Benue State government has reacted to a statement by the All Progressives Congress, APC Publicity Secretary in the state where he “attempted to divert attention from the concerns, fears and focus of Benue people and other Nigerians on the disturbing matters of insecurity occasioned by the failure of the Federal Government which Governor Samuel Ortom has constantly been speaking about.”
Terver Akase, Special Adviser, Media & Publicity to the governor in a statement said, “the lame distraction by APC in Benue State was expected.”
His statement reads below.
The man who read the press conference address was only echoing the statements of the leader of the party in the state, Senator George Akume, who is under intense pressure from the Presidency to sustain the campaign of calumny against Governor Ortom.
Recall that in 2018, the APC leader, using only eight out of 30 members of the Benue State House of Assembly, sponsored an impeachment move to remove the Governor after he had dumped the party and chose to stand with Benue people in the face of repeated attacks on the state by herdsmen.
We are aware that the APC press conference in Makurdi today was a ridiculous response to Governor Ortom’s recent call for the impeachment of President Muhammadu Buhari on account of his inability to lead the country.
Their outing was also an attempt to divert attention from the plethora of problems facing the APC in Benue State arising from their yahoo yahoo primary elections which aftermath is the court cases instituted by aspirants of the party, as well as their deepening crisis over the choice of a deputy governorship candidate. APC is in shambles in Benue State and the only way for them to breath is to launch media attacks on Governor Ortom. An attack on the Governor earns them instant ‘commendation’ from the Villa.
We expected APC to address the confusion within their party and not raise infantile allegations over local government administration. A party that thrives on imposition and marginalization while abhorring justice and equity lacks the moral standing to question anyone on accountability.
Our response to APC’s allegation that Governor Ortom has been mismanaging local government funds is simply that he who accuses should provide proof. We challenge APC to publish evidence to back their claim that the Governor has turned local governments to his private use and has been diverting funds meant for the councils. They should spare Benue people of the stress in searching for the proof.
It is on record that in the last seven years, under the Ortom administration, three different local government elections have been conducted and three sets of council chairmen duly elected. The APC should be worried that it was unable to field candidates for the last local government election in Benue. How was Governor Ortom responsible for the party’s failure to present candidates for the council polls?
It can be confirmed that Governor Ortom has ensured that leaders of the Nigeria Union of Local Government Employees, NULGE, the Nigeria Union of Teachers, NUT and several labour unions, as well as the association of local government councilors are members of the Joint Account Allocation Committee in Benue State. The unions know precisely how local government funds are administered.
APC in Benue State has every reason to be desperate owing to the mass defection of its members into the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP as the 2023 elections draw closer. A party which suffered a devastating defeat in 2019 and is now facing another defeat in 2023 has justification for distress. The pain of the impending defeat of APC is inevitably similar to circumcision. The cry of a baby does not stop it.
Governor Samuel Ortom remains committed to serving his people and standing with them. He will neither be discouraged nor distracted by the sponsored media assault.