•We belong to one Nigeria, say Igbo in Benue
From Rose Ejembi, Makurdi
Local government and ward chairmen of the All Progressives Congress, APC, in the Benue North East Senatorial District have endorsed Governor Samuel Ortom for a second term in 2019.
The chairmen declared the endorsement at the Banquet Hall of the Benue People’s House in Makurdi yesterday. Spokesman of the group and Kwande Local Government APC Chairman, Mr Iorfa Zoho, siad Governor Ortom is the best man for the job and listed re-opening of Benue State University and graduation of more than 150 medical doctors, reconstruction of the schools of nursing and midwifery, ongoing facelift of over 700 primary schools as well as implementation of minimum wage for primary school teachers as justification for the endorsement.
“The Anti-Open Grazing Act has made you first among equals this law will put to rest the consistent clashes between farmers and herders. Zone A wishes to state without hesitation that you should make haste and declare publicly your intention for the governorship of Benue State come 2019,” he stated. The spokesman stressed that it had always been the trend and tradition from Aper Aku, through their leader, George Akume to Gabriel Suswam, for all of them to have their two tenures,” adding that Governor Ortom cannot be an exception.
In his response, Ortom expressed appreciation for the endorsement saying it had encouraged him since the voice of the people is said to be the voice of God.
He stated, however, that he will seek divine guidance on the matter before making his decision public by the end of the year.
Meanwhile, the Igbo community in the state has joined other communities to throw their weight behind the campaign for one Nigeria. Ortom had invited all leaders of the different tribes residing in the state including Yoruba, Hausa, South-South and the Igbo communities to a security meeting.
Speaking at the meeting held at the Government House, President General, Igbo Community, Benue State, Chief Albert Chuks stated that the Igbo in the state have no other name to call themselves than Nigerians.
“We have said we belong to one Nigeria and that even if anybody is looking for anything, it should not be by violence. That is what we maintained as at our last meeting in Enugu last Saturday. And that is why the President of Ohaneze Ndigbo is touring the 14 northern states as from 20th of this month.”
Also speaking, Eze Ndigbo, Benue State, Chief Sunday Adiele rejected the position of IPOB stressing that anyone who witnessed the Nigerian/Biafran civil war would not think of engaging in another ever again.
“We Igbo in Benue are canceling all what these small boys are doing because many of them were not born during the Nigerian/Biafran civil war. That is the reason why they are making noise. Anybody who saw that war that time can never dream of having another war. That is the truth about it.”
On his part, president, Igbo Community, Makurdi, Comrade Everest Iwu reaffirmed the position of the Igbo positing that they belong to Nigeria and no other country.
“On behalf of Igbo Community in Makurdi, I want to affirm that it is one Nigeria. We are not going anywhere. We are not violent. The Tiv nation, Idoma nation have been so kind and accommodating to Igbo in Makurdi.
“Some of us have been here for more than 45 years. We are more of Benue than any other place. We are not for IPOB, we are not for MASSOB, we are for one Nigeria. This is our home. Benue is our home.”
The governor during the meeting, also attended by the Tor Tiv, Prof. James Ayatse, Och’Idoma, Chief Elias Ikoyi Obekpa with all traditional rulers in the state said the meeting was meant to reassure everyone residing in the state of adequate protection.
“This meeting is meant to prevent any move from any mischief maker who would come out from any agitation to come and attack or do a reprisal anywhere in Benue. I will personally deal with such person,” the governor assured.
In their separate remarks, both the Tor Tiv and Och’Idoma reaffirmed the commitment of the traditional council to ensuring peaceful coexistence of everyone residing in the state even as they urged anyone with useful information about possible attack to report same to security agencies for prompt action..