Governor Samuel Ortom has attacked former governor George Akume for calling on the Federal Government to declare a state of emergency in Benue State.
Akume had at a press conference in Abuja on Monday called for a state of emergency in Benue over high level of insecurity.
But Ortom hits back at him through a statement from his Chief Press Secretary, Terver Akase
“We read the text of press conference addressed today in Abuja by the Minister of Special Duties and Inter-Governmental Affairs, Senator George Akume with other All Progressives Congress, APC leaders from Benue State.
“We had earlier alerted Benue people and other Nigerians to expect the said press conference. It is one in a series of an organized smear campaign against Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom.
“As expected, Senator Akume and his group avoided responding to the issues of insecurity in the country which the Governor has repeatedly and rightly accused the Presidency of complicity.
“The outing of George Akume and others in Abuja was nothing more than a massage on the ego of the Presidency to curry personal favours. As long as he and his group secure their meal tickets, Benue can go to hell. A media attack on Governor Ortom instantly attracts a package from the Villa,”the statement said.
According to the statement, Akume and his group must have been under intense pressure to hold the press conference and hurl vituperation against the Governor,saying this, they had to do to keep their jobs.
It said the leadership of APC in Benue, having lost grip of the party membership in the state with hundreds defecting to PDP every week, now saw a window of opportunity to relaunch themselves into relevance.
“As a two-term former Governor of Benue State, it is shocking that Akume is now calling for the declaration of state of emergency in the state to dismantle democratic structures.
“Is it not contradictory that Akume faults Governor Ortom over his statements on the President’s handling of the security situation in the country but goes ahead to brand the Governor as a criminal and sponsor of militia? We challenge the Minister to provide evidence to back his claim that the Governor is involved in corruption and sponsors militia.
“We recall that when he was Governor, Akume challenged the then President Chief Olusegun Obasanjo for not doing enough to end the Jukun/Tiv crisis on the border of Benue and Taraba State. He is on record to have confronted President Obasanjo and said uncomplimentary things to the President. Now he finds it convenient to give lectures on respect for hierarchy in government and age,” the statement added.
On Akume’s call for a probe, the statement said “we have no objection to that. Governor Ortom is running a transparent administration and has nothing to hide. We however invite Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC to begin their probe from 1999 when Akume became Governor. The N2 billion that went missing at the twilight of his administration is yet to be accounted for.
“Akume’s utterances in 2019 are still fresh in the minds of Benue people. After the state came under herdsmen attacks and hundreds were killed, he accused Benue people of killing themselves. That the people responded to him by voting him out of the Senate confirmed their anger towards him. Lastly, we expected APC to hold the press conference in Benue to test their popularity among the people of the state.”