Benue State Governor Samuel Ortom on Saturday condemned the destruction of campaign billboards mounted by the Peoples Democratic Party in parts of Gboko.
Some hoodlums had on Friday pulled down campaign billboards of Ortom that were planted in strategic places in Gboko town.
Some of the billboards destroyed had no pictures of the presidential candidate of the PDP, Atiku Abubakar, but were adorned with pictures of the governor as senatorial candidate, and Titus Uba – the party’s governorship candidate.
Gboko is the political seat of the Tiv people where the national chairman of the PDP, Senator Iyorchia Ayu, hails from.
Condemning the act, Governor Ortom said such was capable of triggering an avoidable crisis in the area and called for caution on the part of party supporters.
In the statement issued 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 guarantees 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 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, Rev Fr Hyacinth Alia, the media aide to 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 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.
“Go to Yandev Roundabout, you will see that the billboards there which carried pictures of their presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, are standing.
“You ask them (PDP) if anything happens to their billboards in other areas they have 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 any billboard without Atiku would be pulled down.”
Tersoo added, “So, count us (APC) out of their internal crisis.”