Benue State Governor Hyacinth Iormem Alia yesterday suspended the House of Assembly primary in Guma Constituency scheduled for Guma local government area.
The governor said the exercise was suspended because of the unruly behaviour of some National Assembly caucus members of the All Progressives Congress (APC), who threatened to hijack the process.
He said in a statement that although these unnamed federal legislators were not from the constituency and local government, they intruded and wanted to shift the venue to an unknown destination.
The governor alleged that these intruders wanted to perpetrate some irregularities, thereby going against the pattern of the rule of law set by the governor.
Speaking with reporters at the Old Banquet Hall of Government House, Makurdi, Alia said he put the primary on hold to avoid crisis in the state.
He lamented that certain individuals had planned to truncate the shadow poll deny the stakeholders and delegates the freedom to exercise their franchise.
Fr. Alia said: “This posses some security threats in Guma local government and it became imperative for me to calm the nerves of all the party stakeholders, and delegates for the by-election primary down, who were feeling disenfranchised.
“In the last seven months, and counting, we have been experiencing relative peace, and efforts are being made by all the security agencies in the state that peace returns to the state permanently.
“So, I wouldn’t want all those efforts we have put in place to be in vein. I wouldn’t want anything that would resemble or even trigger non peace and insecurity at any corner, not only in Guma local government, but the entire state. And this is why I suspend the delegate primary election that is expected to be in place today (Saturday 6 January, 2024).
“Sad enough, the party faithfuls came out to exercise their franchise but were stopped at the gate. Some people that do not belong to the local government at all. Some big politicians from other locals governments, came and hijacked the process and even the officials that came in to do the elections, locked all the stakeholders out and then the youths were becoming quite emotional about the disenfranchisement and then I have to come in.
“Please, dear party faithfuls, you must assist me and all our security agencies to keep peace in the state. People are saying peace is returning to the state and it remains my prerogative to return even the IDPs back to their ancestral homes and farmlands.
“The same Guma local government where we are expected to hold this election, is the most vulnerable local government in the state and if I don’t come in immediately to arrest thea situation, a number of things can come in to take place. I wouldn’t want any bloodshed. People get quite sensitive and sentimental on issues of politics. So it remains my prerogative to maintain peace and security in the state.
“I have charged the security heads in the state to ensure that their is peace and calm in the local government just like any other local government in the state. I am working for you, and we are all working for the development of Benue State. That is my priority is your Governor.”
A statement by the governor’s aide, Donald Kumun, said the chairman of the primary election committee, Prof. Kabiru Ibrahim, had requested that screened aspirants and elected delegates for the conduct of the primary to converge at Avine Agbom Hotel Daudu, in Guma local government area, by 8:am before some people invaded the venue.