The national president of Benue Youths Forum (BYF), Comrade Terrence Kuanum, has raised alarm that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) was under intense pressure from high quarters to subvert the state governorship re-run election in favour of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Kuanum also said INEC and the federal government should create a level playing ground to allow Benue people vote in their choice as governor during the re-run.
Comrade Kuanum, who spoke with newsmen Friday Makurdi also warned that any external interference to skew the process would be resisted by the youths.
He said those plotting to compel the Benue state resident electoral commissioner (REC) to compromise the election against the wishes of majority of the people should also be prepared to also make available body bags to evacuate Benue youths whom, he said, are prepared to die for a course they believe in.
Kuanum said the youths had it on good authority that the state REC, Dr Nentawe Yilwatda, was allegedly under intense pressure from the All Progressives Congress to subvert the outcome of the election and announce the APC candidate as winner.
“The plan is for INEC to announce the APC candidate winner of the election while PDP heads to the tribunal to seek justice which will not be served.
“The APC and its co-travelers are putting pressure on INEC to destroy Benue state for their own greed even when it is obvious that the rerun in Benue is nothing but an academic exercise because Governor Samuel Ortom has a lead margin of over 80,000 votes.
“Moreover, we also have it on record that in the 179 polling units where elections were cancelled are known PDP strongholds with registered voter strength of 121,019. There, not more than 70,000 of the electorates have Permanent Voters’ Cards (PVCs); even at that, there is no way voter turn-out in these places can hit 40 percent.
“Benue youths have said and we will reiterate that nobody would impose a governor on us. We will freely choose our governor and he is the one who has continued to stand in defence of the people and that is why we came out en masse a week ago to vote him to show gratitude and we will do it again on March 23.”
When contacted, the INEC head of Voter Education and Publicity in the state, Mr Emma Okpe said, “It is not true that INEC is under pressure to announce anybody winner of the March 23 rerun, these are mere rumours in the town.”