Immediate past Governor of Benue State, Samuel Ortom, has embarked on a bitter war of words with former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, over a statement where he (Atiku) reportedly accused Ortom of being corrupt.
Information Nigeria reports that Atiku had insinuated that members of the Integrity Group (G-5) who worked against him during the last presidential election have ongoing corruption cases at the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), but were being protected by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
According to Ortom, the comment by the February 25 presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), depicts a frustrated man, rejected by his own party due to his past corrupt practices.
Terver Akase, Ortom’s media aide in a statement on Wednesday, said Atiku should rather be worried “being the first presidential candidate of a leading political party to be rejected by key stakeholders.”
“We are not sure that the Special Assistant on Public Communication to the PDP presidential candidate got his consent before making the statement; because if he did, he would have refrained from blaming the G-5 for his loss at the polls.
“Alhaji Atiku Abubakar ought to be worried more that he has gone into history as the first presidential candidate of a leading political party to be rejected by key stakeholders including five sitting Governors and many other members of his party.
“The question that should bother him is, why did the G-5 and other members of the Integrity Group reject his candidacy? The group stood for justice, equity and fairness 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.
Ortom who is currently being hounded by the Benue State government, added that Atiku is angry because he and his G-5 colleagues 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 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,” he added.