The party senatorial primaries which was held on October 3, 2019 in Otukpo was said to be marred with irregularities, intimidation, impersonation and disenfranchisement of genuine delegates. This was achieved by the unilateral used of party structure at all levels to subvert the process in favor of a preferred candidate.
Onjeh who pulled the second highest votes after Chief Lawani, allegedly accused sen George Akume, who control the party in the state for using the party structure to favoured his preferred candidate, Chief Stephen Lawani and thereby robbed him (Onje) of his victory.
Onjeh, who want the primary to be declared inconclusive argued inter alia
1. My opponent, Chief Stephen Lawani, purportedly scored 1,321, while I scored 1, 059 votes. The third aspirant, Dr. Isaac Egboja, scored 21 votes. There were 49 invalid votes. The margin of Chief Lawani’s purported victory is 262, while over 90 councilors, who are all my supporters, were not allowed to vote, and the entire Ohimini Local Government , which is my stronghold (I won overwhelmingly in the 2015 general elections and the 2016 re-run elections in that LGA) had its over 300 delegates disenfranchised. Yet, the same delegates are to be used for the House of Representatives and House of Assembly elections.
2. The Ohimini, which the delegates where disenfranchised by the suspension of the entire local government from participation, already had one vote casted by a delegate from that local government , Hon. Agbo Oga, former House of Representative Member.
3. Two LGAs, Okpokwu and Agatu, had their delegate lists completely ignored and fictitious names substituted to facilitate the casting of fraudulent votes for my opponent. The State and Zonal Chairman of the Party, openly attacked the Ado local government chairman, while on queue to vote, for not supporting their alleged project to deliver their preferred candidate.
4. Against the normal practice, it was electoral officers from the party’s national secretariat that wrote the names of the preferred candidate for all illiterate voters instead of the three aspirants’ agents. In the process, many of my votes were illegally ascribed to Chief Stephen Lawani.
5. When I noticed the shenanigans going on, I spoke to a senior security officer who told me Senator George Akume, the presumed leader of the party in the state, called and informed them to announce the results without Ohimini. Please, note that the same Akume had called me and told me to step down for his friend and business associate, Chief Lawani, promising me a ministerial appointment. When I declined, he told me the state will go for indirect primaries since I will defeat the unpopular Lawani in direct primaries. That I can never win in indirect primaries.
6. The party chairman, Abba Yaro, had gone round telling everyone that cared to listen that any person other than Lawani who bought the APC Benue South senatorial nomination form was wasting his time and money. Thus, while I went on campaign to all the nooks and crannies of all nine LGAs that make up the zone, my opponent was never seen campaigning anywhere since he had been assured of victory no matter what by Akume, whom many in the party referred to as ‘the Oracle’.
7. Of the three aspirants’ agents, only Lawani’s agent signed the result sheet because of the manifest manipulation and irregularities that trailed the whole exercise.
Based on the above proofs, it is evident that party structure was used to robbed Onjeh of his victory at the primary.