The three major socio-cultural groups in Benue State, Mzough U Tiv, Idoma National Forum and Ominyi’Igede, on Friday, resolved that anyone seeking an elective office in the state in 2019 must give a commitment to backing the state’s anti-open grazing law.
The groups made this known in Makurdi during an interview with journalists after their joint meeting to constitute a committee to review the current happenings in the state.
Speaking on behalf of the groups, the President-General, Mdzough U Tiv, Edward Ujege, said anyone seeking to be elected in Benue State, no matter his influence and experience in politics, must come before the group and profess his commitment to the law, which, he said, was very dear to the people of the state.
“We started the Anti-open Grazing Law and we must protect it to the letter; therefore, nobody will vote any politician into office unless such a person is ready to protect the law.”
Ujege commended Governor Samuel Ortom and his predecessor, Dr Gabriel Suswam, for standing behind the law and making it a reality.
He reaffirmed the resolve of the socio-cultural groups to organise a town hall meeting for all aspirants to come and commit themselves to standing by the law.
He advised politicians against using guns and weapons to prosecute their elections during the 2019 general elections.
“All we are seeking is for absolute peace to prevail in the state during and after the 2019 general elections.
“We have suffered for too long in the state. We do not want anything short of peace in Benue now and forever.
“Politicians should caution their overzealous followers against fomenting trouble. We have advised traditional rulers as well to caution their subjects who are into politics against fomenting trouble as they go about their campaigns,’’ he said.
Also speaking, the President-General of the Idoma socio-cultural group, Mr Amali Amali, said, “ttAny aspirant that will not make that commitment will not enjoy our support and such a person does not have the state at heart.
“We believe in the law and stand by it. Anybody that does not believe in it is working against the state. We commend the state assembly, Governor Samuel Ortom, Gabriel Suswam and other stakeholders for their commitment to the law.
“We advise all and sundry to collect their Permanent Voter Cards in order to vote candidates of their choice during the 2019 elections,’’ he said.