Several Benue youths on Wednesday stormed the streets of Makurdi, the Benue state capital, to protest the recent call by the All Progressives Congress, (APC) for the deployment of the military to the state to oversee Saturday’s governorship and state House of Assembly elections in the state.
Wednesday’s protest, It was gathered, was a sequel to the Tuesday’s protest by some youths of the All Progressives Congress (APC) to the Force Headquarters in Abuja calling for the deployment of more security personnel to the state for Saturday’s governorship and state House of Assembly elections.
Recall that leaders of the APC in the state including a former governor, Senator George Akume, and the Jime/Ode Campaign Organization had variously called for the deployment of more security for this Saturday’s elections.
However, on Wednesday, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) youths matched to the Benue Government House to register their protest.
The bore various placards with inscriptions such as “We say no to the militarisation of Benue”, “Where was the military when our people were butchered by armed herdsmen”, “Don’t use the military to rig Benue elections”, “APC don’t drag the military into politics.”
Leader of the protesting youths and one of the founding members of the Movement Against Fulani Occupation, (MAFO) Pastor Dave Ogbole, said the request for the deployment of the military for election purposes in the state was suspicions and smacked of an intention to both strangulate the people and rig the elections.
Ogbole who noted that the group was aware of the recent deployment of top military personnel whom they heard has no regards for a civil relationship, insisted that “Benue youths say no to the plot.”
“When the people of our state were subjected to unimaginable trauma occasioned by ceaseless killings and sacking of Benue communities by armed herdsmen, those now calling for the military for election purposes failed to impress it on the Federal government to deploy the military to stem the killing.”
Governor Samuel Ortom, while receiving the protesting youths, pointed out that elections in the state had so far been peaceful and wondered why leaders of the APC were bent on using the military to subvert the coming election.
“All we demand is a level playing field for all the parties. We are going into the elections prepared and for us, it is not a do-or-die matter because we know and they also know that Benue is PDP and the people will resist any attempt to subvert the process.”