The Benue State Government has fired back at Steve Lawani, the immediate past deputy governor of the state over his recent media attack on Governor Samuel Ortom. Lawani had in a recent interview, claimed that the party chased Ortom away for his alleged poor performance.
Responding to Lawani’s assertion, Tahav Argezua, Special Adviser to the governor on Media and ICT, wondered why Lawani, who once passed a vote of confidence on Ortom was now faulting the governor’s performance. Argezua advised Lawani to rather tell the people of Benue South what he had done to deserve their vote rather than resorting to cheap blackmail. He said, “The former Deputy Governor of Benue State, Chief Steven Lawani, veered off course in an interview he granted to Sunday Vanguard of August 12, 2018.
“Instead of concentrating on telling his constituents in the Benue South Senatorial district his qualifications for the seat and the agenda he would pursue if elected, he digressed by saying that the All Progressives Congress, APC, forced Governor Ortom out on account of poor performance. “Of course, by bashing Governor Ortom, Chief Lawani hopes to impress the owner of the party in the state in the hope that he would be given the platform to run on a platter of gold. “Otherwise, what the former Deputy Governor ought to do at the moment is to seek to impress his constituents about how he discharged the eight-year mandate the people of the state gave him to their benefit.
“He should also be listing his legislative agenda rather than casting aspersions on the Governor. “The statement he made about why Governor Ortom defected to the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, has rather exposed him to ridicule as someone bending backwards to curry favor. ‘We recall how Chief Lawani showered praises on Governor Ortom at different times regarding his performance in office. The former Deputy Governor was specific in his speech in Otukpo during the campaign for the 2016 Benue South re-run senatorial election that he and others had decided to join the APC because of the laudable performance of the Governor.
‘We hope that Chief Lawani still remembers that the APC had passed numerous votes of confidence on Governor Ortom and that it adopted him as its sole governorship candidate for 2019 at its last state Congress. ‘He might still remember that he, as a major stakeholder in the party, was not allowed to make any input in the list of ward, local government, and state executive committees of the party in the state. “It was this kind of impunity and hijacking of the party structure in the state by one individual that forced Governor Ortom and several others including State and National Assembly members as well as local government chairmen and councilors to defect to the PDP.
“On the Benue killings, it is true that they started before the Buhari administration but Nigerians recall his role as patron of Miyetti Allah, particularly his visit to Oyo State and what he said there, before he became President. This indicated that he has been party to the herdsmen’s activities for a long time. “Benue people know that the failure of security agencies under President Muhammadu Buhari to arrest and prosecute the leadership of Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore and other Fulani groups who threatened to invade Benue State and were duly reported and thereafter, carried out the threats cannot exonerate him from personal and official blame.
“Moreso, the utterances of the President’s Ministers of Internal Affairs and Defence, the Inspector General of Police, the Chief of Army Staff, as well as Presidential Spokesman on the invasion and killings are strong enough proof of complicity on the part of the Federal Government. “Chief Lawani has the choice to align with anyone, even if such persons have shown clearly that they do not have the interest of the Benue people at heart. “For Governor Ortom however, the interests, aspirations and expectations of the Benue people remain his paramount driving force.”