A member of the House of Representatives, Mark Gbillah, said his popularity may have sent jitters to camp of the Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom and his Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state, a reason he said was responsible for the move they are adopting to frustrate free and fair election.
Gbillah who represents the Gwer West/Gwer East Federal Constituency of Benue State is the Senatorial Candidate of the Labour Party for the 2023 National Assembly election, a post Ortom is also vying for on the platform of PDP.
According to him, the Benue State chapter of PDP has been instituting multiple court cases against opposition political parties in order to see the disqualification of their candidates, thereby leaving its own with no one to contest with, alleging also that Governor Ortom was behind publication of a fake news against him by one of his aides on the erroneous listing of his name under the Labour Party, as well as the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP), after he duly resigned membership and withdrew from the race on the platform of the later.
Gbillah, while reacting to the online publication that he has been disqualified by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) because his name appeared as candidate for two different political parties, over the weekend noted that the Ortom’s camp has been all out to discredit him, explaining that his lawyers have approached the court against INEC over the said error.
“While it is true that INEC’S publication on 20th September 2022 of the list of National (Presidential, Senate and House of Representatives) candidates for the 2023 general elections indicated my name as the candidate for both Labour Party and New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP) for the Benue North-West Senatorial District Elections, this publication was erroneous and without my knowledge and I have since initiated necessary legal action against INEC and NNPP in order to correct this grievous error…”, he said.
He said mixup was “alleged to have occurred because of NNPP’S inability to upload the name of their replacement candidate to the INEC portal within the timeline provided by INEC, and INEC’S publication of the last name sent by NNPP without taking into cognizance my resignation of membership and withdrawal as candidate of the NNPP…”
The lawmaker further disclosed that his resignation and withdrawal from the NNPP was accompanied by an affidavit he deposed to on 7th July 2022, and his joining the Labour Party where he participated in its primaries “where I was returned elected unopposed as the Labour Party candidate for the election”.