Benue Governor Samuel Ortom
Governor Samuel Ortom has stated that the recent statement by the Senior Special Assistant, SSA, to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu accusing him of hate speech was the handiwork of the cabal who have hijacked the presidency and running the country aground.
Recall that Mr Shehu, in the said statement, had alleged that Governor Ortom, in his campaigns ahead of the 2019 general elections, was promoting hate campaign in churches and inciting Benue people against President Buhari.
But, in a swift reaction, during his campaign at Tse-Agbaragba, Konshisha local government area, the governor described the allegation as unfortunate.
He said, “I read the statement, I’m sure it’s not coming from Mr President but it is coming from the presidency.
“I’m also sure that statement from Garba Shehu is coming from the cabal that the wife of the President is complaining about. It cannot be from the President.
“In my campaigns I have never insulted President Buhari, I have never made any hate speech against him at any given time.
“If I talk of Miyetti Allah claiming responsibility for the killings in Benue state, it came from them and it was before the media and everybody knew about it.
“If I talk about the Fulani Nationality Movement, FUNAM, who did a press conference in Kano and proclaimed that the killings in Benue was a continuation of 1804 jihad, it didn’t come from me, it came from them.
“I actually called for the arrest of these people because they were making hate speeches and displaying impunity over this country and I also reported them to security agencies, I expected that these people should have been arrested, I was just repeating that.
“Garba Shehu cannot tell me where I’ll go and do my campaigns. If I’m done with the churches I will also go to the Mosque. I respect the Muslims for who they are and I respect the churches because that is background I come from, I am a Christian.
“Can Garba Shehu come and tell me where to campaign? He doesn’t have the right, he is from APC and I am of the PDP and I’m campaigning to win the election for my party and my presidential candidate Atiku Abubakar because I believe he will not keep a cabal in the villa.”
Continuing, Mr Ortom said, “I am a man, I’m not a woman, that is why I respect the wife of the President who made a clarion asking ‘where are the men of this country?’
“Should we allow the cabal in the Villa to ruin this country? I’m not a coward, it is a coward that will die 20 times before his actual death.
“Time has come for us to say the truth in this country. Whether it is going to be with our lives, we should say it in order to save the country and save our democracy.
“Look at what is happening, looking at the issue of arraigning the CJN, it is impunity at its highest level.
“I always say that we must respect the rule of law, that is the only way we can preserve ourselves and even the positions we hold.
“Anything outside that will result in impunity and when there is impunity you are inviting anarchy and when there is anarchy you don’t know where it will lead us to.
“Look, nobody should be above the law, we should respect the law, the Presidency should respect the law, I should respect the law, everybody should respect the law, that is the only way we can preserve this country because Nigeria belongs to all of us.
“All of us are stakeholders and we cannot fold our hands and see things being destroyed by individuals, I have no time for that; Garba Shehu should go and concentrate on his job and he should stop trying to create hatred between me and the President, because I have no issues with the President.
“I talk about issues of the campaign. If you talk about hate speech they should go and arrest FUAM and Miyetti Allah members who made that statement and are going around doing all sorts of illegal things, creating hate and confusion among Nigerians and nobody is out to say anything, rather you hear agents of government come out to give backing to them.
“Why should I keep quiet, I will not keep quiet unless Justice, equity and fairness is done by the Federal government. It is my responsibility and the people of Benue state to make laws as long as it does not conflict with the provisions of the constitution of Nigeria.
“But it is also the responsibility of the Federal government to enforce any law whether by the states or federal government. So what is my offense?”
Benue Governor Samuel Ortom