<<< By Jimin Geoffrey >>>
Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, announced the resignation of his membership of the All Progressives Congress, APC.
He said he had rejoined the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.
Fourteen of the 23 council chairmen in the state and majority of the councillors in the 276 council wards in the state pledged to follow him.
He made the declaration today at the Benue Peoples House Makurdi during a meeting with the chairmen as well as leaders and other members of legislative councils across the state.
The Governor stated that he took the decision after due consultations with major stakeholders in the state.
His announcement came a few hours after a coalition of Benue youths stopped him from travelling to Abuja to attend a scheduled meeting with the national leadership of the All Progressives Congress to resolve his differences with the leadership of the party in the state.
The Governor was leaving Government House, Makurdi for the trip when they blocked his route carrying placards.
Some of the placards read “Ortom don’t go back to APC,” “We don’t have land to donate for ranching,” “APC is Miyetti party,” Our farms are not for cows,” You must leave APC,” Ortom is our party, ” and “2019: On Ortom we stand.”
Their spokesmen, Terrence Kuanum, and Pastor Dave Ogbole adviced the Governor not to make the trip for further discussions with the APC leadership on his membership of the party but to rather look for an alternative platform.
They threatened that if he attended the meeting they would vote him out in 2019.
To underscore their anger they ordered that the APC flag should be removed from the Governor’s official car immediately and the Governor’s driver complied.
The Governor announced his decision to rejoin the PDP after displaying his resignation letter from the APC which he said had been tendered to the ward chairman of the party in his ward.
He said 10 of the 17 APC members in the state assembly had also left the party for the PDP.
While briefing newsmen shortly after his declaration he described the PDP as familiar terrain which was a better platform which would protect his interest and that of the Benue people.
Chairman of Association of Local Governments of Nigeria, ALGON, in the state, and Guma Local Government Council, Mr. Anthony Shawon, and several of his colleagues, as well as Chairman of the forum of Legislative Councils, Mr. Tom Hanmakyur, with many of his colleagues all pledged support for the Governor’s decision.
Mr. Shawon noted that public opinion was in favour of the Governor leaving the APC.