From Uche Nnorom, Makurdi
Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, yesterday said that the people of the state will vote President Muhammadu Buhari for second term if his interest is in tandem with the interest of Benue people.
Governor Ortom dropped this hint during an interactive session with journalists to commemorate the 2018 Democracy Day celebration in the state.
Ortom who was answering questions from journalists on how he will convince Benue people to vote President Buhari again in 2019, maintained that despite the killings by herdsmen, there is no permanent enemy or permanent friend in politics.
According to him, “Buhari will definitely come for campaign; I cannot preempt what he will say or what Benue people will say. But as you know in politics, there is no permanent enemy or permanent friend, but permanent interest.
“If his (Buhari) interest is in tandem with the interest of the people of Benue and he asks them for their vote, likewise my own, if my interest is in line with the people they will vote for me”.
“But one thing I want you to know is that the herdsmen/farmers clashes predate this government, so it will be a fallacy to conclude that herdsmen killings in the state are linked to Buhari.
“That the Fulanis are killing Benue people does not mean it is Buhari who is responsible. There are still reasonable Fulani people.
“There are some Fulanis who support the anti open grazing law but the real enemy is Kautal Hore, this is the violent group, we know them “, the Governor said.
On the rumors that he plans to dump the All Progressives Congress (APC), Ortom said he has never contemplated leaving the party, insisting that those spreading such rumor want to push him out of the party for their own selfish interest.
“I am not going anywhere. I will remain in APC. If there is any cause for me to change my mind, I will let Benue people know”, he said.
Governor Ortom also said that he has, despite daunting security challenges, worked assiduously to keep the contract with Benue people to be Governor for all and rule with the fear of God.
He averred that in three years, his administration has recorded achievements in the areas of education, especially in awarding contract for the rehabilitating and furnishing over 740 schools with about 400 completed, noting that those who failed to execute their contract, have had them terminated and asked to make refunds.
The Governor said 40 primary health centers have been built through the Sustainable Development Goals Program (SDG), adding that 170 doctors whose graduation were stagnated for a long time, succeeded in graduating from the Benue State Medical College just as the School of Nursing and Midwifery has been affiliated to the College of Health to be a degree awarding institute.
He explained that attempt to privatize state owned industries met a brick wall due to non acceptance by Benue people, saying government did not carry out adequate sensitization and appealed to well meaning people of the state to take up the industries and revive for the growth of the State.
While positing that irregular payment of salaries has been his government’s albatross, he promised that the arrears of 10 months for state workers, 7 months and several months owed pensioners, would be cleared.