Governor Samuel Ortom says the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, must apologise to the people of Benue State if he indeed needs their votes in the 2023 general election.
Ortom said the apology must be made public because the presidential candidate lied against him recently during his outing in Kaduna State.
The governor demanded the apology when three council chairmen of Jemgba ethnic group led youths of their local government areas to Government House in Makurdi to express disgust over Atiku’s outburst and to endorse Ortom’s senatorial ambition.
Ortom said, “We vehemently condemn the statement against me. When it got to me, I protested to him (Atiku) through a WhatsApp message. He apologised but declined to make it public. You don’t address an elder like me in a room and dress me down in the public. At no point did I ever apologise to Atiku or tell him that Benue people were stealing my cows.
“I never also profiled Fulanis by saying all of them are bad. There are Fulanis in my government; they can even go into my bedroom. I have never sent any Fulani man away.
But I’m against the foreign Fulani terrorists coming from Niger, Chad, Senegal and Mali.
“Atiku must apologise. He (Atiku) lied against me and I take exception. But I commend Buhari for condemning the Gbeji mayhem. That is how a leader should act. But I condemed what Atiku said. He must do a retraction if he wants our votes. If he does not do it, on the day of election, we will vote according to the election.”
He added that for a presidential candidate of PDP to be telling lies, “We cannot vote for that kind of person. We were ravaged by flood. Did you see Atiku here? Since 2017 when our people were in IDP camp, did you see Atiku here?
“Now, he is seeking election and wants to use me as a scapegoat. We cannot vote a president who will continue carnage on our people. Atiku, you are very unfair to us. You have committed sacrilege against the people of Benue and if you want us to remain in the same party, you must apologise to us.
“Our baby is PDP, you do not throw away the baby and the bath water. Benue State is PDP and PDP is Benue. I want to assure all ethnic groups and even foreigners of their safety in the land. I want to assure Benue people that under my watch such people (killers) will be apprehended.”