Adams Oshiomhole, National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, APC, has said the party will lose control of Benue State if it fields Governor Samuel Ortom as its governorship candidate in the 2019 elections.
Speaking in an interview with newsmen at the APC National Secretariat on Friday, Oshiomhole said the party leaders in the state had become discontented with Governor Ortom over his inability to pay the workers their salaries, despite the allocation received from the Federal Government monthly.
He said, “From the point of view of our leaders in Benue State, their position was clear. They believed that fielding Governor Ortom on the APC platform in the 2019 governorship election could only lead to electoral defeat for a number of reasons.
"They reminded us that in spite of the allocations accruing to the state and in spite of the bailout, amounting to over N20bn, which they had received in two instalments of N10bn each, and in addition to the huge sums of money that the state collected from the Paris Club Refund, Governor Ortom has not, and is not paying salaries to workers as and when due.”
Oshiomhole also accused the Governor of trying to score cheap political points and gather sympathy over his failure to tackle the farmers and herdsmen clashes in the state effectively.
The APC National Chairman faulted Governor Ortom for allegedly harbouring persons who have been indicted as perpetrators of the ethnoreligious clashes bedevilling the state.
He said, “For any man of honour, if an appointee of government is involved in heinous crimes, including killing, that should be enough for a governor to worry.
“Instead, Governor Ortom played up the ethnic dimension of criminality, whereas in truth, some of those who have been killed were not killed by Muslims; they were killed by Christians of Benue State origin, including those he employed.
“So, Ortom’s incapacity to manage it and even his willingness to seek to make political capital of the death of the Benue people is most unfortunate because I believe that even in politics, there should be a level of morality.”
Oshiomhole's allegations come after Governor Ortom decamped from the APC to the Peoples' Democratic Party, PDP, on Wednesday.
Governor Ortom had, prior to his defection, claimed that the APC in the state, under the leadership of Senator George Akume, had issued him with a "red card."