Presidency to Ortom: You’re inciting ethnic, religious hatred 

Governor Ortom and President Buhari

The Presidency has accused Benue state Governor Samuel Ortom of inciting ethnic and religious hatred in his state, and steering up a Rwandan-styled crisis.

The Presidency’s position came against the backdrop of an interview granted by Governor Ortom on Channels Television accusing Buhari of bias among others.

A statement by Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, also accused the governor of deliberately escalating the farmers/herders’ crisis in his state, thereby causing more deaths of the innocent.

It, however, claimed that the governor chose the path of festering ethnic and religious wounds among the people in the state because of an alleged exclusionist agenda against a particular ethnic group, which it said Ortom was concealing in the Ranches Establishment Law.

Shehu said the Ranches Establishment Law is a ploy to withhold rights and freedom from the targeted ethnic group.

“Governor Samuel Ortom has few political principles. We can see this from the fact that he has changed political party five times during his undistinguished career.

“Every time he feels the wind may be blowing in a certain direction, he follows it.

“Unfortunately, for the good citizens of Benue State, the most dangerous direction he blows in today is that of sectarianism and ethnicity.

“In an attempt to boost his sinking political fortunes, Ortom takes the cheapest and lowest route possible by playing on ethnic themes – and in doing so knowingly causes deaths of innocent Nigerians by inciting farmers against herders, and Christians against Muslims.

 “Specifically, Ortom stirs up hatred by targeting one single ethnic group in Nigeria–using language reminiscent of the Rwandan genocide.

 “As was the case in Rwanda where the then Hutu leaders of the country incited their countrymen against each other, claiming there was a ‘secret Tutsi agenda’ over the Hutu, Ortom claims there is a ‘secret Fulanization agenda’ over other ethnic groups in his state and in Nigeria. This is a copy of the language of Hutu Power – which falsely, and intentionally, accused the Rwandan Tutsi of plans to dominate the country.

 “This wicked talk is aimed at giving cover to his so-called ‘policy’ on the Ranches Establishment Law – which in reality is purely an act of denial of the law – intended to withhold rights and freedoms from one ethnic group alone, whilst inciting race hatred against them amongst all others,” the statement said.

It described the governor as being unfit  for public office, expressing the hope that the people of the state would make a better choice in the next election.

“These are not the actions of a man who should be trusted with running public services or holding public office.

“For the governor of a major state in Nigeria to be politically driven by ethnic hatred is a stain on our country.

“The good, and fair-minded people of Benue State deserve more than this, and we look forward to the next elections when they have an opportunity to restore its greatness,” the statement said.

 Tiv youth slam gov

Similarly, the Tiv Youth Council Worldwide has cautioned Governor  Ortom to exert his energies on people-oriented programmes rather than dissipating them on attacking  President Buhari.

President of the group, Hon. Mike Msuaan, in press conference in Abuja Wednesday said: “Governor Ortom’s continuous attack on the performance of President Buhari is diversionary and a ploy intended to distract the people of the state from questioning his abysmal performance.”

Reviewing Ortom’s mandate in the last six years, the Tiv youths came to the conclusion that “the governor should collaborate with the federal government agencies to further consolidate on the relative peace in the state than to embark on a political campaign in a bid to consolidate his stranglehold on the state, having failed woefully.”

The group noted: “Governor Ortom obviously has several MoUs to his credit; none of which has come to light. Governor Ortom cannot continue with the deceitful posturing of fighting or defending the people of Benue state, when he has practically failed in securing their lives as he swore on oath to do.

“More so, we consider his comment on the sale of Benue’s public assets as deceit taken too far. Ortom who had since commenced the sale of advertised assets during the interview, said he was going to convene a stakeholders’ meeting to inform them of his plans. 

“In a usual fashion, we understand this is intended to gag stakeholders with offers for endorsement of what has already gone beyond redemption. It is worrying that a Governor who wasted tax payers’ monies gallivanting the globe in the name of wooing investors to no avail will resort to selling assets built by other governors when he has not been able to erect any structure. 

“The Council notes that Governor Ortom has not demonstrated love for the Benue people more than PMB. Within these years Buhari has in addition to giving several Benue people appointments, constructed  a multi – billion erosion control that runs through Achusa, PMB has awarded the Yandev – Makurdi Road, the Yandev to Ugbema junction road, the Makurdi – Naka – Adoka road, the rehabilitation of The River Benue and River Katsina-ala Bridges. 

“Mr President has upgraded the Zaki Biam Yam market in Ukum LGA to an international yam market. We expect a serious governor to take advantage of this initiative and several other agricultural initiatives of the president. 

“In the education sector, president Buhari has in a no mean feat established three federal institutions in the state: the Federal University of Health Science Otukpo, the Federal College of Education and the Federal Polytechnic Wannue. 

“Worthy of note is the skills acquisition centres to be located in Adikpo and other senatorial zones. 

“Under the health sector the 100 beds, Mother and Child health facility at David Mark by-pass, Makurdi, the federal medical center annexes, in Katsina-ala and other places. 

“In the housing sector, PMB is currently building a Federal Housing scheme located at Genabe, in Makurdi LGA

“On security, the two military operations which restored relative peace in the state: Ayem Akpatuma (Cat Race) and the ongoing Whirl Stroke were all ordered by the President.”