By Yemi Itodo
National Chairman of the All Progressive Congress (APC), Comrade Adams Oshiomole, has pleaded with Benue State Governor, Chief Samuel Ortom, to remain in the party as efforts were ongoing to settle “legitimate issues of disagreement among members”.
This was, even as, the Chairman has said APC does not have a red card in its cupboard to issue to any member of the party.
Comrade Oshiomole stated this at the Party’s National Secretariat Abuja after a meeting with Governor Samuel Ortom to resolve the issues between him and the leader of APC in Benue state, Senator George Akume.
Ortom had Monday this week, made official announcement at the government house, Makurdi, that he was leaving the broom party, saying “APC has given me red card”.
The move by the Governor to secure the nomination of his party for a second tenure has been facing challenges, as his erstwhile godfather, Akume is said to be working in tandem with the ‘instruction’ from the Presidency which feelers say is to favour one Emmanuel Jime as possible replacement for Ortom.
On Wednesday, Ortom was also sighted in Kwara in company of some governors and Senate President, Bukola Saraki, in a secret meeting with the leadership of the opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP).
Breifing newsmen after meeting with Ortom Thursday, the APC National Chairman said although the party was aware of legitimate issues of disagreement among members of the party in several states, it has the capacity to resolve them in a way that every one would be happy.
Comrade Oshiomole maintained that “the disagreements and contestation in the party was an evidence that it was a free democratic party”, saying “the option of any body living it to another party is not accepted”.
He described Governor Samuel Ortom as a key member of the APC and an honourable man who, after leaving the PDP about three and half years ago, would not want to return to the party rather than staying in APC to build it and consolidate on what it has achieved.
In his reaction, Governor Ortom expressed appreciation to the National Leadership of the APC for stepping in to resolve the issues between him and the leader of the party in the state, saying he has also taken correction that the party does not have a red card.
Governor Ortom, however, stated that the process to reconcile the disagreement was yet to be concluded, adding that he would always stand for peace and was expecting that the matter would be resolved peacefully.
Meanwhile, since Ortom’s official declaration that he was leaving APC, a good number of the state executive members have resigned their membership and position in the party.
Just this afternoon, a stalwart of APC in Otukpo local government area, Hon. Eche Idoko led several of his supporters in the deputy Governor’s council ward, Okete to PDP.
The Governor may have perfected arrangements to officially move to PDP, but governorship aspirants in the umbrella party have been kicking against the move, begging the party leadership not to give automatic ticket to the Governor.