Benue Governor, Samuel Ortom, has finally defected from the All Progressives Congress to the Peoples Democratic Party.
Ortom announced his defection on Wednesday in Makurdi during a meeting with Local Government Council Chairmen and 276 Councilors in the state.
He said his decision was based on wide consultations with party and opinion leaders across the state.
He said: “After due consultations with relevant stakeholders, I have resolved that the way forward is to rejoin the PDP.”
He, therefore, announced his formal resignation of the APC and said he had already presented his letter of resignation to his ward chairman as required by the APC’s constitution.
He said: “I have formally resigned from APC to PDP and have presented my letter of resignation to the party’s chairman of my ward.
“The chairman and other officers of my ward also indicated their interest to join me in my new party.
“I am too young to retire from politics.”
He lamented that despite the efforts the national body of the party was making in order to broker peace between him and some members in the state, “aggression” against him continued.
He, however, did not say who was perpetrating the acts of aggression against him.
The governor lamented that there have been deliberate falsehood against him to dent his image.
Ortom said: “The same people who are now insulting me were the same people that endorsed me for a second term during the state’s congress of the party.”
Ortom explained that it was out sheer magnanimity that he told them to allow other aspirants to also run for the governorship in line with democratic values.
He said he had been endorsed because of performance and wondered why the same people were now criticizing his administration.
The leader of the Councilors, who agreed to defect with the governor, Tom Hanmaikyur, and the state’s ALGON Chairman, Anthony Shawon, pledged on behalf of their colleagues to follow the governor to any party of his choice.
They also pledged maximum support to the governor to enable him actualize his political dreams.
In his reaction, the APC chairman, Abba Yaro, said he was yet to receive the governors’ resignation letter but added: “there is no cause to worry”.
Also reacting to the news, the PDP chairman, John Ngbede, said “it is a welcome development. He is welcome to our party”.
Earlier in the day, a coalition of Benue youths comprising over 40 groups blocked Governor Samuel Ortom’s motorcade from attending a scheduled meeting with the All Progressives Congress, National leadership in Abuja.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the youths blocked the road at the Government House Junction displaying placards with various inscriptions amongst which were; ” Ortom don’t go back to APC”, “No land for Cattle Colony “, ”Ortom is our Party”.
Those, who spoke on behalf of the group were: Pastor Dave Ogbole and Terrence Kuanum.
They both advised the governor to jettison any plan to hold talks with the APC and instead seek an alternative political platform to realize his second term bid as governor.
They threatened to abandon him politically if he proceeded to attend the meeting in Abuja.
NAN reports that the highpoint of the melodrama was the pulling down of the APC flag on the governor’s car by his driver at the insistence of the protesters.