By Chris Nomjov
Former Minister of Justice, Mike Aondoakaa (SAN), and Deputy Governor of Benue State, Chief Steven Lawani, are allegedly set to defect from the Peoples Democratic Paty (PDP) to the All Progressive Congress (APC) in a few days.
Lawani and Aondoakaa are both card carrying PDP chieftains and were governorship aspirants of the PDP in the states, before they lost at the party primaries, last December.
Billed to join them in defecting to the APC in Benue state is, Hon. Emmanuel Udende. Udende, is a PDP member-elect of the House of Representatives for the Ukum, Katsina-Ala and Logo Federal Constituency. This is the constituency of Governor Gabriel Suswam.
This momentum for the APC in Benue State is not unconnected to the two senatorial seats and a number of seats in the House of Representatives seats it won, in the March 28th elections.
Similarly, in Naka Local government area of the Naka; three top members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have led hundreds of their supporters and party members to the APC, many of them publicly destroying their membership cards. At a reception in Naka, headquarters of Gwer-West in the state, top members of the PDP, former council chairmen in the state as well as aides to incumbent Governor Gabriel Suswam, declared for the APC.
Some of the defectors, including two-time former chairmen were Abaji Godfrey Ichoghol; Andrew Ayande, a former Adviser to Governor Moses Adasu and current Senior Special Assistant to Governor Gabriel Suswam; Mr. Francis Nyibiam, as well as his colleague, Anta Igbaato.
An ex-Youth Director for the Governor Gabriel Suswam Campaign Organisation, Chief John Akperashi Gum, would be defecting to the APC on April 7. Akperashi has withdrawn all his campaign vehicles from the PDP Campaign Organisation and rebranded them with the campaign pictures of General Buhari and Chief Ortom, the APC governorship candidate in the state and formally donated them to the Ortom/Abounu Campaign Organisation.
It would appear that the defections in the state, and other states of the Federation; are motivated by the victory recorded by General Muhammadu Buhari, the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the recently concluded election in Nigeria
Meanwhile, a PDP chieftain in the State was beaten and stripped naked by angry PDP members in the state for campaigning for the governorship candidate of the APC in the 11th April election.
The incident happened at a birthday thanksgiving service of Solomon Wombo, a PDP member and Special Adviser to the Governor on Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, held at the Akume Atongo stadium in Kastina-Ala Local Government Area of Benue State resulting in pandemonium.
Akor Ikyegh, a relation to the wife of the celebrant, a former Youth Leader in Ushongo Local Government Area and personal aide to Prof. Daniel Iornem, a member of the Suswam Campaign Organisation, was said to have been caught distributing handbills of Samuel Ortom, the governorship candidate of the APC.
It was learnt that irate youths at the event which had Governor Suswam and other PDP chieftains in attendance, descended on Ikyegh after they found a teenager distributing handbills with Ortom’s message titled: ‘Rotation of governorship position among Benue churches: The time for the Pentecostal.’
While beating the unnamed youth, he confessed that the handbills were given to him by Akor Ikyegh. They then searched for Ikyegh, beat him mercilessly before finally stripping him of his clothes. He was saved from death by men of the Nigeria Police as well as other security agents at the event.