What was meant to be a political masterstroke by the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the herdsmen and Benue State government and people conflict appears to be backfiring on the party after Borno Governor Kashim Shettima answered questions from reporters on an earlier visit by two socio-cultural groups.
There is palpable in Benue State over the visit of seven The All Progressives Congress (APC) governors who came to commiserate with them over the death of 73 indigenes, but ended up playing politics of 2019, berating the Afenifere and the Middle-belt groups which came before them.
His comments to reporters continue to draw the ire of Benue residents, who claim the visit was meant as a mockery.
Others agree with comments by the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) that the visit was a “spit on the graves” of killed indigenes.
PDP itself has been accused of cashing in on the misery in Benue State to score cheap political points.
Commentators compared the visit of the governors with that of socio-political groups, maintaining that groups came empathising, while the governors were arrogant and were waxing political.
The other visiting governors that accompanied Shettima were Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna, Badaru Abubakar of Jigawa state, Kashim Shettima of Borno state, Yahaya Bello of Kogi state, Simon Lalong of Plateau state and Titilayo Laoye-Tomori, Deputy Governor of Osun.
Said Shettima before he spoke with reporters, “We know and share the agony of those who have lost loved ones… and share the pains of those who have been internally displaced..We commiserate with the government and entire people of Benue State.”
His soothing words notwithstanding, Governor Samuel Ortom believes there is danger lurking with the Miyetti Allah Kautal Gore still making threats to take over the land.
According to him, it is a big challenge when the group makes threats and its leaders are allowed to go scotfree.
Later, Shettima frowned at the attempt by Afenifere and the Middle-Belt Forum to make political capital out of the misery of the Benue people.
He insisted that APC won in Benue, “not because of Buhari, but in spite of” him.