When Chief Samuel Ortom got the APC ticket to run for the 2015 Governorship election in Benue state, a lot of eyebrows were raised. While some questioned his sudden emergence as the party’s candidate, others were concerned with the manner of his emergence.
Granted that the process of his emergence as APC candidate could have been more democratic, the fact that he was given a poisoned chalice in disguise was of paramount concern to most of his supporters.
Even those who were arguably, the immediate victims of his emergence didn’t take their grievances beyond the courts of law. In fact, Barrister Emmanuel Jime withdrew from the legal tussle to give peace a chance while Terhemen Tarzoor explored all legal and decent avenues to make his case.
Governor Ortom’s political romance with Senator George Akume was viewed by many as a potential threat to the governor’s plans for the Benue people. Most of those who were hard on the government seemed to be doing so because of what they claimed was the Akume factor.
Curiously, they became more agitated after the two politicians parted ways, thereby fueling suspicions that some people were shedding crocodile tears. They were probably happy that the Akume influence may destroy Ortom’s possible chances of re-election and give them and their aspirants some ray of hope. But they were apparently disappointed by the turn of events.
Funny enough, those who saw Akume as the devil in the details turned around to confer “sainthood” on him after Ortom departed. They now channel their energies towards demonizing Ortom. That is nothing strange anyway.
Even those who were appointees of Governor Ortom are now on the mission of “unsaying” the good things they said about him because, according them, they had no choice then. Maybe they had no options of even resigning their appointments. Some say they didn’t see the said wrongs until recently. Laughable.
Even the PDP who have now got the state Governor in their fold, have some of their members on a desperate voyage to destroy what may likely become their product ahead of next year’s polls. They need to know that flexibility is a key factor in politics. You adjust to realities as they come.
I understand that some members of the PDP and even others in APC are reluctant to forgive Ortom because of the circumstances of his emergence. But let’s be honest here. Apart from Terhemen Tarzoor who was the anointed aspirant in PDP in 2014, who among the other aspirants would have rejected the golden opportunity Ortom had especially as there was no hope in PDP? How many of us are aware that even now two of the PDP aspirants are in touch with Akume to enjoy what I termed the “Ortom Treatment of 2014?” It is however, cheering to hear some PDP members assuring that Ortom will do better as a governor under the party’s platform.
Most people are not willing to acknowledge that the Akume influence had an impact on the governance of the state in the past three and half years. The reasons are obvious. But what is instructive is the need for the people to support the governor now that the godfather and mother have lost him albeit reluctantly.
Part of the governor’s sins are his stand on the Benue genocide and his decision to leave the party whose members and leaders deliberately looked the other way at the peak of the crisis in the Benue Valley.
Benue people must also know that the numerous wars wedged against the government both from within the state and outside are targeted at the people and not the governor.
Yes, mistakes were made. Lessons have been learnt. But we need to move forward. The governor has thrown away the poisoned chalice. What he now needs is support and encouragement while we join hands to defeat the enemies of the state.
Linus Hagher is a concerned Benue Citizen.