Benue State governor-elect, Chief Samuel Ortom on Monday visited outgoing Governor Gabriel Suswam at Government House Makurdi, the state capital, some few hours after he was officially declared as winner of Saturday’s governorship election.
Ortom was accompanied by his deputy, Chief Benson Abounu and other prominent elders and supporters of the All Progressives Congress.
In a symbolic gesture between the outgoing and incoming governor, Suswam and Ortom warmly embraced each other and exchanged jokes over the elections.
In his remarks during the visit, Gov. Suswam said the Peoples Democratic Party in the state would avoid acts capable of undermining the incoming administration of Mr. Ortom, adding that as a party, they had resolved not to challenge the outcome of the elections at the tribunal even though they had grudges with the manner the elections were held.
“PDP will not go to the tribunal to challenge the outcome of this election because we do not want your government to be distracted by election petitions”, he said.
The governor said political contest was not war but a game whose outcome should be accepted by all.
Suswam said the verdict was the will of the people and should be respected by all and pledged the support of the PDP in ensuring the success of the incoming administration.
The governor assured that he would involve the governor-elect in all decisions to keep him abreast of happenings in government.
On a personal note, Gov. Suswam described Mr. Ortom’s disposition as godly and humane, stressing that his visit would put an end to the misgivings, misconceptions and rumors that are being peddled about their alleged fractured relationship
Explaining what informed the visit earlier, the governor-elect said he came to appreciate Suswam and the PDP candidate, Terhemen Tarzoor, as well as good people of the State for their peaceful conduct during and after the polls.
According to Ortom, “I am very humbled by the humility and sportsmanship for the governor and Tarzoor to call me by telephone to congratulate me for my victory. This will chart a way forward for a new Benue to reconcile aggrieved parties to enhance unity for the rapid development of the state”.
He also commended the outgoing governor for his contributions in nation building, noting that he would dedicate his first 100 days in office to pursue reconciliation, forgiveness and peace in the state because according to him, it (reconciliation) was needed to attract investments and propel the state to economic prosperity.
Ortom described his victory at the polls like a dream, stressing that in the past, elections in the state were considered as “do or die affair”.