as president of the country.
He also decried the absence of federal educational institutions, especially Federal Colleges of Education and Polytechnics.
The Tor Tiv expressed the willingness of the state to volunteer some of its schools to be converted to federal colleges and polytechnics.
He also appealed to Atiku to consider converting the Benue State University Teaching Hospital to a federal teaching hospital, if elected president.
Responding, Atiku promised that Benue people would be given adequate protection, when he is elected as president.
He reiterated his commitment to the agitations for restructuring, saying that the country needed to restructure for economic growth.
”I will ensure that power is devolved to the states and local governments. If that is done, most development issues will be addressed. Restructuring is a true solution to our problems,” he said.
Gov. Samuel Ortom, in his remarks, said that Atiku was capable of delivering the country from the shackles of poverty, insecurity and other challenges.