The governor of Benue State, Samuel Ortom, on Sunday called the bluff of the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Atiku Abubakar, saying, “to hell with Atiku”.
The governor made the statement when he hosted his colleagues from Rivers, Oyo, Abia and Enugu States to a dinner party held at the government house, Makurdi.
The four governors, Nyesom Wike of Rivers State, Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State, Seyi Makinde of Oyo and Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State, had arrived in Makurdi on Sunday for the official flag-off of the PDP governorship and parliamentary campaign scheduled for Monday.
They are expected to inaugurate some projects in the state before the campaign.
Ortom said he would not support Atiku’s presidential bid to continue the killing of Benue people.
The governor lamented the killing of 18 persons in his council area last Friday where a young man in his 20s had his eyes removed to send a message to him.
He said, “To hell with Atiku and anyone supporting him. They should go and tell him. You want me to be slave for a Fulani. It’s better I die. Anybody supporting Atiku is an enemy of Benue.
“My people are being killed and you want me to be quiet.
“My tenure ends in May and you can do whatever you want if you think you have the powers. I have written my will. When I gave it to my wife, she cried all night. If I die at 62, many of my mates have gone long time ago and If I die today, I’m a fulfilled person but let it be recorded that I died resisting the invasion and killing of my people.
“I will never support a Fulani man to become president. If there is another person who is ready to work with me and ensure the security of my people, I will work with him,” Ortom said.
The governor appreciated God for journey mercies granted to his colleagues from their various destinations to Benue State and described them as true friends of Benue people.
He said Wike held a title as the Eagle of Tiv land, noting that when he, Ortom, was attacked, Wike was the first person who roared, saying that kill Ortom and you have killed the whole Nigeria.
“He did not keep quiet when Benue was under siege, he visited with stakeholders from Rivers State and committed N250 million and subsequently he has committed over N700 million to Benue IDPs.”
Ortom condemned some Benue sons, particularly those at the National Assembly, who, according to him, are keeping mute over the killings going on in the state, saying, “From tomorrow, I’m turning my venom on the National Assembly members from the state who are romancing with Buhari to kill the Benue people.”
He stated that as the state launches the campaign, it is his belief that the PDP will win the 2023 elections.
“As we trust in him, 2023, if the elections will hold, we are good to go and by the grace of God we will win. Benue is PDP and PDP is Benue State,” he said.
He warned those who may have planned to come to Benue to rig elections to shelve such plans because, “If you come here to rig any election, we are not going to accept it.”
Speaking on behalf of the G-5 governors, Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, said they were out to save the country from the present condition of total collapse.
“The G-5 are the integrity governors and anyone can challenge us. We have come to give Governor Samuel Ortom solidarity support for the flag-off of campaigns in Benue and to tell Benue people that we are with Governor Ortom. Like us or hate us, we are with Ortom. You cannot break us. We are bonded together.
“Leadership is risk-taking. Whether you like him or not, Ortom has shown leadership,” and he called on the people to support him all the way.
He further reiterated his call on the National Chairman of the PDP, Dr Iyorchia Ayu, to respect agreements that he would resign if the presidential candidate of the party came from the north.
When contacted, spokesman for the Atiku/Okowa Presidential Campaign Organisation, Kola Ologbondiyan, promised to get back to our correspondent as soon as possible.
“I will react soon. I am quite busy now but I will definitely get back to you on that,” he pledged.