I Regret Helping Ortom Become Governor, Says Akume

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By Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja

Former governor of Benue state, Senator George Akume, has said that he made a grevious mistake by supporting Samuel Ortom in 2015 to emerge as governor of Benue state.

He said that he realised the kind of person the governor was after he recently dumped the All Progressives Congress Party for the Peoples Democratic Party.

Akume’s regret came just as the APC leaders and stakeholders warned that they would no longer fold their hands and allow blatant breach of the constitution by Governor Ortom.

Speaking at a press conference at the weekend, Senator Akume, said the Benue APC leaders had expressed their confidence in both President Muhammadu Buhari and the national chairman of the party, Adams Oshiomhole, for their laudable achievements.

Akume who said that Benue state was under siege due to the unfortunate actions of the governor, lamented what he described as abuse of the law through the wrongful removal of the Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Hon. Terkimbi Ikyange, from office.

On the sudden change of gear after Ortom defected to the PDP, Akume said that he and other APC leaders in Benue state didn’t know much about Ortom’s record until when he left.

“For Ortom to run away with our mandate and continue to commit series of constitutional breaches is completely unacceptable,” he said.

He accused the governor of unconstitutionally removing the Speaker of the Benue State House of Assembly.

He also accused the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, and Speaker Yakubu Dogara of supporting illegality in Benue State.

A bitter Akume said: “If it were in those days during Obasanjo administration, we would have sacked that man with just five lawmakers for his unconstitutional acts.”

While stating the party’s position, Akume described the Ortom-led administration as a disaster, warning that APC members cannot continue to watch the situation without reacting.

According to Akume, 11 out of the 23 Local Government chairmen of Benue state who are loyal to APC are being persecuted by the state government and are being starved of funds.

He also alleged that the government had been withholding allowances of the faction of Benue state House of Assembly loyal to APC, without any justifiable reason.

He said that APC was urging the Federal Government to consider suspending allocations to local governments in Benue pending full investigation of their accounts.

Speaking on behalf of the Benue APC stakeholders, Akume warned that if the governor did not desist from his unconstitutional acts, including plan to sack APC loyal chairmen of local councils and to unleash terror on our members, we are going to use every constitutional means to checkmate him.”

Akume also asked the Federal Government to investigate the alleged stockpiling of arms by loyalists of the governor.

He said that Ortom was using religious sentiments and herdsmen killings as a means of winning reelection in 2019.

Regarding an alleged move by the governor to sack some local government council chairmen loyal to APC, Akume said that the party will not allow it to happen.

The party therefore directed the local government chairmen to resist moves to remove them from office saying “impunity will collide with impunity.”

The APC leaders also alleged that Governor Ortom had collected about N28 billion as bailout funds since the inception of the present administration.