By NBF News

•Onoja and Mark
Gubernatorial candidate of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) in Benue State, Prof. Steve Ugbah has said the party would not be deterred in its efforts to win the hearts of the Benue people despite attacks on General Lawrence Onoja and others.

Onoja who is the Benue South Senatorial candidate of the party was attacked on Tuesday in Otukpo Icho by people alleged to be supporters of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) while he was on his way to receive some members of the PDP who defected to the ACN.

Onoja who alleged that the shooting was masterminded by the Senate President, David Mark, informed newsmen that he had about two weeks ago alerted the Police to the stockpile of arms in the area by a prominent politician but nothing was done to curtail it.

'David Mark cannot intimidate me out of the race.
We now have public sympathy because people have come to realize that ACN is the party for progress, peace and justice. My opponent is only a brigadier and not a General. In the army, you are not afraid of a junior officer, so he cannot intimidate me out of the race. Rather it is me who should intimidate him. We are continuing with the race and we are winning.'

This allegation came even as Senator David Mark Campaign Organisation described Onoja as a pathological liar, comparing his cries to the ranting of a drowning personality who is already facing political liquidation. The organisation insisted that Mark was a peaceful person who would never plan an attack on Onoja.

Speaking through its Director, Media and Publicity, Chief Elijah Adakole, the campaign organization maintained that Mark had won several elections without firing a shot at anybody, adding that that was why he was carrying his campaigns to the doorsteps of the electorate to sell himself and his plans to the people of the Benue South.

Onoja, who was also an ACN senatorial candidate, stated that immediately it happened, he reported the matter to the Commissioner of Police, the state Director of the State Security Services (SSS) as well as the Inspector General of Police. He said the security agencies were already doing well and urged them to do more to safeguard the lives of the people.

Onoja also called on President Goodluck Jonathan and security agencies in the country to preach, convince and educate other political parties especially the PDP to tolerate the opposition ahead of the forthcoming polls. Warning that politicians should not arm youths to kill to win elections, Onoja stressed, 'you do not impose yourself on people through the use of arms.

He appealed to INEC to make sure that arrangement for elections in Agatu and Okpokwu Local Government Areas were well monitored to prevent rigging during the elections. While urging the Idoma people to remain calm and focused as peace was gradually returning to the zone, Onoja maintained that the ACN was up to the task and sure of victory to win as it would no longer allow the PDP to rig itself to power.

Ugbah who visited Onoja in his Otukpo residence in company with his running mate, Alhaji Usman Abubakar and Senator Joseph Akaagerger vowed that the party would not be intimidated by shooting, maiming and even killing of some of its loyalists but would continue until victory was achieved for the party.

'You can shoot, maim or even kill us but we will not stop until we effect changes in the lives of the people. That is what democracy is all about. We must practice democracy the way it is done in civilized societies.'

When contacted for comments, the Commissioner of Police, Ibrahim Mohammed could not be reached as his phone rang severally without response.

However, the Area Commander of the Police in Otukpo, Mohammed Lawal who confirmed the attack diclosed stated that one other person was injured. He disclosed that a car was badly damaged but no arrest had been made at the time of filing the report. while investigation was still ongoing.