National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, has said the party would not miss the Benue State governor, Samuel Ortom, who defected to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) during the week.
The APC chairman had, last week, during a meeting to resolve the faceoff between the Benue State governor and certain APC leaders in his state, described Ortom as an asset to the ruling party.
He, however, told newsmen on Friday that it was a big relief to him that the governor left the party.
Oshiomhole said it would have been difficult for the APC to give Ortom its ticket for a fresh mandate as he described the latter’s administration as a failure.
The APC chairman said the Benue State governor had no visible project to show for his three and a half years in office.
He said: “Within the last 48 hours, we have watched the unfolding events in Benue State, particularly the decision of Governor Ortom to leave the party. Ordinarily, we would not have responded, having already responded to the decision by the Publicity Secretary.
“As you all recall, Governor Ortom had said that the APC in Benue State gave him red card to leave our party and that they would not field him in the governorship election in 2018 and that because the door had been shut against him, he had no choice but to leave. Without going into investigations, we invited him to speak to us on the issues and we also invited our party leaders in Benue State to also brief us on what the issues were.
“From the point of view of our leaders in Benue State, their position was clear that fielding Governor Ortom on APC platform in 2019 can only lead to electoral defeat for a number of reasons. They reminded us that in spite of the allocation accruing to Benue State, the bailout fund amount to over N20 billion and the huge sums of money collected from the Paris Club refund, he was not paying salaries to Benue workers, including teachers, local government employees and civil servants.
He is owing some of them as much as 12 months salaries. So, the entire economy of Benue State that survives on civil servants’ salaries is to that effect compromised. What is not obvious is that those who live on rents paid by civil servants cannot collect their rents with which to survive, thereby having effect on the commercial life of the people.
“This explains a vicious circle of poverty in Benue State that has been deepened under Governor Ortom.”
The immediate past Edo State governor alleged that having failed to deliver on his electoral promises to his people, “Governor Ortom is dancing on the grave of his people and seeking political capital from the killings.”
Comrade Oshiomhole further alleged that the aides of the Benue State governor had been involved in the killing of innocent citizens of the state while pointing fingers at Fulani herdsmen.
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“The second is that Governot Ortom has complicated, by his own actions, and poor judgement the security situation in the state. I want to draw our attention to the fact that some of those that have been arrested as a result of the killings are people who have been associated with him, including people in his employment, especially a guy known to have been involved in Boko Haram whom he recruited to manage what they called forest guard. These people have been arrested and are in police custody.
“If an appointee of a Governor is involved in a heinous crime, including killing, that will be enough for a governor to worry about. Instead, he played up the ethnic dimension of criminality, even though some of those killed were killed not by Muslims, but Christians of Benue State origin, Including those he employed. These people have been in police custody, so, his attempt to explain away criminality by playing the ethnic card is unhelpful to what he should do as governor to manage the situation better. After all, those in Benue State have always been there and his predecessors, including Suswam had found ways to manage these diversities. So, Ortom’s incapacity to manage it and even seek to make political capital of the death of Benue people is unfortunate.
“It is important that Nigerians understand that the condemnable killings of two Reverend Fathers and some Christians in a church, those who have confessed to these crimes include people who have worked with Gov. Ortom and these killings were done few weeks after one of them was extremely critical during his sermon about the governance of the state and the style of governance of the Governor. His price obviously was to pay with his dear life and not a few thought that the governor would celebrate that. I am not about to suggest that Gov, Ortom might have asked anybody to go and kill anyone, but that some of those involved in these killings are Benue State origins and are Christians. That is not to deny that some herdsmen have also been involved in the killings. But the responsibility of any government is not to seek to manipulate this , but to confront it.
There was also the fact that for three and half years that he has been in office, he cannot point to any concrete project that he has carried out. He cannot point to any major project that has been completed. When we asked him these questions and allegations that why the Vice President and the President has visited other states to Commission projects, in Benue, they have only paid condolence visit. It is okay to lament the absence of federal presence, but what is the excuse for the absence of state projects in the state. His argument is that he has diverted a lot of the resources to security issue. That raises the issue. Can you be spending N22 billion on security and the people are increasingly insecure? So if you accept that he spent money on security, it meant that he realize that he has a responsibility to secure life and not pass the bulk. So, I felt scandalized watching him saying he had to leave the APC because he did not feel secure. To be honest, I am relieved as National Chairman and the leadership of our party in Benue State are relieved that he has returned to where he came from. So, we now have a clean platform to search for a credible Benue citizen that can provide the kind of leadership that the Benue State deserve and not one who seek to make political capital out of human graves and celebrating the death of his own people.
“As a party, we condemn any life that has been wasted by criminals and we accept that government responsibility is to protect live and property. But I condemn anyone of us who seek to make political capital out of these killings because we have shared responsibility to protect their lives regardless of their religion or location. So, we are relived that Ortom has returned.
“When you look at it, he got our ticket on a platter of gold because he was never a participant in the building process of the party. He became a candidate by accident. The lesson to learn is that never again should people become candidates by accident.”
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