The Benue state chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party and some stakeholders have decried the media attack on governor Samuel Ortom by the Minister of Special Duties and International Affairs, Senator George Akume who call for declaration of state of emergency in Benue state, alleging maladministration.
The state PDP chairman, Sir John Ngbede at a news conference, described senator Akume as a ‘disaster’ Benue has ever produced as former governor and senator, calling on him to resin as a serving Minister.
According to the state PDP chairman, allegations of massive corruption and maladministration in the PDP government of Samuel Ortom was false and unfounded, saying Ortom administration has recorded achievements in the area of roads, commerce, agriculture, works, water supply, security and other sectors of the economy.
He therefore, urged unsuspecting members of the public to ignore Akume and his antics of getting money from sitting governors of the state for his personal comfort.
In their reaction, a group under the canopy of elders and other stakeholders of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Benue North East Senatorial District have thrown their weight behind Governor Samuel Ortom in the face of unwarranted media attacks by the Federal Government and leaders of All Progressives Congress (APC).
The stakeholders arising from their meeting in Katsina-Ala local government area of the state, passed a vote of confidence on Governor Ortom in a unanimous voice vote and urged him to continue to serve as the voice of helpless Nigerians who are victims of attacks in parts of the country.
They described as unacceptable, the sponsored campaign of calumny waged against the Governor by APC and the Federal Government as well as call for demolition of political structures in Benue state.
The stakeholders frowned at the utterances of senator George Akume against the Governor and demanded a public apology from the Minister.
They expressed shock that senator Akume who is a former Governor of the state threw caution to the winds and tagged Benue people as criminals who have been stockpiling arms and attacking themselves.
Chairman of the party in the Zone, Hon Azua Ashongu in a lead speech at the meeting, said Governor Ortom has been speaking the minds of Benue people and other Nigerians. “Anyone who attacks the Governor should be prepared to contend with millions of Nigerians who love justice, peace, equipment and fairness”.
Mr. Ashongu stated that the party will not fold its arms and watch enemies of peace get away with their acts of impunity and hatred towards the Governor and Benue people.
He described as unfortunate that some sons of Benue led by senator Akume have sold their consciences and betrayed their people and joined forces with enemies to cause disaffection and pains to the sensibilities of Benue people.
The PDP Zone A Chairman therefore, advised the Muhammadu Buhari led APC government to concentrate on fulfilling its promises to Nigerians and stop harassing people who hold alternative views on national issues.
Others who spoke at the meeting including elder Jemtor Anyiin, Dr James Atsor, Hon Terfa Atoza Hindan and elder Chado Labar all commended Governor Ortom for standing firmly with his people in the face of adversity.
In his remarks, the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Mr Terver Akase, thanked the Zone A stakeholders for the huge support given to his principal and assured the meeting that the Governor will not be discouraged despite the organized and sustained attacks on him.
Meanwhile, governor Samuel Ortom has threaten to drag the Minister George Akume before the court over his allegations that he (Ortom) has diverted various sums of money federal government has allocated to the state treasury since 2015.
Governor Ortom who issued the threat at the Benue Peoples House Makurdi while briefing news men, described senator Akume as a failure and betrayer of Benue people.
While denying diverting Benue funds to his personal use, governor Ortom pointed out that as a law abiding citizen, the only way out is to drag senator Akume to court to give him the opportunity to prove the allegations he made against him at a press conference.
It will be recalled that senator Akume at a press conference in Abuja last Monday, alleged among others that federal government has released monthly allocations amounting to N500 billion to Benue state government since 2015 but was allegedly misappropriation.
Senator Akume further alleged at the conference that president Muhammadu Buhari also released N40 billion to Benue state government as bail out funds for payment of salaries, pension and allowances as well as N28 billion as refunds from the Paris funds and N10 billion to governor Ortom to provide infrastructures for the Benue people but was mismanaged.
“We hasten to say that all that those monies have been mismanaged or outrightly diverted or misapplied by governor Ortom and members of his government, as there is nothing on ground to show by way of infrastructural development or payment of salaries and allowances”.
Senator Akume further alleged that governor Ortom has destroyed the local government system which should help nip in the bud cases of insecurity and allocates to himself N800 million as security votes squanders same and then sits back to criticise president Buhari for his failure to arrest and prosecute criminal elements bin the state.
“Governor Ortom deducts N200 million monthly deductions he makes from the local government joint allocation in the pretext of catering for the IDPS. Between July to December 2020 alone, N22 billion is involved”. Akume alleged.#