By Sunday Iduh
Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom has said that he was being profiled by the presidential candidate of his party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2023 election, Atiku Abubakar.
He said it was not correct for a presidential candidate, who is seeking to govern the people to say that kind of a thing. “It was very wrong. It appears that he does not reference me and consider me to be the governor of my state,” he added.
The governor, who was reacting to the call by the people of the state and other Nigerians to withdraw support from Abubakar in the 2023 elections, described the statement credited to the presidential candidate of the PDP, following the Gbeji attacks where several people lost their lives as unfortunate.
Governor Ortom stated this on Tuesday at the Benue Peoples House, Makurdi shortly after attending a church service at the Chapel of Grace to round up a 30 day fasting and prayer organized by the state government.
According to him, “I was the one that our presidential candidate profiled. I have never profiled any Fulani man. I have always qualified any time I call Fulani. These are Fulani from Niger, Mali, Senegal, Mauritania, Libya and Chad, who have come together and said they will take over our country to become their own.
“This is the sole reason why they have displaced our people. Who on earth will say that I should not say what I am saying. I am the governor of Benue State. More than two million people are displaced. Why should I not talk about those who are my enemies and are killing my people.
“I remain committed. Whatever I have done, be it the law. Whatever we are doing in the state is fully with the support of Benue people. I have their consent. I have the backing of the House of Assembly. I have the backing of National Assembly members from the state. Nobody has the right to profile me and make me look bad before the Fulani.”
He disclosed that he has treated everyone in the state fairly. “I have no problem. I have Fulani in my government, and I have never sent any Fulani away from Benue State. All that I have said is that, we have a law in place. Let everybody be law abiding and respect it.
Governor Ortom said, “when this issue came up, I sent message to our presidential candidate, telling him that he was unfair to me when he made those remarks in Kaduna. I told him I needed an unreserved apology from him which he did and accepted that what he did was not right. All the same he apologized to me.
“When I started seeing this agitation back home and other parts of the country, I also chatted him to please get his media aides to refute the statement and send apology to the people in the media so they will understand what it means. These are the things I was trying to avoid. Unfortunately nothing has been done.
“I have read several comments from social media condemning him and saying all kind of things. I think what he said about us in Gbeji was not correct. You can imagine the sympathy message from Mr President through Shehu Garba, and off course, he said it right because we have been disagreeing severally on several political issues and other national issues.
“But when President Muhammadu Buhari noticed that there was this killing, he sent a sympathy message and simply said that the perpetrators of the killings be apprehended. It was not the case of they should integrate people so that they will be no more killing.
Speaking on the constitution of the presidential campaign team, Governor Ortom said he was not consulted before people were picked from the state.
“I am not in his campaign team. There was no consent from me concerning the people they have appointed on the campaign team from the state,” he stated.