All Progressives Congress (APC) National Chairman, Mr Adams Oshiomhole, is relieved Benue Governor, Samuel Ortom, has Benue defected to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
But Oshiomhole’s foray into the circumstances surrounding the killings in Benue has drawn the ire of Ortom who suggests that the APC knows more about the deaths that includes hapless women and children than it is letting out.
Said Ortom through his official spokesman, Gerber Akase: ““On his allegation that the Governor’s aides are among those killing people in the state, it seems Oshiomhole is privy to the ongoing investigation of the suspects arrested in connection with the murder of two Catholic priests and 17 worshipers at Mbalom, Gwer East local government area of Benue State.
“With his jumping into conclusion that the suspects were sponsored by the Governor, our suspicion is that either the investigation into the matter has been compromised or the APC National Chairman is influencing it. Benue people know who their killers are, and the attackers are believed to be sponsored by Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore and other Miyetti Allah groups.
“We advise the APC National Chairman to stop his shameful dance on the graves of innocent Benue children, pregnant women and others slaughtered by armed herdsmen.
On Friday, according to News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports, the APC leader said, “I am relieved as national chairman, and I believe that the leadership of the party in Benue is also relieved that Ortom has left the party and returned to the club he belongs”.
Oshiomhole lampooned the PDP as a “club whose philosophy is to share the money and not develop communities”.
“We now have a clean platform to search for a clean and credible candidate from Benue, a candidate that can provide leadership that the great people of Benue state deserves. And not someone who seeks to make political capital out of human graves and celebrating the death of his own people,”he said.
Oshiomhole added that as a party, the APC condemns killings by any criminal whether in Benue state or any other part of the country.
He said that the APC accepts that government’s responsibility must be to protect lives and properties.
However, the party will condemn in strong terms anyone in government that seeks to get political capital from the shedding of blood.
He stressed that government at all levels have shared responsibility of protecting Nigerians irrespective of religious, social and political status.
Oshiomhole accused the Benue governor of ineptitude in the discharge of his duties as chief security officer of his state and insisted that Ortom got the party’s ticket,”on a platter of gold”.
This, he said, was especially so, because the governor never participated during the process of the party’s formation.
He added that the party would henceforth, be more thorough on its choice of candidate.
“He became a candidate by accident and the lesson for our party is that never again should anyone become a candidate on our platform by accident.
“It has to be by conscious choice, my aim is that we will have a political party that is defined by clear cut ideology and people will join or abstain from joining on the premise of conviction,”he said.
He added that it was unfortunate that while President Muhammadu Buhari had been to other states in the federation to commission projects, there has been none to commission in Benue.
This, Oshiomhole said, was so because Gov. Ortom had not developed any project since he assumed office, adding that this was one of the complaints the Benue APC leaders brought against him.
The APC national chairman also accused Gov. Ortom of making political gain on the security situation in his state, after allegedly spending heavily on security.
He said that the Benue governor when asked to defend himself following the accusations against him, could not give reasonable explanation.
“Whereas the President and Vice President had visited other states to commission projects, they had only visited Benue on condolence visits.
“It is OK to lament that there is no federal presence. Where is the explanation for the absence of projects in Benue state?
“Ortom’s argument is that he had diverted a lot of funds to security issues ,” Oshiomhole said.
He added that the governor’s, claim of spending so much on security in the state raises more questions.
He noted that while the governor claimed that he had spent N22 billion received from the Federal Government on security, the people of the state were more and more insecure.
Oshiomhole said he felt scandalised watching Gov. Ortom on television saying he had to leave the APC because the party could not protect the state.
Norton’s response was equally caustic, even accusing his former chairman of corruption, a knotty issue in Oshiomole’s ascendancy to his new office.
“Oshiomhole appears to be flying a kite of an agenda to intimidate and suppress Nigerians who desire freedom from a party which has clearly failed to secure lives and property, thereby ushering in an orgy of violence never before witnessed in the history of the country.
“Adams Oshiomhole’s diatribe against Governor Ortom has also revealed the plot hatched by APC leaders within and outside Benue to throw the state into political crisis ahead of the 2019 elections.
“Comrade Oshiomhole ought to be telling Nigerians why they should vote for APC next year instead of embarking on a voyage of attacks on perceived opponents. His unprovoked attack on Governor Ortom and other members of the opposition has not translated to a single vote for the APC.
“A man of supposed high political stature like Oshiomhole should rather be out to court the sympathy of the very few key actors still left in the APC even in the face of unprecedented frustration by anomalies in the party instead of launching laughable verbal assaults on those who can no longer stand the strange happenings within the party.
“Insulting almost all those who have left due to the party’s inability to address their grievances would only convince those yet to make up their minds that they are truly in the wrong place.
“Oshiomhole appears to be in a hurry to justify his moniker as an ‘undertaker’ who has come to evacuate what is left of the once popular APC into oblivion as recently observed by the National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party.
“We advise the embattled Chairman to get busy with the job of his office and minimize his divisive and hate-filled statements. As a former governor, Oshiomhole ought to be statesmanly in his utterances.
“As the Chairman of the ruling party, he ought to speak with decorum and caution, to market his party and its candidates to Nigerians and not try to whip political opponents into silence.
“Another thing that should occupy Comrade Oshiomhole’s mind at time is the suit filed against him by Bishop Osadolor Anthony Ochie, an Edo based cleric and rights activist, on account of corruption while he served as governor of Edo State. Oshiomhole does not possess the moral credentials to accuse other leaders of corruption.
“On his take regarding security votes, we wonder what Oshiomhole hoped to achieve with such an accusation? Governor Ortom has not done anything outside the laid down procedures in addressing security challenges by a state governor. As a former governor, Comrade Oshiomhole should know this better.
“Governor Ortom won’t let APC’s latter day media attacks distract his administration from providing good governace to the people as he has been doing.
“Though the Benue State Governor has left APC, he appreciates the leadership and members of the party for recognising and appropriately praising him for his laudable achievements.
“We already alerted Nigerians, particularly the people of Benue State that these attacks on Governor Ortom will surely come from enemies of the state,” he said.