The presidency has lashed at Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State, accusing him of promoting tribal and religious hatred in the country such that is reminiscent of the rhetorics that culminated in the infamous ethnic cleansing in Rwanda.
For this reason, the presidency said it would be glad to see Ortom leave office in the next election of 2023 so that the people of Benue will be saved from his regular antics of resorting to manipulating tribal and ethnic sentiments to cause mayhem in the State and country.
Ortom has been persistent in accusing President Muhammadu Buhari of ignoring the cries of Benue people against the killings by rampaging Fulani herdsmen, saying that the attackers seem to get the backing of the President in a quest to claim ancestral Benue lands.
The Governor has also recent vehemently kicked against the President’s plan to resuscitate cattle grazing routes in parts of the country, and threatened to take legal action again the Federal Government for this.
It is against this background that the Presidency has warned Nigerians to be wary of the Governor and his outbursts, which it says show the traits of an unprincipled political leader.
A statement issued by Buhari’s spokesman, Garba Shehu, on Wednesday, said: “Governor Samuel Ortom has few political principles. We can see this from the fact that he has changed political party five times during his undistinguished career.
“Every time he feels the wind may be blowing in a certain direction, he follows it.
“Unfortunately, for the good citizens of Benue State, the most dangerous direction he blows in today is that of sectarianism and ethnicity.
“In an attempt to boost his sinking political fortunes, Ortom takes the cheapest and lowest route possible by playing on ethnic themes – and in doing so knowingly causes deaths of innocent Nigerians by inciting farmers against herders, and Christians against Muslims.
“Specifically, Ortom stirs up hatred by targeting one single ethnic group in Nigeria – using language reminiscent of the Rwandan genocide.
“As was the case in Rwanda where the then Hutu leaders of the country incited their countrymen against each other, claiming there was a “secret Tutsi agenda” over the Hutu, Ortom claims there is a “secret Fulanization agenda” over other ethnic groups in his state and in Nigeria. This is a copy of the language of Hutu Power – which falsely, and intentionally, accused the Rwandan Tutsi of plans to dominate the country.
“This wicked talk is aimed at giving cover to his so-called “policy” on the Ranches Establishment Law – which in reality is purely an act of denial of the law – intended to withhold rights and freedoms from one ethnic group alone, whilst inciting race hatred against them amongst all others.
“These are not the actions of a man who should be trusted with running public services or holding public office.
“For the governor of a major state in Nigeria to be politically driven by ethnic hatred is a stain on our country.
“The good, and fair-minded people of Benue State deserve more than this, and we look forward to the next elections when they have an opportunity to restore its greatness.”