Adams Oshiomhole, the national chairman of the All Progressives Congress, APC, has said that the party was relieved that Benue State governor, Samuel Ortom, defected to the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.
“I am relieved as national chairman, and I believe that the leadership of the party in Benue is also relieved that Ortom has left the party and returned to the club he belongs,” Mr Oshiomhole said in an interview with journalists on Friday.
Mr Oshiomhole lampooned the PDP as a “club whose philosophy is to share the money and not develop communities”.
“We now have a clean platform to search for a clean and credible candidate from Benue, a candidate that can provide leadership that the great people of Benue state deserves. And not someone who seeks to make political capital out of human graves and celebrating the death of his own people,” he said.
Mr Oshiomhole added that as a party, the APC condemns killings by any criminal whether in Benue state or any other part of the country.
He said the APC accepts that government’s responsibility must be to protect lives and property.
However, the party will condemn in strong terms anyone in government that seeks to get political capital from the shedding of blood.
He stressed that government at all levels have shared responsibility of protecting Nigerians irrespective of religious, social and political status.
Mr Oshiomhole accused the Benue governor of ineptitude in the discharge of his duties as chief security officer of his state and insisted that Mr Ortom got the party’s ticket, “on a platter of gold”.
This, he said, was especially so, because the governor never participated during the process of the party’s formation.
He added that the party would henceforth, be more thorough on its choice of candidate.
“He became a candidate by accident and the lesson for our party is that never again should anyone become a candidate on our platform by accident.
“It has to be by conscious choice, my aim is that we will have a political party that is defined by clear cut ideology and people will join or abstain from joining on the premise of conviction,” he said.
He added that it was unfortunate that while President Muhammadu Buhari had been to other states in the federation to commission projects, there has been none to commission in Benue.
This, Mr Oshiomhole said, was so because Mr Ortom had not developed any project since he assumed office, adding that this was one of the complaints the Benue APC leaders brought against him.
The APC national chairman also accused Mr Ortom of making political gain on the security situation in his state, after allegedly spending heavily on security.
He said that the Benue governor when asked to defend himself following the accusations against him, could not give reasonable explanation.
“Whereas the President and Vice President had visited other states to commission projects, they had only visited Benue on condolence visits.
“It is OK to lament that there is no federal presence. Where is the explanation for the absence of projects in Benue state?
“Ortom’s argument is that he had diverted a lot of funds to security issues,” Mr Oshiomhole said.
He added that the governor’s claim of spending so much on security in the state raises more questions.
He noted that while the governor claimed that he had spent N22 billion received from the Federal Government on security, the people of the state were more and more insecure.
Mr Oshiomhole said he felt scandalised watching Mr Ortom on television saying he had to leave the APC because the party could not protect the state.