Ortom sets up committee on planned return to PDP, halts political activities in APC
Nigerian Concord Newspaper
The executive governor of Benue State, Mr. Samuel Ortom, has set up a five man committee to perfect his planned defection to the Peoples Democratic Party over the hints that Senator George Akume is working with President Muhammadu Buhari to impose Barrister Emmanuel Jime on him during the APC primary election which will take this year.
The five man committee, according to a government house source, is headed by Dr. Jerome Torshimbe, a former commissioner under Senator Akume’s administration.
The committee is saddled with the responsibility of reconciling the governor with the former governor and leader of PDP in the State, Dr. Gabriel Suswan and ex Senate president, Sen. David Mark, to negotiate his place to pave way for him in the PDP.
The source said he and some others aren’t happy that Ortom brought them to APC in 2015 to wage wars against Gabriel Suswam and David Mark, and now wants to dump them in the ruling party for the same opposition party.
The source also maintained that governor is also weighing other options, including joining the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) or possibly pitching tent with the Labour party where he feel he could easily secure the gubernatorial ticket ahead of the 2019 general elections.
Reason for Ortom’s plan to defect from the APC, according to a source, came as a result of the cold wars between him and President Buhari over the way he accused the President of being behind Fulani killings in the state but another source confided in Nigerian Concord that it was Senator Akume that warned the President against allowing the governor to fly the APC flag in 2019.
The source further explained that Akume told Buhari that Ortom will lose his reelection and as well jeopardize the president’s chance in the entire Benue state in 2019 as a result of his failure to fulfil all his electioneering promises since he became governor in 2015.
It was also gathered that the senator told the President that the ongoing wage bill fraud which the PDP had discovered within the Ortom administration will never make any reasonable person in the state vote for him again.
Akume, according to source, also told Buhari that Benue civil servants don’t forgive and they will never vote for any government that denies them their salaries. He also said that farmers in the state won’t forgive the governor for playing politics with insecurity which had led to the killings of thousands of their family members.
It was also gathered that both Akume and the president have agreed to field Barrister Jime as the APC gubernatorial candidate in 2019, an information that has made Ortomt to set up a reconciliation committee to help him reach out to both Suswam and David Mark.
Our government house source said that the governor feels this decision is best for him ahead of the 2019 general elections, citing his fragile relationship with the President and other APC leaders as a result of the alleged Fulani herdsmen attack on two Benue communities in the wake of January and how he went about criticizing the APC bigwigs, including the Honourable Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Audu Ogbeh.
The source also said that the governor has made an arrangement on how to mobilize Benue indigenes home and abroad to blackmail the APC led federal government over the herdsmen menace to justify his decision to dump the ruling party.
The source added: “If the committee headed by the man from Gwer East where the first lady also comes from succeed, we might move to back to PDP but if no way, we will align with a new party where we would be sure of the ticket”
This newspaper gathered that part of the governor’s plans to blackmail the federal government with the Fulani attacks was the recent widespread protest in London, Russia, America and other parts of the world with Benue’s hard earned N1 billion.
In furtherance of this arrangement by the governor, Benue State chapter of the APC has, through a statement signed today by its Organising Secretary, Mr. Mark Hanmation, announced that it is putting off all political activities until further notice.
It was also learnt that the governor may be defecting to another party with key members of his cabinet, including the Secretary to the State Government (SSG) Barr. Tony Ijoho, SAN, and many others.