Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue Sate yesterday labeled the state chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) a one-man show.
He also said he never at any time claimed that the party had given him Red Card.
He said it was the leader of the party in the state who said at several fora that he had given him red card.
He however said no amount of intimidation or personal attacks would make him abandon the people of the state.
He said it was regretful that APC in Benue State has now turned to demonize him for obvious selfish reasons.
The governor made the submissions in a statement through his Chief Press Secretary, Terver Akase
He was reacting to claims by the party that it raised issues of governance with the governor following which he gave himself red card.
He called the APC statement hypocrisy of the highest order.
He said: “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.
“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 announced 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.”
The governor gave insights into how he is being frustrated by the leader of the party and APC in the state.
The statement added: “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.”
Ortom still consulting on his political future —Spokesman
Terver Akase told The Nation by phone that Ortom will make public his decision to stay or leave the All Progressives Congress (APC) next week.
“Governor Ortom has not left the APC. He still consulting with the stakeholders majority of who are his supporters. He will make his position known next week after the meeting with his supporters,” Akase said.
Some online outlets reported yesterday that the governor had announced his exit from the APC after a meeting with some of his supporters.
However, Akase said: “There is no decision yet so far reached with the stakeholders he has consulted. we are only surprised that the local chapter of the APC has been attacking him in the media, writing very bad things about him but he is not bothered about that. He is looking at the bigger picture. If the Benue people tell him to leave, he will leave.
“If he is going to leave the APC, we are not yet sure if he would be going to the PDP. It can be PDP or any other party. The governor is a star player, many clubs (parties) are after him to get his signature.”
The Governor himself told members of OnTiv Professionals Association in Abuja on Thursday that he is leaving the All Progressives Congress (APC) for good.
He said he would not return to the party for any reason.
Ortom spoke a few hours after emerging from a peace meeting with the APC national chairman,Comrade Adams Oshiomhole where he said he had not dumped the party and had expressed hope of a peaceful resolution of the crisis in the party.
But receiving his guests at the in Benue State Governor’s Lodge,Abuja,the governor said : “I can assure you and the good people of Benue that there is no going back on my decision to exit from the APC.”
He added:”at the appropriate time in the next few weeks, I would make my next move public.”
Oshiomhole on Thursday had said Ortom “is not going anywhere” and called him “a very, very prominent member of our party.”
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