Governor of Benue State, Samuel Ortom, Monday, dumped the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), saying “As for party, I’ve been given the red card and I’m now outside the pitch.’’
Announcing his decision during the swearing-in ceremony of Jerome Torshimbe, the newly appointed Special Adviser on Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, at the banquet hall of the Government House in Makurdi, Ortom said APC has given him ‘red card’ to quit party.
Confirming the development to journalists on Monday, Terver Akase, the governor’s Chief Press Secretary, quoted the governor as saying ‘’So, if I have been given the red card and I’m standing outside, that means I’m a free man.”
The Governor is yet to mention his new political party, but noted that as soon as he makes up his mind in that regard, he would make it known to Benue people.
“I don’t know what will happen next, but I’m waiting. If others approach me, then I will tell the Benue people that I’m joining another football club.”
He, therefore, called on the people of the state to remain united and not to allow party or ethnicity cause division among them, stressing that God who helped him to win in 2015 is well able to see him through in the coming general elections.
“Let party or ethnicity not divide us. I’m a child of destiny and it’s only God that will decide what I will be. These challenges that we see today, we shall see them no more. All that we are required to do is not to begin to be wayward in our conduct but to move to the righteous side of God. Once we do that, things will work out for our good.”
Last week, Reformed All Progressives Party, APC, broke out from the ruling APC under the chairmanship of Comrade Adams Oshiomhole.
With the victory of APC in Ekiti governorship polls on Saturday, political analysts were of the view that this would soliddly bolster the support-base of the party at the national level and further check more defections from the party.
However, Ortom’s exit seen as deficit to the party in the state whose image has been waned by the Farmers/Herdsmen clashes that have resulted in several deaths of innocent people in Benue State.
We didn’t push him out — APC
Speaking, Monday in Abuja shortly after a meeting of the APC National Working Committee, NWC, National Chairman of the party, Adams Oshiomhole, said the governor had on several occasions promised that he would not leave the ruling party except he was pushed out.
“I know that Governor Ortom is a very senior member of the party and he has said so repeatedly in print and has said to me one on one that he will not leave the APC unless he was pushed out.
“I have, since I assumed chairmanship of this party, along with my colleagues in the NWC, and I know for a fact that we have not shut out any governor and certainly not Governor Ortom. And in these days of social media, I will not be responding on the basis of rumours and unverified reports,” he said.