BY HEMBADOON ORSAR, Makurdi
Benue State Governor Samuel Ortom has said his Kaduna State counterpart Nasir el-Rufai has no moral justification to accuse another governor, following his “incompetence and failure in several aspects of governance.”
Ortom who reacted to the statements credited to el-Rufai of blasting him for using the insecurity in Benue to attack the federal government to cover up what he termed as the Benue State governor’s failure, said, “we want to believe that el-Rufai was wrongly quoted in that statement.
“A governor who has divided the good people of Kaduna against one another by lavishing his hatred for the indigenes of the state on account of religion and ethnicity is not qualified to judge another governor on any issue whatsoever.
“All we know is that Governor el-Rufai is a sycophant, ethnic champion and religious bigot who hates anyone who does not share the same faith with him,” he said.
While describing the Kaduna governor as one of the real enemies of the country who does not hide his divisive tendencies by elevating nepotism and ethnicity above the good values that have held Nigeria together over the decades, Ortom said el-Rufai is among the very few persons who has misled President Muhammadu Buhari.
“A governor who chose a Muslim deputy in a state where Christians have a huge population is certainly not one to preach unity and peaceful co-existence of Nigeria,” Ortom said.
In a statement issued by his chief press secretary Terver Akase, Governor Ortom said Eel-Rufai’s attack on him was because he was out of favour and wants to use it as a launchpad to reckoning.
Ortom asked, “How has he (el-Rufai) handled his own problems in Kaduna? This is a man who has insulted almost every prominent Nigerian including the late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua and former President Olusegun Obasanjo; a man who is his former boss and one who brought him to limelight
“Nigerians have not forgotten the unprintable things el-Rufai said during Goodluck Jonathan’s time as president. He insulted the then president and publicly supported terrorists attacking parts of the country. His statements on the abduction of Chibok girls and several other acts of terrorism are still fresh in our minds. El-Rufai is on record to have said repeatedly that Fulani people must retaliate any wrong done to them no matter how long it takes.
“Is Governor Ortom responsible for el-Rufai’s inability to ensure peace in Kaduna State where bandits have taken over some communities while kidnappings and killings occur on a daily basis?
“This is a man who admitted to paying Fulani herdsmen whom he invited from other West African countries in the name of stopping attacks in Southern Kaduna. Since he made the confessional statement, attacks on the people of Southern Kaduna have escalated. This is why he wants men of good conscience like Governor Ortom to be silent to pave the way for the conquest and expansion agenda to succeed.
“El-Rufai doesn’t possess the credentials to counsel anyone on payment of salaries and the welfare of workers. This is a governor who recently sacked 4,000 workers for no just cause. What happened to the lofty promises he made to Kaduna people in 2015?
“As we advise the Kaduna State governor to focus on addressing the numerous problems he has created in his state and leave Ortom alone to lead Benue in peace, we want el-Rufai and his conspirators to note that Benue State will not repeal the Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranches Establishment Law no matter the amount of blackmail, hatred and threats they wage against the governor,” Akase said.