The National Chairman of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, says the party will use the current gale of defections to weed out people whose values are in conflict with the core values of progressive politics.
Oshiomhole said this in Abuja during a press briefing convened to speak on the defection of Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State at the party’s national secretariat.
The former labour leader, who said the party was relieved with the exit of Ortom, berated him for allegedly staging a drama to avoid attending a meeting scheduled for last Wednesday.
The coalition of Benue youths comprising of at least 40 groups was said to have barricaded the entrance of Government House in Makurdi to prevent Ortom from traveling to Abuja for an important engagement with the APC national leadership.
The governor was reported to have been forcefully turned back at the Government House gate.
Oshiomhole said Ortom tactically ignored Wednesday’s meeting where he ought to have responded to the allegations from party leaders and members in Benue State who had resolved not to give him party ticket in 2019 because he had not commissioned any projects since assuming the mantle of leadership.
The APC National Chairman, who said that the governor had been presented with the allegations during his meeting with him last week, stated that he staged a drama to avoid a face-to-face encounter with the party leaders and members who also accused him of complicating security situation due to accumulated salaries’ debts for up 12 months and non payment of salaries as at when due in spite of the receipt of bail-out funds and monthly allocations.
Oshiomhole said the stakeholders believed that fielding Ortom that had been alleged to have deepened poverty in a state that survived on salaries would lead to electoral defeat, adding that the APC would get a credible Benue citizen to fly its flag in 2019.
“For us, we are relieved that Ortom has returned to his former party. He actually got our ticket on a platter of gold. He was never a participant during the formation of our party. He became a candidate by accident and a lesson to learn by our party is that never again should people become a candidate on our party platform by accident. It has to be by consciousness.
“…It is my hope that we will take full advantage of current development within the political class to consciously not only allow those who want to go but even weed out people whose values are in conflict with the core values of progressive politics,” he also said.
He criticized the governor for allegedly whipping up ethnic sentiments and making cheap political capital over the killings of innocent Nigerians in his state.
On the governor’s purported claim that some of the party’s leaders wanted to force him to share the state’s money with them, Oshiomhole replied, “If a governor confessed that he shared government money to party leaders, is that the reasons he will be re-elected? Then if he has shared the government money with party leaders, then the party leaders should try to keep in in office by guaranteeing him the ticket since he shared the money with them.
“If on the other hand he claimed that he refused to share the money, good, therefore, what have you done with the money? You couldn’t pay the workers’ salaries with the money you refused to share, have you built more roads for the people of Benue State? What have you accomplished with these bailout fund and the Paris fund?
“So, let me assure that what I do promised, and please mark my word each time I speak, that negotiable and verifiable grievances we would address. And I said we won’t deny somebody ticket on account of a conflict between him and any other person if he is at home with his people, even yesterday (Thursday) I emphasized that. When people say automatic ticket, does it guarantee automatic victory when people are against you? I said so. Because we didn’t give you departure ticket, so how are we going to give you a return ticket?
“So, I couldn’t assure gov Ortom that we will overrule the position of our members and leaders in Benue State that come 2019, we will give him ticket. “I wanted to simply cross check with him the allegations made against him and he was to come by Wednesday that is why he organised that drama. And that tells you the quality of reasoning, with all due respect to Governor Ortom, how can you reduce governance to Nollywood, saying he wanted to go to Abuja to meet with the National Working Committee but my people have blocked the road that I will not go. When has it become a case that when a governor wants to travel it is on the radio that he is travelling and this is the purpose.”
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