Youths suspected to be members of All Progressives Congress, yesterday, went on rampage in Makurdi town, destroying Governor Samuel Ortom’s and Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, campaign billboards.
The said youths, who moved in a motorcade, created tension and fear in the town while people scampered for safety for fear of being caught in a reprisal by PDP youths. It however took the intervention of the Police to avert a crisis in the town.
Reacting to the development, Governor Ortom appealed to PDP supporters and residents to exercise restraint and remain calm.
In a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Terver Akase, the governor said: “We must all remain calm despite the provocation by some youths of APC who went on rampage today destroying billboards and posters belonging to PDP within the State capital.
“Senator George Akume who propelled the youths to embark on the destruction of PDP campaign materials is only lamenting his defeat at last Saturday’s election by inciting youths to cause mayhem in Makurdi and other towns in the State.
“Since 1999, Dr. George Akume has been winning elections but those he defeated never went on rampage in the town to incite youths against him. They accepted defeat in good faith and those who were aggrieved took their cases to the election tribunal to seek redress.
“For him to lose the last election and choose to embark on destruction of campaign billboards and posters of his opponents thereby causing traffic problems in town, is quite unfortunate and regrettable.
“As a leader, Akume is expected to be a good example to the young generation by toeing the path of peace in the interest of the state. I advise him and anyone else who wants to destabilise Benue State to respect the rule of law and approach the courts if they feel aggrieved over results of the elections.”
Reacting, the state Publicity Secretary of APC, Mr. James Ornguga, insisted that Senator Akume never authorised the destruction of PDP billboards in the town.
Ornguga said: “What happened was that this morning Senator Akume drove around town in a motorcade to celebrate the victory of President Muhammadu Buhari; he did not even invite his party supporters to join him.
“However, out of joy his fans followed him. So I was even surprised when I passed through High Level Roundabout and saw what happened. He did not authorise that at all.
“In fact, when I brought it to his notice, he was surprised and condemned it strongly, saying that such practice was primitive, barbaric and not in tandem with modern day democratic culture at all.
“So he has warned those behind the act to stop it forthwith.”