PDP Reveals Real Reason Gov. Ortom Was Harrassed at Makurdi Airforce Base

…Says Ortom, Benue People Can Never Succumb to Intimidation

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has strongly condemned what it describes as the unrelenting onslaught of the Buhari-led All Progressives Congress (APC) government against Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State, the latest being the decision to lock the governor out of the Makurdi Airforce base where he had gone, upon formal invitation, to receive Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on Saturday, February 12, 2022.

The party, in a statement signed and circulated in Abuja on Tuesday February 15, by Hon. Debo Ologunagba, its National Publicity Secretary, described the action as another vicious attempt by the APC to embarrass, harass, unsettle Governor Ortom and sustain the terrorization of the people of Benue State in the desperation to sequester their constitutional and ancestral heritage.

“It is instructive to note that Governor Ortom, upon formal invitation cancelled his official engagements to accord the Vice President, who landed at the Makurdi Airforce Base en route Taraba State the necessary respect in line with protocols applicable to the office, only for the governor to be denied access into the Airforce Base to meet the Vice President.

“The Buhari Presidency cannot deny involvement in this pre-meditated and provocative act because all arms of the Armed Forces, including the Airforce are under the authority and control of the Commander-in-Chief, who is the head of the Executive arm to which the Vice President also belongs.

“Such orchestrated action against a democratically elected governor of a State by an organ of the Federal Government which is directly under the control of the Commander-in-Chief is to say the least reprehensible. It is an unpardonable assault on our democracy, national unity and peaceful co-existence in our country,” the party added.

The PDP dismissed the belated apologies by Vice President Osinbajo and the excuse of communication gap as an afterthought.

“Moreover, the reported suspension of an officer over the despicable act is an attempt to pull the wool in the face of Nigerians, consistent with the action of the APC in matters requiring transparency and independent public enquiry.

“It is obvious that this assault on Governor Ortom is because he has become a thorn in the flesh for the Buhari-led administration given his principled stand on the inhuman and life-discounting stance of the APC administration against the people of Benue State, particularly its failure to protect them from mass killing by marauders, terrorists and known assailants as well as the ill treatment to internally displaced persons in Benue State.

“Nigerians can recall how officials of the APC-led Federal government have been confronting, harassing, insulting and issuing disrespectful press statements against Governor Ortom for insisting on the rights and security of the people of Benue State under our Federal Structure and Constitutional Democracy.

“The public can also recall the several attempts made on Governor Ortom’s life which remain unresolved despite assurances by the Federal Government to bring the culprits to book.

“Moreover, there are already apprehensions in Benue State that locking Governor Ortom out of the Airforce Base was ostensibly a plot to undermine security around the governor, orchestrate restiveness, place him in harm’s way and blame the outcome on hoodlums,” the PDP further stated.

The Party said it therefore demands for an immediate public investigation to unravel the real brains behind the action against the governor as well as ensure that such desecration of public office is not encouraged or condoned.

“The APC administration must learn to understand and respect our democratic values and tenets. Instead of always trying to intimidate Governor Ortom, this administration should assure the people by taking steps to address their concerns as Governor Ortom and the Benue people can never be subdued by intimidation and harassment.”