Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State has declared that he is leaving the All Progressives Congress (APC) for good.
He told members of OnTiv Professionals Association in Abuja that he would not return to the party for any reason.
Ortom spoke a few hours after emerging from a peace meeting with the APC national chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole where he said he had not dumped the party and had expressed hope of a peaceful resolution of the crisis in the party.
But receiving his guests at the in Benue State Governor’s Lodge, Abuja,the governor said : “I can assure you and the good people of Benue that there is no going back on my decision to exit from the APC.”
He added “at the appropriate time in the next few weeks, I would make my next move public.”
And responding on Friday to claims by the state branch of the APC that it was the governor that gave himself a red card after it raised issues of governance with him, Ortom branded the party a one man show in Benue.
His Chief Press Secretary, CPS, Terver Akase challenged the APC to “bring out facts to back their claim that they had faulted the performance of the Governor.”
He said: “During the State Congress of the party at Aper Aku Stadium in Makurdi, it adopted the Governor as its consensus candidate. Again, the party publicly said its decision was based on the sterling stewardship of Governor Ortom within the last three years. But being the true democrat that he is, the Governor decided that other aspirants be also allowed to vie for the governorship seat to deepen internal democracy in the party.
“While Governor Ortom appreciates the platform which APC gave him to offer service to the people of Benue State, it is regrettable that the same party has now turned to demonize him for obvious selfish reasons.
“Governor Ortom has encouraged regular caucus and other stakeholders’ meetings at which he constantly gives briefings about the security and financial challenges in the state. He also gets feedback and input at such meetings.
“His successful conduct of the local government elections which APC candidates overwhelmingly won chairmanship and councillorship positions throughout the state is proof of the popularity of his administration.
“At no time did Governor Ortom ever mention that the APC in Benue State gave him a red card. He stated categorically that it was the leader of the party who said at several fora that he had given him red card and the Governor made efforts to resolve the matter within the structure of the party at the state level before going public.
“That APC in the state has issued the statement as if it is the leader of the party or as if they are one and the same, underscores Governor Ortom’s concern that the party structure in the state is out to satisfy the whims and caprices of one individual.
“It is now clear that APC in Benue State has opted to mortgage the interest of the people of the state. The party’s unprovoked attack on Governor Ortom points to where its interest lies.
“More ridiculous is the fact that APC has become a one man show in Benue State. It should be on record that the attacks on Governor are coming now because he couldn’t meet some inordinate personal ambitions and interests of those who want to perpetually shortchange the people.
“The media attack on Governor Ortom by the state chapter of APC is the beginning of the smear campaign about which we alerted Benue people and other Nigerians. More of such disparaging statements should be expected in the days to come.
“However, no amount of intimidation or personal attacks can make the Governor to abandon the people of Benue State. He has chosen to stand with the people and won’t be distracted now or in the future.”
Oshiomhole on Thursday had said Ortom “is not going anywhere” and called him “a very, very prominent member of our party.” (The Nation)