BENUE GUBER: KWANDE STAKEHOLDERS REJECT UGBAH, UNONGO'S POSITIONS
Prominent indigenes of Kwande local government Area, in Benue, have dissociated themselves from the positions of Professor Steve Ugbah and Wantaregh Paul Unongo on the killing of Mr. Charles Ayede and last April's governorship polls in the state.
Ugbah, the defeated Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), governorship candidate in the elections and his nephew, Unongo, hitherto a People's Democratic Party (PDP), chieftain both claimed that Governor Gabriel Suswam had a hand in Ayede's murder and that the party lost the governorship election to the ACN.
But Professor John Sambe of the Benue State University, Chief Terlumun Akputu, transition committee chairman, Basil Kwembe, special adviser on security to the governor, Mrs. Margaret Icheen, former Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Moses Gbande, former member of the House of Representatives, Bem Dzoho, State PDP secretary; Geoffrey Ahobee, PDP chairman, with several other people from the area have rejected the claims.
The indigenes, who also included traditional rulers, youth and women leaders, retired senior civil servants and others, holding top positions in government addressed a press conference at the NUJ house in Makurdi.
They said what was worrisome to them was the likelihood of statements made by the duo triggering violence, mayhem, hatred and acrimony in the local government area.
The leaders said a day after Professor Ugbah addressed a press conference, 'a group of irate ACN youths in Ajio, Shangev-ya burnt down houses of PDP loyalists in Shangev-ya district, including the house of one Torkwase Malu.''
The indigenes said the governorship candidate, in his press conference, constituted the accuser, prosecutor, and judge, returning a verdict of guilty on Governor Suswam over the death of Ayede as well as guilty verdict against INEC and Suswam regarding his loss at the election.
The statement they read said: 'Shortly after the recently concluded April, 2011 general elections, adjudged by both local and international observers to be most credible and fair, some politicians of Benue State origin, including Wantaregh Paul Unongo and the defeated ACN governorship candidate, Prof Steve Ugbah, embarked on a sustained dissemination of information aimed at causing confusion, disaffection, insecurity and casting aspersions on the person and office of the elected Governor of Benue State, Dr. Gabriel Suswam.
'This campaign of calumny was also intended to ridicule and desecrate the sanctity of the stool of the paramount ruler of the Tiv nation, High Royal Majesty, Dr. Alfred Akawe Torkula as well as create doubt in the minds of unsuspecting members of the public regarding the integrity and credibility of the April, 2011 polls.