Ortom distances self from Atiku’s campaign, says ‘I’ll remain on my own’

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    Ortom
    Ortom

    Samuel Ortom, Benue state governor, has distanced himself from the presidential campaign of Atiku Abubakar, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) standard bearer.

    Ortom said he has no input in the composition of the campaign council and as such he will remain on his own.

    The governor spoke on Tuesday in reaction to Abubakar’s comments on his criticisms against the Fulani ethnic group.

    Recently, Abubakar, in a political rally in Kaduna state, accused Ortom of profiling the Fulani people living in Benue as bandits and terrorists.

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    “I had a big quarrel with Governor Ortom on his accusation of Fulani people. I am a Fulani man, why should you categorise all Fulani; we have to improve ways and manner we look after our livestock. I am angry with Samuel Ortom for profiling Fulani as bandits and terrorists,” Abubakar had said.

    In response, Ortom said he only accuses migrant Fulanis from Niger, Mali, Senegal, Mauritania, Libya and Chad as perpetrators of attacks in Benue.

    He said Atiku, who is seeking to be elected president, should not make wrong assumptions about a sitting governor.

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    Ortom said he has written to Atiku to request an apology for the negative profiling.

    “I have never profiled any Fulani I have always qualified anytime I call Fulani — these are Fulani from Niger, Mali, Senegal, Mauritania, Libya, Chad who have come together to say they will take over our country to become their own and that is why they have displaced our people. And who on earth would say I should not say that? I am a governor of Benue state,” Ortom said.

    “More than two million people have been displaced so why should I not talk about those enemies killing my people? I remain committed.

    “I have sent a message to our presidential candidate telling him that he was unfair to me when he made those remarks in Kaduna. And I told him I needed an unreserved apology from him. And the following morning he chatted back and accepted what was said, he is not arguing it, but all the same, he apologised.

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    “It was not correct for a presidential candidate who is seeking to rule the people to say that kind of thing.

    “It was very wrong. And it would appear that he doesn’t even reference me and consider me to be the governor of my state.

    “I am not in his campaign team. The people they appointed there, no consent from me. So I’ll remain on my own. But I’m waiting. When the election comes, we shall vote the election according to the election.”

    Meanwhile, a group known as MINDA Leaders of Thought has described Abubakar’s comments about Ortom as baseless, reprehensible and condemnable.

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    The group also announced the withdrawal of his support for Abubakar’s presidential ambition.

    Ortom has so far failed to attend any of the presidential campaign rallies of the PDP.

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    The Benue governor has repeatedly joined Nyesom Wike, governor of Rivers, Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia, Seyi Makinde of Oyo and Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu to demand the resignation of Iyorchia Ayu as the chairman of the major opposition party.

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