Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom Ortoms, has alleged that governors of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) defecting to the All Progressives Congress(APC) are doing so to avoid prosecution from the Federal Government after mismanaging public trust and resources.
On why PDP governors are defecting to APC, Ortom told Sunnewsonline “You know in politics as defined by one of our greatest philosophers in our time, that politics is a game of interest; no permanent enemy, no permanent friend.
”People are free to defect to any political party for whatever reason that they find expedient.”
“I was in PDP when things did not go down well with me, I defected to APC and I won election in 2015 and several other people were carried on my back as a result of my defecting to APC and they won.”
“In 2017, when things did not go well and I was defending my people and some people felt that I should not defend my own people, I defected back to PDP and also won election. So I have no issue with those defecting here and there.
”But the only challenge is that, let those people come clean because you heard the former National Chairman of APC say that when you defect to APC, you will become a saint; even if you are a devil, you will become a saint.”
“And so people who have mismanaged themselves and mismanaged public property are afraid. And that’s the instrument that the Federal Government is using on our people. They came to me and I said no, I have no skeleton. Let them bring it out. If you don’t do well, I will take you to court and we dig it out there.”
“You have also heard about a minister in the federal republic of Nigeria, current minister serving today who has embezzled a lot of money and bought an estate for $37 million and $20 million was recovered from her house. And up till today, we have been calling on the presidency to expose that Minister and let there be justice. But have you heard anything from the presidency?”
“And even the EFCC, I want to challenge the EFCC Chairman, he is a young man, he should stand on his integrity and what he told us when he was confirmed.
”Let there be justice, equity and fairness. He should unearth that Minister; it is not enough to say a serving Minister. Let him come out to tell us who that Minister is and how far he is going about the investigation. We have heard about several former Governors who were being prosecuted by the EFCC but today because they are in the APC, everything is silent.”
“What kind of justice are you talking about in this country? What kind of integrity is the presidency talking about?
“The presidency should come out and tell us if his hands are clean. He that comes to equity must come with clean hands. Where are the Mr. President’s clean hands in this matter that we are talking about?
”How can you be accommodating people who are perceived to have criminal tendencies in your government and you tell me that nothing is happening. It is not fair. This is not the Nigeria we bargained for. This is not what Mr. President stood for in 2015 that prompted Nigerians to vote for him.”
Meanwhile, PDP governors in the North alleged Wednesday that the Muhammadu-led Buhari Administration is intimidating them and other members of the opposition party to join APC.
They claimed that some of their colleagues, including Ben Ayade (Cross River) and Bello Matawalle (Zamfara),who recently defected to the ruling party did so involuntarily.
The PDP governors also accused the Buhari Administration of shortchanging the North despite controlling political power.
But the APC faulted the allegation the PDP governors, saying its track records were the reasons for the development.
Briefing reporters after the meeting at the Taraba State Governor’s Lodge, Asokoro, Abuja, Governor Darius Ishiaku described the action as “undemocratic and unacceptable.”
He said: ”All governors of the PDP who have joined the ruling APC in recent times did so because of intimidation. Most of our members are also being intimidated persistently. We want the intimidation stopped because we are not comfortable with it.”
Ishiaku added that the PDP governors in the North were dissatisfied with the kind of leadership being provided by the APC and had made up their minds to remain in the opposition party to rescue their respective states.
He said: “We all resolved that the APC government has not provided the leadership needed in the North. And so, we the PDP governors in the North are not satisfied with the leadership of the APC government in the North.
”And we are drawing the attention that even though the leadership is in the North, our region is being short-changed. We want that observation to be noted.
“We the PDP governors have also resolved that, on our own, to continue to do our best for our people as we have already been doing in our various states.”
The other Northern PDP governors that attended the meeting are Samuel Ortom (Benue), Aminu Tanbuwal (Sokoto), Bala Muhammed (Bauchi) and Ahmadu Fintiri (Adamawa).
However, the APC described the governors’ allegation of intimidation as “laughable.”
Secretary of the APC Caretaker Extra-ordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC) John Akpanudoedehe said Buhari’s achievements were the “unique selling point of attraction and not intimidation.”
Akpanudoehede said: “This allegation by PDP governors is laughable. Nobody is intimidating anybody to join the APC. People are coming on their free will.
”The record is straight. President Buhari is too strong and his successes are so rooted that these (defecting) governors have seen and have concluded that it is better to team up with an achiever like President Buhari.
”The truth is no one is pursuing them, they are not under any threat to leave PDP. They have constitutional immunity as governors. They know they can’t be prosecuted, they left PDP on their own to consolidate.”