The Governor of Benue State and the leaders of the rulling All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state are seeking an alternative political platform ahead of the 2019 general election following the resolve of the APC to deny Ortom the party’s 2019 governorship ticket over his decision to host a mass burial for the 73 victims of herdsmen attack against instructions from the party leadership and the presidency.
Recall that suspected Fulani herdsmen stormed communities in Logo and Guma local government areas on New Year’s Day killing 73 people including children and pregnant women.
Worried by the negative image the mass burial will give the APC and the Buhari administration, Gov. Ortom was advised to call off the mass burial but he went ahead against party decision despite top security chiefs and party stalwarts sent to convey the position of the party to the governor. The party warned that the idea of a highly publicized mass burial could lead to reprisal attacks in other parts of the country.
Gov. Ortom, on the other hand who had accused the federal government of failing to protect the Benue people despite warnings of an impending attack.
Sources within the government has said that governor Ortom had been under threat from the party since the mass burial was held for the victims of the attack at the Ibrahim Badamusi Babangida Square, Makurdi.
The governor whobis now consulting with political leaders in the state is not leaving anything to chance as he is said to be making frantic moves to either join the opposition PDP or Obasanjo’s Coalition of Nigeria.
It is however important to note that the herdsmen attacks have more than ever united the Benue people behind their governor for standing up and signing the Anti Open Grazing Bill into law to protect his people who are largely farmers.
“Ortom has been under threat from Abuja since he hosted the mass burial, but I can tell you that he has said he would not betray his people for any ticket,” the governor’s friend said.
“The governor has sent a message to Abuja that they should realise that nobody has won the presidency in Nigeria without Benue State since the election of Alhaji Shehu Shagari.
“He reminded them that where Benue goes, is where Nigeria goes as far as election into the presidency is concerned”, the source said.