The Benue State Governor, Mr. Gabriel Suswam, has rejected the votes declared in favour of Senator Barnabas Gemade as the winner of the Benue Zone ‘A’ Senatorial District election.
The governor, in his formal reaction to Gemade’s victory in Makurdi on Tuesday, called for the cancellation of some wards in places like Logo, Ukum as well as other parts of Konshisha and Vandeikya Local Government Areas of the state.
The Returning Officer for the zone, Prof. Mohammed Adah, had on Monday night, returned Gemade, an All Progressives Congress senator, as the winner of Saturday’s election, having polled 140,715 votes.
He said Suswam, a sitting Peoples Democratic Party governor, scored 118,608 votes to lose in his ambition to occupy the senate seat.
But, the governor complained that “irregularities” marred the poll, including alleged use of “armed persons” to harass voters in several wardsý.
He also alleged that armed persons attacked electoral officers and confiscated results from them.
Suswam added that some of the results declared in favour of Gemade were “mutilated and inflated figures” that were awarded to his opponent.
The governor, who spoke with journalists, stated that in areas considered to be his stronghold, INEC cancelled the results for reasons he could not comprehend.
He accused the Resident Electoral Commissioner in the state, Prof. Istifanus Dafwang, of colluding with his opponent to deny him victory.
Suswam said in spite of assuring all the parties that he would not announce the contested results, Dafwang went ahead to award victory to Gemade without further recourse to his agentsý.
“I requested that the results be cancelled because the number that voted was more than the number accredited.
Suswam, said he no longer had confidence in Dafwang
But, Dafwang dismissed the complaints of Suswam and his agents, saying that INEC applied its elections guidelines and rules in declaring results.
He described Benue as an “unnecessarily volatile” area where people often see elections as a do or die affair.
Dafwang said his staff went through life-threatening situations to conduct elections in the state.
He observed that rather than commend INEC staff for escaping to Makurdi alive from Suswam’s zone, the governor was protesting.