By JAMES EZEMA
Air of uncertainty hover over the just concluded Benue State local government election as the Conference of Nigeria Political Parties (CNPP), which called for its annulment, has begun mobilisation to protest what it described as a rape of democracy in Benue State local government election.
The group also called for the scrapping of State Electoral Commissions across the country if democracy most thrive at the grassroots level.
It further observed that “the purported local government election in Benue and the inauguration of its outcome in the state” was “a deliberate effort to foist a one party democracy on the state by Governor Samuel Ortom”.
The CNPP’s Secretary General, Chief Willy Ezugwu, while speaking with journalists in Abuja on Tuesday disclosed that the umbrella body of all registered political parties and associations in Nigeria still rejects the process Benue election and its outcome.
“Therefore, we’re already mobilising Nigerians and the civil society groups across the country to resist this imposition and open threat to our democracy.
“As I’m talking to you, all the Civil Society and Human Rights organizations in the country have united to end this impunity once and for all. We shall use Benue as an example and a warning to other state governors who are tramping the tenets of democracy under foot through a charade they call council elections.
“I can tell you that the sham in Benue was orchestrated by Governor Samuel Ortom and the chairman of Benue State Electoral Commission, John Tsuwa Tor on the 3rd of June 2017 to exclude political participation at the local level.
“That is why we want state electoral bodies scrapped. We are happy that the good people of Benue State boycotted the election as a major voice in protesting against the establishment; that explains the unprecedented voter apathy on the day of the election. The Benue people spoke loud and clear”, he said.
Asked what the special interest in Benue was, Chief Ezugwu swiftly responded, “If we condone this, it will go down in world’s history and will embolden other Governors and their State electoral body to continue with this practice in Nigeria.
“If this charade is allowed to stay unchallenged, it will be tantamount to truncating Nigeria’s democracy and uprooting it from the roots”, he said.
Asked to give details of the planned protest, he said, “When we get to the bridge, we will cross it. The details have been concluded and the civil society groups are set.
“And we are insisting on the total cancellation of the exercise and a return of over N1.2 billion siphoned in the name of the failed election”, the CNPP said.