A Nigerian social media commentator and critic sees Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), strident attacks on Samuel Ortom, the Benue State Governor over the exit of the latter from the party as an attribute of a two-faced person.
Oshiomhole, Friday, said Ortom’s exit was a blessing in disguise to the APC because his three and half years as governor in the stage was a waste as he had no single project to show for the mandate given to him by the party.
However, Reno Omokri, a one-time aide to ex-President Goodluck Jonathan writing on Saturday in his Twitter handle, said ‘’2 days ago, Oshiomhole was begging Governor Ortom not to defect. A day after Ortom defected, Oshiomhole now says he was a liability to APC. Do Nigerians now see the two faced character in charge of the APC? The once handsome APC is now on the same level as Oshiomhole’s face.’’
After meeting with Adams Oshiomhole, National Chairman of the APC, on Thursday, July 19, Ortom sang a different tune.
“I am here in APC, a member of APC; I’m still flying the flag of APC and I only said I was given a red card,” he said this time.
“But the leadership of the party told me that the decision of the party leadership at the national level is superior to any individual’s, and I think this is good enough. We have spoken to him, he has spoken to me; stakeholders are going to be spoken to and that is where I belong.
Recall that Oshiomhole, while addressing a news conference at the party secretariat on July 27, said even though the party leadership had attempted to wade into the conflict between the governor and leaders of the party in Benue State, he could not successfully defend the weighty allegation leveled against him by the leaders of the party in the state.
He said that at the instance of the Governor, the National leadership of the party had arranged another meeting to bring north Gov. Ortom and party leaders in the state to a round table with the meeting scheduled to hold on Wednesday, July 24 only for the governor to turn governance to “Nollywood.”
Oshiomhole said “Within the last 48 hours we have watched the unfolding events in Benue State particularly the decision of Gov, Ortom to leave the party. Ordinarily, we would not have responded having already responded to the decision by the Publicity Secretary.
“As you all recall, Gov. Ortom had said that the APC in Benue State gave him red card to leave our party and that they will not field him in the governorship election in 2018 and that because the door had been shut against him, he had no choice than to leave. Without going into investigations, we invited him to speak to us on the issues and we also invited our party leaders in Benue State to also brief us on what the issues were.
“From the point of view of our leaders in Benue State, their position was clear that field Gov. Ortom On APC platform in 2019 can only lead to electoral defeat for a number of reasons.
“They reminded us that inspite of the allocation accruing to Benue State, the bail our fund amount to over N20 billion and the huge sums of money collected from the Paris club refund, he was not paying salaries to Benue workers, including teachers, local government employees and civil servants. He owes some of the as much as 12months salaries.
“So, the entire economy of Benue State that survives on civil servants’ salaries is to that effect compromised. What is not obvious is that those who live on rents paid by civil servants cannot collect their rents with which to survive, thereby having effect on the commercial live of the people. This explains a vicious circle of poverty in Benue State that has been deepened under Gov. Ortom.
“The second is that Gov. Ortom has complicated, by his own actions, and poor judgment the security situation in the state. They draw our attention to the fact that some of those that have been arrested as a result of the killings are people who have been associated with him, including people in his employment, especially a guy known to have been involved in Boko Haram whom he recruited to manage what they called forest guard.
“These people have been arrested and are in police custody. If an appointee of a Governor is involved in a heinous crime, including killing that will be enough for a governor to worry about. Instead, he played up the ethnic dimension of criminality, even though some of those killed were killed not by Muslims, but Christian of Benue State origin, including those he employed.
“These people have been in police custody, so, his attempt to explain away criminality by playing the ethnic card is unhelpful to what he should as governor to manage the situation better. After all, those in Benue State have always been there and his predecessors, including Suswam had found ways to manage these diversities. So, Ortom’s incapacity to manage it and even seek to make political capital of the death of Benue people is unfortunate.
“It is important that Nigerians understand that the condemnable killings of two Reverend Fathers and some Christians in a church, those who have confessed to these crimes include people who have worked with Gov. Ortom on these killings were done few weeks after one of them was extremely critical during his sermon about the governance of the state and the style of governance of the Governor.
“His price obviously was to pay with his dear life and not a few thought that the governor would celebrate that. I am not about to suggest that Gov, Ortom might have asked anybody to go and kill anyone, but that some of those involved in these killings are Benue State originated are Christians.
“That is not to deny that some herdsmen have also been involved in the killings. But the responsibility of any government is not to seek to manipulate this, but to confront it.
“There was also the fact that for three and half years that he has been in office, he cannot point to any concrete project that he has carried out. He cannot point to any major project that has been completed.
“When we asked him these questions and allegations that why the Vice President and the President has visited other states to Commission projects, in Benue, they have only paid condolence visit. It is okay to lament the absence of federal presence, but what is the excuse for the absence of state projects in the state.
