Ondo State Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu and his Benue State Counterpart, Samuel Ortom have warned that the 2023 general elections might be threatened if the insecurity situation in the country worsens.
Recall that Ortom narrowly escaped assassination on Saturday when herdsmen attacked him on his farm near Makurdi.
In an interview with State House correspondents following a closed door meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari, the Benue State governor said there was no way Nigerians could be talking of the 2023 elections without first securing the country.
He appealed to Nigerians not to allow their aspirations for the 2023 elections to jeopardise the unity and progress of the nation.
He said, “I want to also appeal to Nigerians. 2023, yes to a politician is not far, but it is still a long way. If we secure our country and everything is going fine, then we can talk about 2023.
“But the way things are going, if we don’t secure the country, there is no way we can be talking about 2023. For me, I want us as leaders of this country, we have taken oaths of office, let us abide by those things we have said and work together as a team; leave politics aside, leave ethnicity aside and secure the country. We have no other country than the Nigeria we live in.”
He warned those he said were fond of making inflammatory statements to desist forthwith.
The governor said, “I am aware that the security challenges in our country today are not about the President or we, state governors. They are about every citizen of this country, so we must work together to surmount them.
“I also want Nigerians to know, especially those who are responsible for making inflammatory statements, that we are sitting on a keg of gunpowder and everybody is not in doubt in Nigeria today, about the security situation.
“Without security, there can be no meaningful progress and so it is important to put heads together.
“Let’s do the things that are lawful; protect the provisions of the constitution of Nigeria so that everybody will be secured. Let there be equity, fairness and justice. That is what I stand for.”
Governor Akeredolu also backed Ortom’s remarks in an interview on Channels Television’s Politics Today on Tuesday, noting that Nigerians should be worried if banditry activities reach its full-scale.
“I think he is right, definitely we cannot conduct election under an insecure environment. So if insecurity is not nipped in the bud, it will escalate and if it escalates, all of us should be worried that as at the time we are getting to 2023, we might have a full-scale banditry and other insecurity in the country,” he said.
“With that, there is nobody that can carry out any election under that atmosphere. What is clear is that he has made a good point that the Federal Government must sit up.
“Something just has to be done now to ensure that this issue of insecurity that is escalating by the day is now nipped in the bud and deescalated as soon as possible.”
Governor Ortom also faulted those who hold the belief that he could have stage-managed the attack on his convoy.
He wondered the benefit he would derive in raising a false alarm.
He added, “We should know when to play politics and we should know when to team up together to work as a team to salvage the country. That is what I’m saying. Those who are saying that I faked the attack, what benefit do I have to come up and say that I was attacked?”
He insisted that the state government’s anti-open grazing law was not targeted at any ethnic group or individual as being insinuated.
The governor disclosed that Buhari accepted the suggestions he made on the security situation in the state.
“I have been able to recommend some measures and most of them he (the President) agreed with: that nobody should be a sacred cow.”