Samuel Ortom, the governor of Benue State, spoke out against the demolition of PDP campaign billboards in Gboko on Saturday.
On Friday, some thugs tore down Ortom campaign billboards that had been placed in key locations throughout Gboko town.
Some of the billboards that were demolished bore no images of the PDP’s presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, but rather those of the governor as senatorial candidate and Titus Uba, the party’s nominee for governor.
Senator Iyorchia Ayu, national leader of the PDP, is from Gboko, the political center of the Tiv people.
Governor Ortom condemned the incident and urged care from party followers, warning that it could start an unwanted crisis in the region.
According to a statement from Terver Akase, the governor’s special adviser on media and publicity, no person or organization has the right to remove political opponents’ campaign materials under any circumstances.
The governor claimed that everyone has the right to participate in democracies freely, and that no one has the fundamental right to intimidate or harass others.
“He (Ortom) asserts that the adoption of electronic voting has enhanced the nation’s electoral system and that candidates who are optimistic about their chances of winning should canvass for votes among the populace rather than criticize rivals.
“Governor Ortom calls on security personnel to look into the events in Gboko and prosecute those involved to serve as a warning to others.
But in a prompt response, Rev. Fr. Hyacinth Alia, the press assistant for Kula Tersoo of the All Progressives Congress, who cleared the opposition party, called the billboards’ destruction a “PDP family affair.”
Tersoo said that the PDP should conduct an internal investigation into the incident, saying that the facts at their disposal suggested that their members, who felt betrayed by the absence of Atiku’s images on those billboards, were responsible for the destruction.
“Go to Yandev Roundabout; you will notice that Atiku Abubakar’s billboards, with his images, are still standing there.
“You ask them (PDP) if anything happens to their billboards in other places they’ve been campaigning, like Vandeikya, Logo, Katsina-Ala, and others; but Gboko is Senator Iyorchia Ayu’s home, and I read a post of one of the PDP members who is from there, who said any billboard without Atiku would be taken down.”
“So, count us,” (APC) out of their internal crisis.”