The Benue Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, says Governor Samuel Ortom’s stand for truth and justice places him above the blackmail by the All Progressives Congress, APC.
The party made this known in a statement signed by the State Publicity Secretary, Bemgba Iortyom.
The statement reads: “A statement from the Benue State Chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) yesterday sought to levy allegations against Governor Samuel Ortom to the effect that he has profiled in a negative light the people of the state.
“Of specific mention in the APC statement were recent remarks credited to 2023 Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, that Governor Ortom had told him of Benue people rustling Fulani cattle, as well as remarks credited to the governor recently referencing tendencies of habitual alcoholism by some persons in the state.
“The state chapter of our great party, PDP, does not only find the APC statement laughable but on a serious note views it with deserving pity as a reflection of morbid desperation by one doomed to death who wishes to take down to the grave another with him hoping by doing so he will make his fate a bit bearable.
“Benue PDP holds that Governor Ortom’s stewardship to his people so far places above questioning his credentials as “Defender of the Benue Valley” and a crusader for truth, fairness and justice, as his track record in this regard is a globally acknowledged index established beyond dispute, and that if he made any remarks to Alhaji Atiku Abubakar as quoted, it was to the effect of bringing all factors to the table pursuant to resolving the problem of herdsmen attacks.
“For emphasis, when in 2018 Governor Ortom dumped APC for PDP, not minding he was pursuing a re-election bid at the 2019 elections and APC was the ruling power, he achieved a milestone in selflessness in politics, this for the fact that his decision was taken in defence of the Benue man, woman and child against genocidal Fulani herdsmen and the acquiescent disposition of the APC controlled federal government to the unfolding genocide.
“In manifest appreciation of Governor Ortom’s stand for them, as he turned down promises of “onions and cucumber” from an “Egypt” represented in APC, the Benue electorate in emphatic fashion returned him to a second term of office as governor under PDP at the 2019 elections, together with 3 out of 3 Senators, 7 out of 11 House of Representatives members and 23 out of 30 State Assembly members.
“It is noteworthy that the 2019 victory was achieved against the determined and concerted onslaught by APC at the federal level christened “Federal Might”, but which failed woefully as the people stood resolutely with their governor all the way through an inexplicably contrived Supplementary Governorship Election.
“On the flip side, Benue APC and their leader, Senator George Akume, with a near zero recognition and stakes in the federal power structure under the party’s control, save for a low grade Ministerial portfolio, have for years now been unabashedly defending and absolving Fulani herdsmen of guilt over killings across the state, trumpeting to the world that it is Benue people who are killing themselves.
“Presently the party’s disputed Governorship Candidate for the 2023 polls, a sacked priest of the Roman Catholic Church, Hon. Hyacinth Alia, has accepted the ‘Night Soil Man (Or-Gber-Akeji) job to lead campaign in the state for APC’s Muslim-Muslim Presidential ticket which has become a decimal in contemptible politics such as is being rejected by all who mean well for Nigeria.
“Same Hon. Alia stands accused in several quarters of secretly taking monies from sponsors of Fulani herdsmen in a deal to repeal the Prohibition of Open Grazing and Ranches Establishment Law enacted and in force in the state, should he be elected governor, while openly he talks glibly about turning Benue into a haven, yet is infamous for having one of the worst performance track records as a priest, with not a single church building or developmental project to his credit at any of the mission stations he served.
“It is indeed saddening, yet true to type, that APC should elect to dance on the graves of victims of Fulani herdsmen attacks by seeking to mock Governor Ortom over the recent spate of killings in the state by the herdsmen, when it is the federal government under the party’s control which should guarantee the security of lives of properties of those victims.
“The people understand that the governor is doing his best to provide security for them, with such moves as the training and commissioning of the Benue Community Volunteer Guards (BCVGs), to which sadly the APC controlled federal government has refused to grant permits for firearms with which they may defend the people against killer Fulani herdsmen.
“Yet same federal government has permitted similar security outfits in the northern parts of the country to bear same firearms it denies Governor Ortom for the BCVGs in unconcealed showing of contempt towards the Ortom administration, as has been the case even in the areas of critical financial liaisons necessary for the smooth running of the state, where the APC federal regime discriminates against Benue while favouring other states.
“In the face of all of these, the Ortom administration has been judiciously applying resources available to it to execute critical infrastructural projects in roads construction, landmark interventions in the educational and healthcare delivery sectors which are positively impacting the standard of living of the people, despite a virulent smear campaign by APC which sole purpose is to de-market Benue before the outside world.
“All of these and much more Benue people understand, and at the 2023 polls, even more emphatically than they did in 2019, the electorate will bury APC in the grave which the party has dug for itself with its own hands by its anti-peoples stand, and their effrots to drag Governor Ortom and PDP down that grave with them is pathetically doomed to failure.”