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Rep, Ortom’s aide trade words over 2023 elections

The Chief Press Secretary to Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State,  Nathaniel Ikyur,  has dismissed the allegation that the governor and his aides are frustrating the political ambition of the lawmaker representing Gwer-East/Gwer-West Federal Constituency, Mark Gbillah, in the 2023 general election.

Ikyur, in a statement issued on Sunday, stated that Gbillah cannot be a threat to the Peoples Democratic Party in Benue.

Gbillah, who defected from the PDP to the New Nigeria Peoples Party, at a press conference in Abuja on Friday, announced that he had since crossed to the Labour Party and secured the latter’s ticket. He had raised the alarm over the listing of his name as senatorial candidate of the NNPP and the LP in the list published by the Independent National Electoral Commission.

The lawmaker had accused an aide to Ortom of publishing fake news via an online platform, of his alleged disqualification from participating in the election.

He had said, “I want to state categorically and unequivocally that this news item is false, premeditated, malicious, unfounded and a figment of the criminal and depraved imagination of firsttvnigeria.com, who have obviously been conscripted by my opponents and detractors as part of a campaign of calumny against me since my emergence as the Labour Party candidate for the 2023 Benue North-West (Zone B) Senatorial District election because of their fear of my popularity and acceptability with the electorate in comparison to their candidate.

“The firsttvnigeria.com webpage footer indicates First TV by First Dotai Nig Ltd. Further online investigation revealed, from the online account of a certain James Igbudu who is a Senior Special Assistant on Media and ICT to the Governor of Benue State, Dr Samuel Ortom, that he is the Founder and CEO of First Dotai Nig Ltd. It can, therefore, not be a subject of conjecture or coincidence that the publisher of this fake news item is an appointee and aide to Governor Samuel Ortom who is the PDP candidate for the Benue North-West (Zone B) Senatorial District and will be my opponent at the 2023 general elections.

“I am well within my rights to believe the Governor is privy to this fake news publication by his SSA the intendment, of which is to misinform, mislead and discourage my supporters by trying to bring my candidacy to disrepute with the unscrupulous belief that this would give the Governor an advantage over me at the polls.”

The lawmaker had added, “I want to, hereby, alert INEC, the Nigeria Police Force, the Department of State Services and other relevant security agencies of the apparent breach of Section 123 (b) and (c) of the Electoral Act 2022 and the peace accord entered into by all political parties by this fake news publication by Governor Samuel Ortom’s SSA and the alleged intention of this camp to employ every unscrupulous and dubious avenue to discredit me and prevent me from being on the ballot in 2023, which gives my family and I great concern about our wellbeing.”

However, in the statement titled ‘Gbillah is No Threat to Gov Ortom,’ Ikyur had dismissed the lawmaker “as a small fry who has no capacity to threaten the electoral victory of the PDP or the Governor in the forthcoming elections in the state.”

The statement partly read, “It is on record how Hon. Gbillah had embarked on a nomadic political voyage from the All Progressives Congress to PDP, New Nigeria Peoples Party and now claims to be a member of the Labour Party, just so as to remain in the political process of the country.

“Gbillah has displayed political immaturity by his actions, so he should lick his wounds he inflicted on himself for his greed and inconsistencies and leave Governor Ortom out of his current predicament. This is someone who has been in the House of Representatives for eight years, even against the wish of the stakeholders in his constituency. In his bid to go for a third term, political leaders from his local government rejected his third term ambition. It was not Governor Ortom who rejected him, so he should stop looking for whom to blame.

“It is not Governor Ortom who caused INEC to publish his name as candidate for the 2023 national assembly election for two different political parties. Gbillah is a lawmaker who should know that it is fraud and indeed contravenes the Electoral Act. He cannot fool anybody. Let him bear the consequences of his inordinate ambition.

“The public should not be swayed by the desperation of the drowning lawmaker whose immediate constituency rejected him. Let it also be known to all that PDP in Benue is solid and will be victorious in the forthcoming elections. Not a thousand Gbillahs can threaten the PDP.”

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