From Msughshima Andrew, Makurdi
The Presidential and National Assembly Elections on Saturday witnessed massive turnout of voters who trooper out to exercise their civic rights.
Among thwm were Benue state Governor Samuel Ortom and his wife, Mrs Eunice Ortom who casted their votes at LGEA Primary School polling unit, Ako in Gbajimba.
LGEA Primary School polling unit, Ako is in Nzorov registration area, Gbajimba, (the Governor’s home town) in Guma Local Government Area.
Ortom had arrived the polling unit at about 9:27am where the voters have already turned out enmase to exercise their civic rights.
As at the time of filing this report, election officers have began accreditation of voters and voting have simultaneously commenced in most of the polling units visited.
Speaking to journalists after casting his vote, Governor Ortom adjudged the process as so far, free and fair and called on his people to be peaceful and law abiding as they cast their votes.
He however expressed concern at the technical hitches in some polling units in his home town saying as he reported that the card reader in two polling units in Nzorov council ward is not working.
He explained that the school premises have about 11 polling units because the Guma people and officials of the Independent National electoral Commission, INEC had agreed that those polling units where there are challenges should vote in one place.
He feared that some people may be disenfranchised if nothing is done and urged INEC to as a matter of urgency, rectify the problems being witnessed in some polling units across the state.
He also expressed worry about the arrest of the PDP stte central agent, Dr Cletus Tyokyaa, a lecturer with the University of Agriculture Makurdi, by security agencies on the flimsy excuse tbat he was traing thugs.
“They say he was training thugs and by 5am today, they went to his house, they did not see any thug but they arrested him. This will not be allowed.
He said the federal government is using the arrests to divert attention and manipulate the elections “but we are watching them and God is also involved in this. They should know there is God and only God can crown you to be a leader. You can not force your will in the people.”
All we want is a peaceful, free and fair election that will be transparent in a manner that will be acceptable to all of us”, Ortom said.
He said no sign of manipulation will be stomached in Benue state no matter at what level. He stated that he pop me of the saw know what hey want and they are charged to come and vote to achieve it.
He advised the federal government to stop overheating the polity with all the unwarranted arrests but allow room for the free and fair process they promised Nigerians.
Also, the state guber candiddate All Progressive Congress, Barr. Emmanuel Jim’s had also casted his vote at his Ndabagi polling unit 011, North Bank, Makurdi.
He praised the residents for being peaceful so far in the election.