Saturday, 17 February 2018

2019:Gov Ortom Refused To Attend APC Governor's Meeting With Buhari In Daura

Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue state was not in attendance as his other colleagues elected on the platform of the ruling APC visited President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday in Daura, Katsina state. His absence has further raised insinuations that he could be on his way out of the party. Some of the governors in attendance were Rochas Okorocha of Imo, Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi, Abdulaziz Yari of Zamfara, Abdulfatai Ahmed of Kwara, Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano, Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto and Yahaya Bello of Kogi.

The governors of Benue, Ogun, and Lagos were represented by their deputies on the visit which the governors said was aimed at consoling with Buhari over the loss of two members of his extended family. Ortom has not been on good terms with the Presidency since the killing of 73 people by suspected Fulani herdsmen in his state on New Year’s Day. The Benue governor has increasingly blamed the Presidency for not being proactive, claiming he had informed the federal government that herdsmen were planning to attack some communities in the state. On his part, Buhari has not visited Benue since the killings; though, he hosted Ortom at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, on 9 January.

The president’s media aide Femi Adesina had said in January that Buhari did not visit the North-central state because he did not want to politicise the killings. Adesina was speaking on the back of criticism of the president for not visiting Benue. And when Buhari visited neighbouring Nasarawa state on 6 February, Ortom sent his deputy, Benson Abounu, to represent him there. Buhari was in Nasarawa on a working visit where he commissioned a couple of projects.“As a mark of honour and respect for his office and that of the president, I have sent my deputy to represent me because I cannot leave the state when my people are being killed,” Ortom said.

On Wednesday the governor reiterated his position that the Presidency should be blamed for the recent killings in his state, when he appeared before the joint Senate Committee on Police Affairs and National Security and Intelligence. He showed the lawmakers copies of his letters to President Muhammadu Buhari, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and the security chiefs before and after the crisis began.“Over 100 people killed in Benue would not have died if security agencies were responsive. None of the letters (to the Presidency) was replied,” he said.

"The Minister of Defence, Mansur Dan-Ali, attributed the Benue killings to blockade of grazing routes and implementation of ranching law.“His position is misleading and dishonest. We hope that his position is not that of the Federal Government.”

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