Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue has said that he is still a card-carrying member of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
He stated this on Thursday in Abuja while speaking with newsmen after a closed-door meeting with the National Chairman of the party, Adams Oshiomhole.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Ortom on Monday announced that the Benue chapter of the APC had given him a “red card’’.
He likened himself to a footballer who was out of the football pitch waiting to be picked by another club.
The governor and Senator George Akume, a former governor of the state, had been having a running battle over who controlled the party in the state.
Akume said: “It was the Benue APC that gave me a red card, not the national APC and that was enough to make myself available out of the pitch.
“But, the leadership of the party told me that its decision is superior to that of any individual or group of people and I think that is good enough.
“They have spoken to him (Akume) and have spoken to me, and the state’s stakeholders are going to be spoken to. That’s where I belong.
“We have not concluded the matter; it’s an ongoing process. I always stand for peace.
“I always want peace to prevail, and that’s what I call for.
“I am here in APC; I am a member of the party, I am still flying the flag of APC. I only said I was given red card, but I have been corrected by the national secretariat.”
The governor appreciated the party’s leadership for intervening in the matter and expressed hope that it would be able to resolve the differences between him and others.
Reacting to the development, Oshiomhole said that the APC did not have red cards in its cupboard and could not give what it didn’t have.
He noted that there could, however, be legitimate legal issues and disagreements in some of the party’s state’s chapters.
The chairman said this was evidence of the fact that the party was a free democratic one, adding that it was the responsibility of its leadership to help aggrieved members to find a common ground.
He added that the issues in the Benue chapter were not too fundamental that it could not be resolved.
He expressed confidence that the squabble between Akume and the governor would be resolve by the party’s national leadership.
According to him, Akume is a respected leader of the party in Benue and will recognise the need for peace, and APC leadership has what it takes to make peace.
He said: “In Benue, we are going for a win-win solution. Governor Ortom is not going anywhere. He is a very prominent member of our party, and we appreciate his leadership in the state.
“The Peoples Democratic Party that is hovering around must know that it is only people without honour that will vomit in the morning and convert it to launch in the afternoon.
“People like Ortom can’t leave PDP three and half years ago with his eyes open and because of some tension, is thinking of returning.
“He is a man of honour and he knows that once you move one step forward, you will want to take the second step to consolidate the first step, that’s the way to go.
“Be assured that the PDP can go and do whatever they want to do, but it won’t change the situation in the minds of those who are convinced in building the future.”
Oshiomhole said that APC had tools to solve its probles and assured it would deploy such tools in Benue to make Ortom, Akume and the people of the state not just APC members, but happy ones.
He also assured that the party’s leadership would do everything possible to help those who had issues to have them resolved.