Cabal in the Presidency After Me, Ortom Cries Out


George Okoh in Makurdi

Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State has raised the alarm over what he described as an attempt by certain cabal within the presidency to pit him against President Muhammadu Buhari, who he alleged did not act on time when two Fulani socio-cultural groups threatened and carried out attacks and killings in Benue State.

Ortom made this known yesterday while campaigning in Konshisha Local Government Area of the state.
He stated that he has never attacked the personality of the president as insinuated by the spokesman of the president, Mallam Garba Shehu.

Shehu had alleged that Ortom, who is presently campaigning for his re-election, was alleged to have claimed that Buhari was trying to islamise Benue State.
However, Ortom while fielding questions from journalists at Tse Agbaragba described Shehu’s statement as unfortunate, stressing, “I’m not sure it’s coming from Mr. President but from the presidency.”

“In my campaigns I have never insulted President Buhari, I have never made any hate speech against him at any given time. If I talk of Miyetti Allah claiming responsibility for the killings in Benue State, it came from them and it was before the media and everybody knew about it.
“If I talk about Fulani Nationality Movement (FUNAM), which did a press conference in Kano and proclaimed that the killings in Benue State were a continuation of 1804 jihad, it didn’t come from me, it came from them.

“I called for the arrest of these people because they were making hate speeches and displaying impunity over this country and I reported them to security agencies. I expected that these people should have been arrested. And I was just repeating that.

“Garba Shehu cannot tell me where I’ll go and do my campaigns. If I am in the church I will also go to the mosque and respect the Muslims for who they are, and I respect the church, that is the background I come from, I am a Christian.

“Can Garba Shehu come and tell me where to campaign? He doesn’t have the right, he is from APC and I am of the PDP and I am campaigning to win election for my party and my presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, because I believe he will not keep a cabal in the villa.
“I am a man, I am not a woman, that is why I respect the wife of the president who called all of us to come back that ‘where are the men in this country.

“Should we allow the cabal in the Villa to ruin this country? I am not a coward; it is a coward that will die 20 times before his actual death. Time has come for us to say the truth in this country. Whether it is going to be with our lives, we should say it in order to save the country and save our democracy.”

Ortom who also commented on the arraignment of the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Walter Onnoghen at the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT), said “Look at what is happening, looking at the issue of arraigning the CJN, this is impunity at its highest level.

I always say that we must respect the rule of law, that is the only way we can preserve ourselves and even the positions we hold.
“Anything outside that will result in impunity and when there is impunity you are inviting anarchy and when there is anarchy you don’t know where it will lead us to.

“Look, nobody should be above the law, we should respect the law, the presidency should respect the law, I should respect the law, everybody should respect the law. That is the only way we can preserve this country because Nigeria belongs to all of us.

“All of us are stakeholders and we cannot fold our hands and see things being destroyed by individuals. I have no time for that, Garba Shehu should go and concentrate on his job and he should stop trying to create hatred between me and the president, because I have no issues with the president.
“I talk about issues of the campaign. And if you talk about hate speech they should go and arrest FUNAM and Miyetti Allah members who made that statement and going around doing all sorts of illegal things, creating hate and confusion among Nigerians and nobody is out to say anything, rather you hear agents of government come out to give backing to Miyetti Allah.

“Why should I keep quiet? I will not keep quiet unless justice, equity and fairness are done by the federal government. It is my responsibility to the people of Benue State to make laws as long as it does not conflict with the provisions of Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“But it is also the responsibility of the federal government to enforce any law whether by the states or federal government, so what is my offence?”