By Peter Duru, Makurdi
The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, has raised concern over the destruction of its campiagn materials in parts of Benue state by the opposition.
The acting Chairman of the party in the state, Mr. Isaac Mffo who raised the alarm Thursday in Makurdi lamented that while the PDP was playing by the rules, the opposition were disrespecting the tenets of the peace accord they all signed.
He said “as a disciplined political party, a major player in the coming elections, and the incumbent holders of the popular mandate of the Benue electorate, we have a responsibility to be in the lead of efforts to ensure that the coming elections hold in the state under the best possible conditions, such as will serve to deepen the democratic culture among us.
“We understand, therefore, the weight of the responsibility on us to lead from the front going into the coming elections, and both lawfully and morally, we are fulfilling the requirements expected of us as a political party, having signed to the Peace Accord for free and fair elections together with our opponents and as well we have been in the lead of interfacing with relevant agencies of state for the purpose of ensuring a healthy atmosphere within which to hold peaceful electioneering campaigns.
“We have received notices from and held meetings with the Benue State Internal Revenue Service (BIRS), the Benue State Urban Development Board, the Advertisement Regulatory Commission of Nigeria (ARCON), the purpose being for us to abide by the rules governing conduct of campaigns in the areas of mounting of billboards, pasting of posters as well as placement of advertisements.
“We have paid stipulated levies for carrying out some of the above listed activities, and this we do to lead by example as the ruling political party in Benue State, however, sadly, many of the campaign materials we have mounted have been vandalised and destroyed by our opponents who are yet to be known or apprehended by security agents whom we have taken this matter to.
“We must state here that law and order obtain in an environment and atmosphere where all parties concerned are committed to playing by the rules. A situation where one party alone plays by the rules while others flout the rules with impunity cannot be said to be truly one where law and order prevails.
“PDP in Benue State has through the course of the ongoing campaign season been at the receiving end of all manner of unacceptable conduct from the opposition, most notably, the All Progressives Congress (APC) which has made it a routine to deploy lies, fabrications and deliberately inciting rhetoric against our great party and its candidates.”
While recalling the lies being peddled by the opposition about the health status of its governorship candidate, Mr. Titus Uba, who took ill recently, the acting Chairman urged the opposition, “particularly APC, to put the state and humanity above their quest for power which does regularly goes to the desperate and extreme ends of deploying mischief and lies as weapons of political warfare, for if indeed they seek power for the good of the people and society, they will be temperate in their approaches to issues of politicking and electioneering.
“There is also the matter of anxiety and confusion being generated by the activities of some yet to be identified elements who are reported to be going about in our rural areas with documents with which they are requesting and in some cases collecting voter identification details of our people.
The motives of such elements are suspect and while we call on the people to shun them and their activities, we also call on security agents to investigate and apprehend those persons, as their activities very likely could be targeted at subverting the electoral process and distorting the popular mandate of the Benue electorate.”