“We’re Surprised Governor Ortom Dumped Our Party” – APC Reacts

Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, on Wednesday formally announced his defection from the All Progessives Congress to the Peoples Democratic Party.

This is coming a day after the APC lost 13 of its senators and 37 of its House of Representatives members to the PDP, thus giving the majority status to the opposition in the Senate.

APC says they are surprised by the governor’s action.

Ortom made the declaration during the meeting with local government chairmen and their councillors at the new banquet hall of the Government House, Makurdi.

Thirteen local government chairmen and 276 councillors were in attendance.

Ortom said that despite the intervention of the national leadership of the APC, the “state chapter of the party has continued to launch attack on me.”

“This morning, I had wanted to go to Abuja to attend the meeting but some youths in the state refused, they asked me to go back.

“But let me formally inform this gathering that I have forwarded my resignation letter from the APC to the chairman of my council ward and he has promised to join me in the new party,” Ortom declared.

Immediately he announced his resignation from the APC, the governor displayed his resignation letter to the people.

“As I talk to you, 10 out of 17 state lawmakers of the APC are ready to follow me to the new party. May I formally announce to you that I have formally moved to the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP,” Ortom declared.

Earlier, the 13 council chairmen and leaders of the legislative council in attendance promised to follow the governor to the PDP to ensure his re-election aspiration.

Also, youths under the auspices of ‘Coalition of Benue Youths’, comprising 40 groups on Wednesday had stormed the government house and prevented Ortom from travelling to Abuja as they forced him to return to the government house.

Ortom was on his way to Abuja to meet with the leadership of the APC with a view to settling the rift between him and Senator George Akume.

The governor had around 10am taken off from the Government House, Makurdi when the youths in their hundreds blocked his route.

The youths carried placards with various inscriptions such as: “Ortom don’t go back to the APC,” “We don’t have land to donate for ranching,” “The APC is Miyetti party,” “Our farms are not for cows,” “You must leave the APC,” and “2019: On Ortom we stand.”

Terrence Kuanum and Pastor Dave Ogbole, who spoke on behalf of the youths, advised the governor not to attend the meeting but to seek an alternative platform for his re-election bid.

The youths threatened not to vote for him if he shunned their advice and attend the meeting.

Ortom’s defection somewhat surprising, says APC 
The APC on Wednesday lamented Ortom’s defection, saying the party found the governor’s action “somewhat surprising.”

The National Publicity Secretary of the APC, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi, said the party was surprised because efforts were being made by the national leadership of the ruling party to ensure that Ortom did not dump the party.

Abdullahi said. “The party recalls efforts made by the National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, to address some of the grievances raised by the Benue State governor pertaining to the local politics in Benue State.

“The governor had left the meeting saying he was satisfied with the assurances given by party leaders. We are still working on giving effect to the resolutions from the meeting. Therefore, we are somewhat surprised by Governor Ortom’s decision.

“The party reiterates its earlier position that it respects the rights of every citizen to choose their political affiliation but expresses hope that those who have left the party will rescind their decisions.

“Even with this development, we don’t think it is too late for reconciliation. We have to continue to talk. As long as people keep their minds open and have the courage to put the real issues on the table, reconciliation is still possible,” he added.
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