The governor of Benue State, Mr. Samuel Ortom, reportedly was attacked Saturday morning on his farm on the Gboko-Makurdi highway. He said it was a failed assassination attempt. According to him, he ran a good one and a half kilometres to make his escape.
Narrating his ordeal to newsmen on his return to Makurdi, the state capital, the governor said the incident happened at about 11 am and that it was “the grace of God and the resilience” of his security personnel that saved him from the assailants “dressed in black.”
“You know today is Saturday and it is normal as a farmer (that) I usually go to my farm on Saturdays. So I went to my farm along Gboko road and while trekking out of the farm on our way back, we started hearing gunshots and we discovered people who were dressed in black and, from experience, we now realized that these are Fulani militia.”
We condemn the attack on the governor and demand that whoever carried it out be fished out and brought to justice. However, we do not accept his rash decision as to who did it. The law says he cannot be accuser and judge in his case. This is the rule of law that he has sworn to uphold. Let him be seen to do so. Only thorough investigation will reveal the identity of the mastermind, and the governor was in a hurry to name his assailants.
We go along with the position of President Muhammadu Buhari on the matter. Soon after the attack was confirmed, he ordered an immediate police inquiry. “Let there be open and transparent investigation and whoever is linked to it should be caught and be made to face the law,” the President said. However, he advised that politics should be kept out of it.
The President is right. Ortom was a member of Buhari’s ruling APC party before 2019 when he left for the opposition PDP, alleging persecution by his former party. Eve now, Ortom believes his attackers could only have been Fulani and the President is Fulani. His new party, PDP, believes it too. It said in a statement that Ortom was attacked because of his “outspokenness” in condemning attacks (by Fulani herders) on communities in Benue State. How can this be proved with facts and not fiction. It is sad to politicize a matter of life and death such as this. But then, this has been the style of the PDP. It often reacts only to incidents more than it offers constructive template for socio-political engineering, and this is not fair, especially seing it was in government for 16 years.