Governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC, in Benue State, Chief Dr Samuel Ortom has pledged to address the perennial complaints of the marginalization of the Igede people of Oju and Obi local government areas of Benue State.
He spoke at the weekend during campaign rallies of the party for the governorship, senatorial, as well as state and national assemblies’ candidates in the Benue South senatorial district.
Several chieftains of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, including the former member of the House of Representatives for Oju/Obi federal constituency, Rt. Hon Augustine Adikpe led thousands of members to decamp into the APC in the two local government areas.
The former legislator listed the neglect of the area in terms of critical infrastructure and appointments as reasons for leaving the party with the hope that the APC would address their grievances.
He said their defection was to also demonstrate their support for the APC governorship candidate.
Chief Dr Ortom stated that having come from a minority group himself he had experienced the pains of marginalized groups and would take deliberate steps to safeguard the interests of such people.
According to him one of the ways to address the challenge would be to entrench core values including justice, transparency, and fairness such that the interests and aspirations of all the people of state were adequately protected and their fears allayed.
He described the Igede as resilient, hardworking, and sincere people who believed in God and his omnipotence hence they conduct themselves with integrity.
The former Minister of State, Industry, Trade, and Investment said he would address problems of unemployment and poverty through industrialisation, boosting of commercial activities through the promotion of small and medium scale enterprises, and attraction of investment into the state as a priority.
Chief Dr Ortom lamented the non payment of salaries, pensions, and closure of schools as well as the virtual collapse of the entire system and attributed the development to the diversion of public funds into private pockets saying his administration would halt the drift and restore sanity.
While visiting traditional rulers he promised to upgrade their status and give them roles as people with institutional memory so that they can offer meaningful service to the people as development partners.
He urged the electorate to obtain permanent voters cards, secure them, vote and protect their votes in order to change their fortunes for the better.
Traditional rulers of the communities assured that the blessings they gave him while he was seeking nomination were irrevocable while leaders of the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, with whom he met stated that their group had adopted him as their preferred candidate and would ensure that he wins the race.
Community leaders from various groups under the auspices of Omiy’Igede pledged their support for the election of APC candidates and requested their inclusion in the cabinet when the government would be formed.
Ortom/Abounu Governorship Organization.