Managing director, Nigerian Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA), Mr Emmanuel Jime, who is aspiring to be Benue governor, says he will not repeal the anti-open grazing law, if elected.

“There are ruomurs that I plan to repeal the Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranches Establishment Law if given the mandate to rule Benue. This is not true,” Jime, who is seeking the APC ticket for the contest, told party officials when he visited the secretariat.

Jime recalled that he was the first Benue legislator to move a motion on the floor of the House of Representatives, in 2011, seeking the adoption of ranching as a modern way of breeding cattle.

“I will not tamper with the law; I will rather show more sincerity in its implementation. I won’t politicise it,” he said.

Jime said that his community was directly affected by the herdsmen/farmers persistent clashes, hence the need for him to be particularly concerned about implementing the law.

He also dismissed rumours tracing his lineage to Fulani, saying that he was from Makurdi, while his late mother hailed from Guma Local Government of Benue.

Jime urged the party officials to support his ambition, saying that the decision to bring a Free Trade Zone to Benue was part of his commitment to transform the state into an industrial enclave to explore raw materials and create jobs.

The aspirant regretted the poor state of Benue, several decades after it was created, and promised to make it better if given the opportunity to be governor.

In his response, Mr Abba Yaro, APC chairman in Benue, said that the party was still strong in spite of massive defections from the fold.

Yaro expressed satisfaction with the quality of members seeking the party’s tickets to contest the 2019 elections, saying that the current governor, Samuel Ortom, was elected without any particular blueprint on how to make Benue better.

Jime had won the APC ticket in 2014, but was persuaded to hand it over to Ortom, who had lost the PDP ticket some hours earlier.

Ortom has, however, defected from the APC to the PDP, his former political abode.

Other major defectors from the APC to the PDP include Sen Barnabas Gemade, as well as some members of the House of Representatives and Benue House of Assembly.