Benue North-East Senatorial District APC Primaries: My Story

Posted: December 12, 2014 in Benue 2015, political, Politics, press releases/ News letter
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Many would have began to wonder over the long silence I have maintained since the loss of my senatorial bid to Senator Barnabas Gemade on 8th December 2014.

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Andrew Ayabam

The election which was held in Katsina-Ala was a charade in itself as my party the All Progressives Congress ( APC ), pre – determined outcomes which in connivance with other elements within the party murdered democracy on that fateful day.
I have taken out time to review these events which culminated into my loss. On the 8th December,  2014 with your prayers and unmatched support I went into the primaries for the Benue North-East Senatorial seat, but this election through the machinations of those who have held our destinies hostage over the years was marred with unimaginable electoral offences and irregularities.
The election was won by Sen. Barnabas Gemade who at the time of voting was not yet a member of our party, All Progressives Congress ( APC ), as he was until the day of the elections,  still accepting appointments and responsibilities in the Peoples Democratic Party ( PDP ) (see page 12 Sunday Trust newspaper 7 December, 2014).
The elections which was intended for three honourable aspirants ( Maagbe, Kyanyon and myself), had four people participating with Gemade who entered Katsina Ala with a bullion van and a chest of assorted weapons.He started his campaign by dishing out one million Naira each to the seven Local Governments in Zone A, which later increased to two million as the election progressed, while delegates got ranging from N10,000.00 to N30,000.00, depending on time of voting.
In as much as we were not aware of his entrance into the race neither did we know when he was screened for the race since the screening committee had completed its assignment and relocated to Abuja since 28th November 2014,  we still hoped for a free and fair election, however this was never to be.
The elections began without a presentation of the list of delegates, accreditation of delegates was not done either, even when it was agreed later after complaints from my agents that accreditation should be done by show of membership card. This was observed little way into the elections until by orders of the new entrant, it was jettisoned to enable non delegates and sponsored thugs who were paid thirty thousand Naira each.
Even with the monetary inducement Gemade and his agents used thugs to intimidate and collect ballot papers from the delegates and voted for their candidate with disregard to whom the delegates wanted to vote.
Intermittently, we experienced power outages in the arena.The venue had no perimeter fence and only 2 light bulbs covering the whole area. There was no form of identification,no clearance of any sort as everybody moved around as freely as desired.The arena became a bazaar of sort as Gemade, his son and associates turned up the heat.
It was a common sight to see armed men in mufty and other strange attires brandishing different shapes and sizes of weapons.These men were patrolling the streets and smoking with directives to clear any obstacle in the way of his ambition.
An appeal by my agent to have the election suspended due to all these irregularities was rejected by the team who instead asked my agent to petition the conduct and results of the election if he felt cheated.
At this juncture,it was obvious that there was a failure in security so we had to run for our dear lives else we might not live to tell the story. Even my brave agents who insisted on staying on to see it to the end, were asked by thugs to leave the election venue or incur their wrath, which they (my agents) obliged for fear of their lives.
In the end the results came up as arranged by the party’s heirachy, with votes allocated with specific aim to embarrass me and the support you have shown me thus placing me third in the scores, even as no voting was carried out.  In as much as I am not satisfied with the manner and conduct of the elections, I am more distraught by the future of our democracy and Senatorial District.
I wish to use this opportunity to thank you all for your unflinching support and encouragement through out this process, even as we weigh our options to chart a direction for our future. I also would like to extend my appreciation to my fellow contestants,  Mr. Adaa Maagbe and  Engr. Kyanyon for their maturity and fair play.
Thank you and God bless us all.

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