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Gov. Ortom cries out, says ‘APC demonizing me’

The Benue State Governor, Samuel
Ortom, has accused the All Progressives Congress, APC, of “demonizing him for
obvious selfish reasons.”

Ortom said this while alleging
that the state arm of the party on several occasions passed a vote of
no-confidence on his administration.
In a statement by his Chief Press
Secretary, Tever Akase, the governor rubbished claims by the state arm of the
party that it never gave him “red card.”
Ortom had on Monday stated that
he was given red card by the state arm of the party.

Dismissing the governor’s claim,
the Director of Publicity of APC in the state, Peterhot Apeh insisted that such
was not the case.

However, the governor met with
the National Chairman of the party, Adams Oshiomhole, yesterday, after which he
recanted his earlier declaration to quit the party.
Reacting to Apeh’s comment, Ortom
said the spokesperson’s remark was hypocritical.
Ortom also accused the party of
opting to “mortgage the interest of the people of the state.”
He said, “We read a statement
credited to the All Progressives Congress, APC, in Benue State in which it
claimed that the party raised issues of governance with Benue State Governor,
Samuel Ortom, following which he gave himself red card.
“We find the statement as the
hypocrisy of the highest order. It is on record that APC in Benue State has on
many occasions, passed vote of confidence on Governor Ortom as a result of his
performance.
“During the State Congress of the
party at Aper Aku Stadium in Makurdi, it adopted the Governor as its consensus
candidate. Again, the party publicly said its decision was based on the
sterling stewardship of Governor Ortom within the last three years. But being
the true democrat that he is, the Governor decided that other aspirants be also
allowed to vie for the governorship seat to deepen internal democracy in the
party.
“We challenge APC in Benue State
to bring out facts to back their claim that they had faulted the performance of
the Governor. We equally challenge the party to make public evidence regarding
their claims that bailout funds and Paris Club refund were diverted.
“While Governor Ortom appreciates
the platform which APC gave him to offer service to the people of Benue State,
it is regrettable that the same party has now turned to demonize him for
obvious selfish reasons.
“Governor Ortom has encouraged
regular caucus and other stakeholders’ meetings at which he constantly gives
briefings about the security and financial challenges in the state. He also
gets feedback and input at such meetings.
“His successful conduct of the
local government elections which APC candidates overwhelmingly won chairmanship
and councillorship positions throughout the state is proof of the popularity of
his administration.
“There has really been no need
for the party to raise governance issues with Governor Ortom because he gives
the leaders and the state working committee regular briefings at meetings and
platforms mentioned above.
“Besides, the Governor announces
to the people of the state receipts of monies and expenditures.
“Governor Ortom gave the people
of the state information about the bailout, Paris Club refunds, and all other
federal government interventions and explained how they could not meet all the
final obligations with respect to payment of salaries, gratuities, and
pensions.
“The claim by the APC that such
matters were raised at the last State Congress or at a secret forum is
therefore not tenable, misleading and insincere.
“The APC State Congress was
conducted in the public domain and issues of governance were not raised at the
meeting.
“It may also be necessary to
point out that the last State Congress was not convened for the purpose of
endorsing or electing the Governor, Senators and other representatives in the
state or National Assembly.
“Even if that were the case, no
one moved any motion for such endorsements and none supported or opposed.
It is therefore absurd for anyone
to make heavy wind out of an endorsement that has no legal backing and cannot
be relied upon.
“At no time did Governor Ortom
ever mention that the APC in Benue State gave him a red card. He stated
categorically that it was the leader of the party who said at several fora that
he had given him red card.
The Governor made internal
efforts to resolve the matter within the structure of the party at the state
level before going public.
“That APC in the state has issued
the statement as if it is the leader of the party or as if they are one and the
same, underscores Governor Ortom’s concern that the party structure in the
state is out to satisfy the whims and caprices of one individual.
“It is now clear that APC in
Benue State has opted to mortgage the interest of the people of the state. The
party’s unprovoked attack on Governor Ortom points to where its interest lies.
“More ridiculous is the fact that
APC has become a one-man show in Benue State. It should be on record that the
attacks on Governor are coming now because he couldn’t meet some inordinate
personal ambitions and interests of those who want to perpetually shortchange
the people.
“The media attack on Governor
Ortom by the state chapter of APC is the beginning of the smear campaign about
which we alerted Benue people and other Nigerians. More of such disparaging
statements should be expected in the days to come.
“However, no amount of
intimidation or personal attacks can make the Governor to abandon the people of
Benue State. He has chosen to stand with the people and won’t be distracted now
or in the future.”

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