Anger is brewing in Benue State over the manner a female House of Representatives aspirant, Mrs. Devaan Mom, has been shortchanged in the list of successful candidates sent to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) by the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Many party members are disgusted that the election at the weekend was marred by violence, alleged tampering with delegates’ list and vote buying.
Worse, the only female contender is believed to have been shoved aside though she emerged the consensus candidate after a meeting with state party officials in Makurdi, Benue State. They were all asked to pick a candidate other than self and she got two votes from others. Others got one each and one abstained, an insider said.
Said a source: “There was massive violence, vote buying and tampering with delegates list marred Kwande/Ushongo House of Reps primaries. Nobody was declared a winner. Ballots could not even be counted before the whole thing went haywire. Even police escaped with wounds as ethnic militia supporting two main contenders stormed the venue.”
Eyewitnesses explained that there are two Local Government Areas (LGAs) in that Federal Constituency: Ushongo and Kwande. Ushongo has 11 wards and Kwande has 15. At the time the process was truncated, not one ward in
Ushongo had voted.
Said One, “Kwande LG has 15 wards. Only 12 had cast their ballot fully when the exercise had to be truncated owing to violence Two contenders – who are who have operated as Speaker and member of the House of Reps – allegedly doctored the delegates’ list, both brought in well-armed thugs, and one of them went into massive vote buying at N10,000 apiece.”
“Things started out smoothly enough with all candidates enjoying reasonable patronage, then all of a sudden practically all the delegates, many of them fake started voting only for an aspirant.
“We soon started getting reports from … outside that one of them was paying for votes coupled with the fake delegates turning up, protests erupted and soon enough, thugs from both sides joined the fray,” one source added
It was gathered that following the disruption, a meeting was called in the home of Senator George Akume.
Those at the meeting were the former speaker, Hon. Terkimbi Ikyange; the incumbent, Hon. Iorember Wayo; Bar. Pius Akutah; Mrs. Devaan Mom; and other chieftains.
It was learnt that after Mrs. Mom emerged, some party officials were said to have approached her that she could not get the ticket because of her gender, since the senatorial ticket of the APC for the zone had gone to another woman.
“From then, political machinations came in until we heard another name had been forwarded to Abuja. If nothing is done to reverse the injustice, the men who pushed for her to contest, and the women feeling sidelined may be forced to look elsewhere,” a sympathetic party source from Benue said.