The immediate past Governor of Benue State, Samuel Ortom, has claimed that Atiku Abubakar, the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2023 presidential election, is angry because he was rejected by him and the G5- governors.
Ortom was speaking in reaction to a statement made by Atiku through his media aide, Phrank Shaibu.
Atiku accused him and other G-5 members of seeking appointment and protection from prosecution from the Federal Government.
Ortom said that the presidential candidate should be worried about why the G-5 and other members of the integrity group rejected his candidacy.
Atiku had described the former Benue governor as one of the worst governors in the history of Nigeria saying his case file at the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission is bulky.
But responding, Ortom reiterated the stand of the G-5 and said that the group stood for justice, equity, and fairness and that the 2023 presidency must go to the southern part of the country and Nigerians saw the indisputable facts contained in the position of the Integrity Group and voted for a presidential candidate from the south.
The statement read in parts, “Atiku is angry because Governor Ortom and his colleagues in the G-5 refused to be used by him as ‘Special Purpose Vehicles (SPVs)’ to circumvent and thwart the resolve of Nigerians to produce a President from the southern region.
“Another reason for Atiku’s attack on Chief Ortom is the former Benue State Governor’s boldness to speak truth to his face and rebuke him for making unstatesmanlike comments regarding the killing of Benue people by Fulani herdsmen. Atiku is on record to have expressed bitterness towards Ortom for daring to enact a law to prohibit open grazing of livestock in the state.
“The former Vice President’s diatribe against Chief Ortom can therefore be understood as the manifestation of frustration for losing the 2023 election. His failure to humble himself and unite the PDP, opting to remain haughty even when the signals were clear that he was heading for defeat summarized his performance in the last election.
“Atiku lacks the moral ground to accuse anyone else of corruption. The words of his erstwhile principal, the former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo who described him as a very corrupt man have remained indelible and incontrovertible. Chief Obasanjo, in his book, ‘My Watch’ states on pages 191-192 thus:
“Atiku Abubakar’s name was among the names sent to us. Up to that time, EFCC had enjoyed close cooperation and collaboration with law enforcement agencies in the UK and the USA. I gave the green light to Nuhu for the investigation as requested by the authorities and forwarded his report to the USA. The report was uncomfortable and unsavoury about Atiku and his associates. I thought it was bad enough that the Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria was under investigation for corruption when my Administration had made fighting corruption one of its cardinal objectives. As it turned out, the investigation in Nigeria and in the US led to Atiku’s house being searched by the US Bureau of Investigation (FBI). It was so embarrassing for our Administration and Embassy in Washington…”
Ortom admitted that he honoured the invitation of the anti-graft agency saying, “The role of anti-graft agencies was to investigate allegations of corruption. Whenever they invite someone, such a person has to honour the invitation. As a man who believes in the rule of law, Chief Ortom willingly visited EFCC when the Commission sought clarifications on the actions of his administration.”