*Insists ‘Red Card’ was from Sen Akume
Benue State Governor Samuel Ortom has made a U- turn from his been given ‘Red Card’ by the All Progressives Congress (APC) and standing as a free player at the fence, saying that he is still a member of the party and a full player.
Ortom maintained that he was given red-card by Senator George Akume, the self-acclaimed political leader of Benue State and not by the APC at the federal level.
The Daily Times recalls that there was a recent fight of superiority between Governor Ortom and the Senator representing zone B Senatorial District of Benue State, George Akume, where it was reported that Akume accused Governor Ortom of not paying civil servants in the state out of his fraudulent intentions after making him Governor to redeem the state from the wrongs committed by the previous PDP rule in the state.
Governor Ortom had on Monday told journalists in Makurdi, the state capital, that he was given ‘red card’ by the party in the state and now standing outside the field as a freeman.
Ortom, who was at the national secretariat of the APC in Abuja on Thursday to meet with party leaders, spoke to journalists in the presence of the National Chairman of the APC, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, saying that it was the Benue State APC that actually gave me ‘red- card’ and he decided to make himself available out of the pitch.
He said, “It was the Benue APC that gave me a red card not the National APC and I thought that it was enough to make myself available out of the pitch,
but the leadership of the party told me that the decision of the party leadership at the national level is superior to that of any individual or group of people and I think that is good enough.
“They have spoken to him (Akume), they have also spoken to me and the state stakeholders are going to be spoken to and that’s where are; we have not concluded the matter, it’s an ongoing process.
I always stand for peace, and I always want peace to prevail, that’s what I stand for. I appreciate the intervention of the party’s leadership and I hope that we will be able to resolve the matter of differences”.
The Governor emphasised that as a member of the party, he was at the national secretariat as he is still the flag bearer of the party in Benue State.
“I’m here at the APC Secretariat as a member of the party and still flying the flag of APC in the State, I only said I was given ‘red card’ but, have been corrected by the national secretariat”, he added.
Responding to the development, Oshiomhole said the APC did not have ‘red- cards’ in its cupboard and can’t give what it doesn’t have.
He noted that there could however be legitimate legal issues and disagreements in some state’s chapters of the party, saying that these were evidence of the fact that the APC was a free democratic party, adding that it was the responsibility of the party leadership to help aggrieved members to find a common ground.
He pointed out that the issues in the Benue State chapter of the party were not too fundamental that it could not be resolved, expressing confidence that the issues between Senator Akume, also a former former Governor of the state and Governor Ortom would be resolved by the party’s National Leadership.
He said: “Senator Akume is a very respected leader of the party, a former governor and as a current Senator, he will recognise the need for peace and we have what it takes to make peace.
“In Benue, we are going for a win-win solution; Governor Ortom is not going anywhere, he is a very prominent member of our party, and we appreciate his leadership in Benue. We will do everything possible to help those who have issues to have those issues resolved.
“The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) that is hovering round must know that it is only people without honour will vomit in the morning and convert it to lunch in the afternoon.
People like Ortom can’t leave PDP three and half years ago with his eyes open and two three years later because of some tension, is thinking of returning.
“He is a man of honour and he knows that once you move one step forward, you will want to take the second step to consolidate the first step, that’s the way to go.
Be assured that the PDP can go and do whatever they want to do, but it won’t change the situation and the minds of those who are convinced in building the future.
“And in Benue, I am sure that Governor Ortom and Senator Akume will be happy, much more importantly the great people of Benue will be happy not just our party members because they want to consolidate what works and not to return to a broken vehicle”.
Oshiomhole added that the APC leadership would do everything possible to address crisis within its states chapters and ensure that its committed members remain in its fold.