Rose Ejembi, Makurdi
Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, has taken a swipe at his Plateau State counterpart, Simon Lalong, describing him as a shameless governor who cannot stand with his people, during their moment of trial.
Ortom said this while reacting to statements credited to Lalong, during the All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential campaign, in Makurdi, on Wednesday.
Lalong had criticised Ortom during President Muhammadu Buhari’s re-election campaign rally, held at the Aper Aku Stadium, in Makurdi, that he was using the farmers/herders crisis to cover his non performance.
“We’ve seen projects everywhere, but, when people cannot pay salary or do projects, the best way is to hide under crises. It happened in Plateau, too, and, now, it is happening in Benue. When they can’t pay salary or do projects, they hide under herdsmen and farmers’ clashes,” Lalong said.
But, reacting swiftly, governor Ortom described Lalong as a sell-out, who doesn’t care about the killing of his people, but more interested in pecuniary gains.
“It’s unfortunate, and those of you who have watched the trend since this thing started know that Lalong has sold himself out to the Fulani and their attempt to conquer the middle belt.
So, I’m not surprised this is coming from him.
“For me, I’m not prepared to talk about him, but, all that I know is that I’m doing what my people want, and that is all about democracy. He may not care about the killings that are going on. Even now, killings are going on.
“I’m bothered because the primary responsibility of any responsible government is to protect life and property. And where this is not being met, I must respond to it, by drawing the attention of those who are responsible.
“Of course, the issue of protecting life and property squarely remains the responsibility of the federal government, who controls the security agencies. It is their responsibility, not my own. And, so, there is no way I would leave my people behind by not ensuring that they are protected.
“I’ll continue to defend my people. I’m not Lalong to abandon my people to be killed and won’t say anything.
He is very shameless by not standing with his people, who elected him. I prefer to stand with my people, even if I’m not governor,” Ortom said.
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