…May head for SDP
New revelations have indicated that the embattled Benue State Governor Samuel Ortom dumped the All Progressives Congress (APC) following his soiled relationship with his estranged godfather, Senator George Akume, over who should be in-charge of the state.
A top source, who confided in The Daily Times, said that Akume had threatened to expose the governor’s massive looting and as well set the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) after his accomplices that had earlier been interrogated for alleged stealing by the anti-graft agency.
The source, who spoke in confidence, said: “The climax of the rivalry was the impeachment plot allegedly planned against the governor and the Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Terkimbi Ikyange, by supporters of both aggrieved factions.
“Following the impeachment threat, the governor, in a swift move announced the sack of the many commissioners and other appointees, nearly 80 percent of them believed to be the senator’s ‘men’ who he single-handedly nominated for appointments at the inception of the administration in 2015.
“Following his overbearing nature, Ortom could no longer tolerate all the public insults which Akume had been ravaging on him”.
The Daily Times recalls that the Secretary to the State Government, Prof Anthony Ijoho, had in a statement, revealed that the governor retained four commissioners out of 13 and seven special advisers with their portfolios intact out of 20.
The source also claimed that Governor Ortom and Senator Akume had at the peace meeting initiated by a former permanent secretary (Establishment), Mr. Akange Audu, at the Presidential Lodge of the Benue State Government House in Makurdi to broker peace between them, exchanged hot words and displayed power superiority.
Ortom, who was to have been visibly angry at the meeting, said that he could no longer tolerate all the public insults which he said Akume had been giving to him since the issue of salary crisis started.
On his part, Akume, who reportedly referred to the governor as an ingrate, accused him of alleged misappropriation of N22 billion meant for the payment of salaries in the state. But Ortom in a swift response, was said to have disclosed that he spent the monies on Akume and his family.
Meanwhile, Governor Ortom had on Monday, announced his defection from the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
Ortom, who announced his defection shortly after swearing in his Special Adviser on Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Jerome Torshimbe, said that he had been red-carded out of APC and was now standing outside the football pitch “as a free man”.
Ortom is yet to announce his defection to any other political party in the country, but said he had started consulting with some relevant stakeholders and may soon announce his next move to the Social Democratic Party (SDP).
The governor said, “Many people have been asking that after dedicating the state to God we are still facing challenges, but I know that the God that saw the Israelites pass through the wilderness, and took them to the Promised Land will also see us through our difficult times.
“I know one thing, all these challenges that we see today, we shall see them no more. All that we are required to do is not to begin to be wayward in our conduct but to move to the righteous side of God. Once we do that, things will work out for our good.
“Looking at what is happening to us, sometimes I’m tempted to think that we are dying like people who do not have God. But we must choose the path of working with God, obeying and serving him.
If we do that and ensure that his values get into our hearts and we work with him, development will be inevitable. Let us work and encourage those things that can develop us.
“As for party, I have been given red card and I’m outside the pitch. So, if I have been given red card and I’m standing outside, I’m a free man. So I don’t know what will happen next but I’m waiting.
If others approach me, then I will tell the Benue people that I’m joining another football club. I’m a child of destiny and it’s only God that will decide what I will be.”
But efforts to get the reaction of Senator Akume proved abortive on Tuesday as there was no response to several calls and text messages sent to his phone at press time