By Philip Dzeremo/Nicholas Dechi
Makurdi, March 24, 2019
Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)’s Gov. Samuel Ortom of Benue has promised to attract more development and other dividends of democracy to the state during his second term in office.
Ortom made the promise on Sunday in Makurdi while interacting with journalists over his re-election.
This is as the Benue chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC), has rejected the outcome of the Governorship election declared on Sunday, in his favour.
Ortom at the media session also gave the assurance of running an all- inclusive administration and called on those who contested with him to join in moving the state forward.
Ortom, who described his victory as “belonging to all”, said his doors were open to all.
According to him, “those who contested with me will be given the opportunity to contribute their quota to the development of the state.”
He said the people would benefit more in his second term.
The governor pledged to correct all mistakes made during his first term for the overall good of the state.
He said he dedicated his victory to God and the Benue people.
He promised to set up a reconciliation committee that would reconcile all the aggrieved people, adding that it would provide a platform for people to truly forgive one another.
He also commended the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for conducting credible polls.
Rejecting the re-election of Ortom, the state chapter of the APC said in a statement on Sunday in Makurdi that the results did not reflect the wishes of the people.
The statement signed by Prof. Eugene Aliegba, Secretary Jime/Ode Campaign Organisation, said that APC would challenge the results in court. .
INEC, on Sunday declared Ortom winner of both the governorship and supplementary polls conducted on March 9 and March 23, to determine the Benue governor.
Ortom polled 434,473 votes to defeat his closest rival, Mr Emmanuel Jime of the APC, who polled 345,155 votes.
The statement declared that the outcome of the poll was “totally unacceptable to the APC”.
It, however, thanked those who voted for Jime and Sam Ode, the party’s governorship and deputy governorship candidates in the election, and prayed God to reward them for their trust and confidence in the team.
“When we embarked on this journey many months ago, it was to translate to reality the dreams of a better future for our suffering people.
“We toured the entire state and made our case for wealth creation through agriculture, education reforms, infrastructure development and a welfare package for our senior citizens.
“We told our people of our plans for improved capacity and welfare for civil servants, and a health policy that covers all Benue residents.
“Our messages resonated with the electorate because they could tell that our projects were about service, not hinged on intent to occupy office for the sake of it.
“But, even as the results declared did not appear to reflect the will of most of these same people, we call on our supporters to remain calm and law abiding as they had been throughout the campaigns and electioneering period.
“They have our full assurance that as a party that believes in democracy, we will not accept a stolen election,” it added.
The statement implored the party faithful not to waver in their trust on the party to reclaim is mandate.
“Going into this contest, we were well aware of the fact that only one of two outcomes was possible – either we win fairly in line with the massive support we earned from the people, or another winner emerges through a credible and transparent process.
“We did not anticipate a third option that confers advantage to those who play dubiously outside the laid down rules of the game,” he said.
“We will make a case before the Elections Petitions Tribunal to subject the Benue governorship elections result to an integrity test. If we opt otherwise, we will be as guilty as those who undertake acts that undermine democracy.
“We have chosen to take action that insulates democracy from practices that threaten it,” the statement said.
The party, therefore, urged its members and well wishers to remain calm and refrain from acts that would jeopardise the existing peace in the state.