Barely three days after announcing his intention to quit the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue state made a detour today as he denied dumping the party in what is considered a recant from his earlier outrage.
Ortom had announced his quiting the APC during the week on allegation that the party had issued him a ‘red card.’
However, Ortom after a closed door meeting with the APC National Chairman, Mr Adams Oshiomhole, in Abuja on Thursday denied shutting his door against the ruling party.
Ortom had on Monday announced that the Benue chapter of the APC had given a red card where he likened himself to a footballer who was out of the football pitch waiting to be picked by another club.
The governor and Senator George Akume, also a former governor of the state, had been having a running battle over who controls the state party structure.
“It was the Benue APC that gave me a red card not the national APC and that was enough to make myself available out of the pitch.
“But the leadership of the party told me that its decision is superior to that of any individual or group of people and I think that is good enough.
“They have spoken to him, and have spoken to me and the state stakeholders are going to be spoken to and that’s where I belong.
“We have not concluded the matter, it’s an ongoing process, I always stood for peace, and I always want peace to prevail, that’s what I call for.
“I am here in APC, I am a member of APC, I am still flying the flag of APC, I only said I was given red card but I have been corrected by the national secretariat,” he said.
The Benue Governor appreciated the party’s leadership for intervening in the matter and expressed hope that it would be able to resolve the differences.
Oshiomhole, while reacting to the development, said the APC does not have red cards in its cupboard and could not give what it doesn’t have.
He noted that there could however, be legitimate legal issues and disagreements in some of the party’s state’s chapters.
This, he said, was evidence of the fact that the APC was a free democratic party, adding that it was the responsibility of the its leadership to help aggrieved members to find a common ground.
Oshiomhole added that the issues in the Benue chapter of the party were not too fundamental that it could not be resolved.
He expressed confidence that the issues between Sen. Akume and Gov. Ortom would be resolve by the party’s national leadership.
He maintained that Sen. Akume, was a very respected leader, of the party and would recognise the need for peace, adding that the APC leadership had what it would take to make peace.
“In Benue, we are going for a win-win solution Gov. Ortom is not going anywhere, he is a very prominent member of our party, and we appreciate his leadership in Benue.
“The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) that is hovering around must know that it is only people without honour that will vomit in the morning and convert it to launch in the afternoon.
“People like Ortom can’t leave PDP three and half years ago with his eyes opened and two to three years later, because of some tension, he would be thinking of returning.
“He is a man of honour and he knows that once you move one step forward, you will want to take the second step to consolidate the first step, that’s the way to go.
“Be assured that the PDP can go and do whatever they want to do, but it won’t change the situation in the minds of those who are convinced in building the future,”Oshiomhole said.
This, he said, would not be without contestation, but would be based on the understanding that the party had the qualities required to resolve issues on a win-win manner even when contestations comes up.
He assured that such tools would be deployed in Benue to make Governor Ortom, Senator Akume and the people of the state and not just APC members, happy.
He further assured that the APC leadership would do everything possible to help those who had issues get them resolved.
Oshiomhole stressed that the APC leadership would do everything possible to address crisis within its states chapters and ensure that its committed members remained in its fold.
By Gboyega Adeoye