State Governor, Samuel Ortom, on Saturday condemned the destruction of campaign billboards mounted by the Peoples Democratic Party in parts of Gboko.
Hoodlums had on Friday pulled down campaign billboards of Governor Samuel Ortom that were placed in strategic places in Gboko town.
Some of the billboards destroyed had no pictures of the presidential candidate of the PDP, Alhaji Abubakar Atiku, but were adorned with pictures of the governor, as senatorial candidate and Titus Uba, the party governorship candidate
Gboko is the traditional political seat of Tiv nation where the National Chairman of PDP, Senator Iyorchia Ayu, hails from.
Condemning the act, Ortom said such act was capable of triggering avoidable crisis in the area and sued for caution on the part of party supporters.
In the statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Terver Akase, the governor noted that no individual or group had the right to pull down campaign materials of political opponents, no matter the circumstances.
The governor said democracy guaranteed the freedom of participation to everyone and no individual had the constitutional authority to intimidate or harass others.
“He (Ortom) states that the introduction of electronic voting has strengthened the country’s electoral system and anyone who is confident about his chances at the polls should canvass for votes among the people rather than attacking other contestants.
“Governor Ortom urges security operatives to investigate the incidents in Gboko and bring those responsible to justice, to serve as a deterrent to others.
But in a swift reaction, the media aide to Reverend Father Hyacinth Alia, the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress governorship candidate, Kula Tersoo, who exonerated the opposition party, described the destruction of the billboards as ‘PDP family affair’.
Tersoo said that the party (PDP) should look inward and investigate the matter, adding that information at their disposal indicated that the destruction was carried out by their members who felt aggrieved that Atiku’s pictures were not on those billboards.
He said, “Go to Yandev Roundabout, you will see that the billboards there which carried pictures of their presidential candidate; Atiku Abubakar is standing in that picture.
“You ask them (PDP) if anything happened to their billboards in other areas they had been campaigning such as; Vandeikya, Logo, Katsina-Ala and others.
“But Gboko is the home of Senator Iyorchia Ayu and I read a post of one of the PDP members who is from there who said that in Gboko, any billboard without Atiku will be pulled down. So, count us (APC) out of their internal crisis.”
Speaking on the matter, the Commissioner of Police, Benue State, Wale Abass, directed all Area Commanders and Divisional Police Officers to ensure that no political campaign posters or billboards are destroyed.
In a statement issued by the command spokesperson, SP, Catherine Anene warned against any act that does not happen within their areas of responsibility.
The CP also called on political party executives to recall that on 9/12/2022, they had a peace pact that was signed and stated therein that peace would be maintained throughout the electoral period.
The statement read in parts, “The CP calls on party executives to warn their subjects to desist from such acts. Meanwhile, party executives will also be held responsible if they fail to provide their subjects who are perpetuating this barbaric act.”