“His argument is that he has diverted a lot of the resources to security issue. That raises the issue. Can you be spending N22 billion on security and the people are increasingly insecure? So if you accept that he spent money on security, it meant that he realizes that he has a responsibility to secure life and not pass the bulk.
“So, I felt scandalized watching him saying he had to leave the APC because he did not feel secure. To be honest, I am relieved as National Chairman and the leadership of our party in Benue State are relieved that he has returned to where he came from.
“So, we now have a clean platform to search for a credible Benue citizen that can provide the kind of leadership that the Benue State deserve and not one who seek to make political capital out of human graves and celebrating the death of his own people.
“As a party, we condemn any life that has been wasted by criminals and we accept that government responsibility is to protect live and property. But I condemn anyone of us who seek to make political capital out of these killings because we have shared responsibility to protect their lives regardless of their religion or location. So, we are re lived that Ortom has returned.
“When you look at it, he got our ticket on a platter of gold because he was never a participant in the building process of the party. He became a candidate by accident. The lesson to learn is that never again should people become candidates by accident.”
On the allegation that he was being victimized for refusing to share state resources with the party leaders in the state, Oshiomhole said “If a governor confessed that he shared government money to party leaders, is that the reasons he will be re-elected?
“Then if he has shared the government money with party leaders then the party leaders should try to keep in in office by guarantee him the ticket since he shared the money with them. If on the other hand he claimed that he refused to share the money, good therefore what have you done with the money?
“You couldn’t pay the workers salaries with the money you refused to share, have you built more roads for the people of Benue state? What have you accomplished with this bailout fund and the Paris fund?
“So let me assure that what I do promised, and please mark my word each time I speak, those negotiable and verifiable grievances we would address. And I said we won’t deny somebody ticket on account of a conflict between him and any other person if he is at home with his people, even yesterday I emphasized that.
“When people say automatic ticket, does it guarantee automatic victory when people are against you? I said so. Because we didn’t give you departure ticket, so how are we going to gice you a return ticket?
“So, I couldn’t assure gov Ortom that we will overrule the posution of our members and leaders in Benue state that come 2019 we will give him ticket. I wanted to simply cross chect with him in the allegations made against him and he was to come by Wednesday that is why he organised that drama.
“And that tells you the quality of reasoning, with all due respect to Governor Ortom, how can you reduce governance to Nollywood, saying hen I wanted to go to Abuja to meet with the National Working Committee but my people have blocked the road that I will not go. When has it become a case that when a governor wants to travel it is on the radio that he is travelling and this is the purpose.”
However, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has described the All Progressive Congress, APC, as a dead party and the party’s National Chairman, an undertaker overseeing the demise of the ruling party.
The declaration was contained in a press statement signed by Kola Ologbondiyan, PDP, National Publicity Secretary.
According to PDP, “Unfortunately for Oshiomhole and his Presidential sponsor, events of the weeks ahead will clear all doubts that APC is dead and that Oshiomhole is just an undertaker whose job is to butcher and cremate the derelict contraption of oppressors who are falsely hailing themselves as messiahs.
“What Oshiomhole and President Buhari, in their fantasy trip, fail to understand is that those they seek to draw into the cave are already aware of the story of the sick lion and that all animals that went visiting never returned. They know that the tiger does not offer his back for a ride without a price.”
The PDP continued that very soon Oshiomhole and President Buhari would find themselves alone in the cursed ‘Black Pearl’ that the APC has irredeemably become.
While we understand Oshiomhole’s frustration over his inability to stop the coalition, the fact remains that he and President Buhari are fighting a lost battle in trying to destroy it, OlogbondiyaNigerians,
Nigerians, PDP stated, have already reached a consensus to coalesce and vote-out President Buhari come 2019 and replace him with a more competent, Pan-Nigerian President, and no amount of intimidation, threats, violence or even enticement of any kind can change this iron-cast resolve.
The PDP admonished Oshiomhole not to think that clinging to a sinking ship and its deserted captain can save him from prosecution from allegations of humongous corruption and siphoning of billions of naira while serving as Edo state governor, for which he will surely stand trial.
Oshiomhole, claimed PDP, has become jittery over the mega coalition between the PDP and 38 other political interests, therefore his resort to hauling of misdirected insults and abuses on the PDP.
The PDP noted that Oshiomhole’s resort to insults betrays the confusion of a depressed politician seeking to cover his personal vacuity and inner fears of the inevitable defeat awaiting President Muhammadu Buhari and his dysfunctional APC in 2019.
“The PDP holds nothing but pity for Oshiomhole, who is now licking his own vomit by going around cap in hand and begging the same compatriots, whom he earlier called names like ‘inconsequential’, ‘hungry birds’ and ‘tired feet’, not to leave his sinking party,” mocked Ologbondiyan.