The Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, has reacted to the accusation by his Kaduna State counterpart, Nasir el-Rufai, that he was using the insecurity in his state to attack the Federal Government.
Ortom, accused his Kaduna state counterpart, Nasir El-rufai of wanting to keep him silent in order to pave way for the expansion agenda of bandits to succeed.
The Benue Governor also said that El-rufai was a religious bigot and one of the real enemies of Nigeria, who is also misleading President Muhammadu Buhari.
Ortom’s comments are coming after Governor El-rufai was quoted to have alleged that his Benue colleague was attacking the federal government over insecurity in his state just to cover his own failures as Governor.
The Kaduna Governor made the statement while responding to a video showing Governor Ortom addressing protesters after some killings occured in Benue State. The video was played during a webinar organised by the Africa Leadership Group.
Responding, El-Rufai said, “I did not hear what Governor Ortom said (in the video) but I know him and he is not somebody I take very serious, frankly. He has other issues of governance that he is using the Federal Government as a punching bag to distract attention from his failures.”
But in a swift reaction on Saturday, Governor Ortom through his Chief Press Secretary, Terver Akase, said El-rufai did not deserve the attention of Nigerians as Kaduna state under his leadership had become one of the most unsafe places to live in Nigeria.
Ortom said El-rufai was only trying to reconcile himself with the President Buhari government, as he claimed that El-rufai had long fallen out with the presidency.
“We read the statement credited to Kaduna State Governor, Nasir el-Rufai in which he accused Governor Samuel Ortom of using the insecurity in his state to attack the Federal Government in order to cover up what he termed as the Benue State Governor’s failure,” the statement reads.
“We want to believe that El-Rufai was wrongly quoted. A man who has failed in several aspects as Governor of Kaduna has no moral justification to accuse another Governor.
“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.
“El-Rufai’s attack on Governor Ortom is merely to make him look good before the Presidency. He has apparently fallen out of favour at the Villa and wants to use Governor Ortom as a launchpad back to reckoning.
“How has he 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 the limelight.
“Nigerians have not forgotten the unprintable things El-Rufai said during Goodluck Jonathan’s time as President. He insulted the then President.
“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 for 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 daily basis?
“This is why he wants men of good conscience like Governor Ortom to be silent to pave way for the conquest and expansion agenda to succeed.
“Kidnapping has become a common crime in Kaduna State under Nasir el-Rufai. Aside from the much-celebrated cases, it has been estimated that at every given time, not less than 300 persons are abducted in Kaduna by kidnappers who are always identified as El-Rufai’s kinsmen.
“Kaduna governed by El-Rufai is one of the most unsafe places to live in Nigeria today.
“Talking about taking someone seriously if other Nigerians take El-Rufai seriously, we in Benue do not do same. A man who has no regard for humanity does not deserve our attention.
“Nasir el-Rufai is among the very few persons who have misled President Muhammadu Buhari.
“El-Rufai is one of the real enemies of this country who do not hide their divisive tendencies by elevating nepotism and ethnicity above the good values that have held Nigeria together over the decades.
“Nasir 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. He ought to be ashamed of himself. What happened to the lofty promises he made to the Kaduna people in 2015?
“The Kaduna Governor should know that only two days ago, the people of Benue State met at a stakeholder meeting in Makurdi and unanimously passed a vote of confidence on Governor Ortom in recognition of his performance. That meeting was attended across party lines with leaders of All Progressives Congress, APC also present.
“El-Rufai must 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 Governor Ortom.
“We advise the Kaduna State Governor to focus on addressing the numerous problems in his state and leave Governor Ortom to lead Benue in peace,” the statement added.