Published On: Thu, May 16th, 2019

Benue Killings: APC Lambasts Ortom Over Comments Linking Party Leader Akume

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From Uche Nnorom, Makurdi

The All Progressives Congress, APC In Benue State has tongue lashed Governor Samuel Ortom of been inconsistent with the truth over the killings in Benue State.
The party also, commended the Governor for finally exonerating the party’s Leader, Senator George Akume whom he and the Peoples’ Democratic Party, PDP had unjustly vilified over his statement on Benue killings last year.
Publicity Secretary of APC James Ornguga who said this in a statement made available to Peoplesdaily yesterday, recalled that while the killings in Benue had lingered, Senator Dr George Akume led a delegation of APC stakeholders to meet with President Muhammadu Buhari in Abuja over the unrest in the state and how to attract federal projects to Benue.
He added that while Sen. Akume was answering questions from journalists after the meeting, he however, declined further comments on questions bordering on those responsible for the attacks but insisted the Benue Government had greater details concerning those masterminding the attacks.
“In a rather mischievous twist of obvious facts, Governor Ortom cashed in on the statement, misinterpreted it to suit his whims and caprices by alleging that the APC Leader was accusing Benue people of killing themselves and he used that throughout to incite Benue people against the Senator.
“Bereft of a saleable campaign message or projects to showcase, the twisted statement formed the bedrock of PDP’s 2019 campaigns in Benue where President Muhammadu Buhari, Senator George Akume and the APC were made to appear like active conspirators in the attacks on Benue.
“Luckily, while on a clandestine visit to Aso Villa this week, Governor Samuel Ortom cunningly and deliberately failed to finger Fulani herdsmen and Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore in the Benue attacks, as it has always been his trademark but preferred to blame one Terwase Akwaza a.k.a “Gana” who once worked with his government as “Tax Consultant” as the kingpin of attacks in Benue; alleging further that the said “Gana” was trained by Boko Haram.
“Just last week, Governor Samuel Ortom accused the Tiv people of Ukum of attacking and killing Jukun people of Kente and other settlements in Taraba State, directing the Ukum Council Chairman and Traditional Rulers from the area to produce the attackers in three days”, he said.
The APC spokesman accused Governor Ortom of having a legendary history of shifting blames on people and circumstances without owning up to his failures or actions and inactions.
He noted that right from the outset of Ortom’s administration, when he started owing salaries for many months, he constitently blamed his inabilities to pay salaries on paucity of funds but later shifted the blame to his predecessor, former Governor Gabriel Suswam and his cohorts who were frontally accused of embezzling 107 billion naira from Benue State coffers.
“When the Suswam embezzlement news got staled, Governor Samuel Ortom leveraged on herdsmen attacks, blaming President Muhammadu Buhari of complacency and glaring conspiracy in handling the killings, despite the launch of “Operation Whirl Stroke” by the President, which quelled the attacks substantially.
“In July 2018, when he migrated from the All Progressives Congress to his former party, the governor changed gear and blamed his inability to commission a single project in three years on Senator Dr George Akume who brought him to APC in 2015 and handed him the party’s governorship ticket on a platter of gold.
“He attempted fruitlessly to accuse the Senator of making financial demands on his administration but could not convince anyone as to whether he truly gave money to Senator Akume, hence, resorted to the flimsy conclusion that he had refused to share state funds with APC Leaders, reasons they red-carded him out of the party.
“With the latest blames mounted on Ukum youths as killers of Jukun in Taraba and Terwase Akwaza a.k.a Gana as “Tormentor-in-Chief” of Benue communities, it is clear that the governor had long known the killers in Benue but chose to give Senator Akume a bad name so as to hang him, when the latter placed same burden on him.
“As a party, APC is thankful to the governor for finally letting the cat out of the bag by mentioning the true attackers of the state, thereby exonerating our Leader, Senator Dr George Akume who was heavily tongue-lashed for speaking the truth”, the statement read.

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