The Forum of former Nigerian Ambassadors and Envoys from Benue State, on Tuesday, stressed the need for the cancellation of the state’s governorship supplementary elections fixed for March 23 by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.
Addressing a news conference in Makurdi, the forum said it became imperative to call on President Muhammadu Buhari to step into the Benue inconclusive election situation by directing INEC to revisit the development because the re-run might plunge the state and the nation into chaos.
A former Nigeria’s High Commissioner to Canada and Ambassador to Mexico, Ambassador lyorwuese Hagher, who spoke on behalf of his other four colleagues, emphasised that the president should advise the INEC to do the needful to reverse itself through the removal of votes tallied from, at least four wards, as not among the votes cancelled and to declare Samuel Ortom as winner of the Benue 2019 governorship elections.
“Mr. President should request INEC to follow the example it set in Bauchi by setting up a Committee to investigate the inconclusive Return of the Benue Gubernatorial poll, do the needful and declare the PDP and HE Samuel Ortom as winner of the 9th March 2019 elections and cancel the planned supplementary elections in Benue on 23rd March 2019 as the Benue Gubernatorial elections have been won and lost.
“We are all from Benue State and have been first hand observers of the recently conducted INEC elections in the country.
“In Benue state, the drama of the 2019 general election is far from being over. Like other parts of the country, the elections witnessed a shocking level of violence that claimed the lives of fellow citizens,” the group said.
The forum maintained that as diplomats, they believed that if Buhari defended the rights of the Benue citizens to choose their leaders, he would be building bridges for lasting peace which will further pave the way for them, the elders and statesmen and women in Benue State, to bring Governor Ortom and other Benue politicians to share in his vision of reconciliation, peace and progress for all Nigerians.
Daily Trust reports that the PDP’s candidate, Ortom polled the highest votes of 410,576 during the March 9 elections while the APC’s candidate Barrister Emmanuel Jime trailed behind with 339, 022 votes, leaving a maximum difference of 81,554 votes which INEC declared was lower than total registered voters of 121, 019 where the exercises were either cancelled or not held.
The electoral umpire has published 204 polling units as those places affected where the supplementary elections would hold across the state with a registered voters strength put at 121,670 while a total of 109,733 PVCs had been collected by their owners in the areas affected.
Meanwhile, members of the forum at the news conference included; Ambassador Dennis Ukume, a former Nigeria’s Ambassador to Cote’ D Voire, Senator Prof. lyorwuese Hagher, who is a former Nigeria’s High Commissioner to Canada and Ambassador to Mexico, Godwin Agamah, a former Nigeria’s Ambassador to the Republic of Guinea Bissau, Barrister Chive Kaave, a former Nigeria’s Ambassador to Argentina and Matthew Adoli, who is a former Nigeria’s Ambassador to the republic of Togo.