It was a close call to a political crisis in Benue State on Monday, when youths of the All Progressives Congress, APC in Gboko Local Government Area of the state prevented the convoy of the Governor, Samuel Ortom from accessing the house of the National Chairman of the People’s Democratic Party, Dr Iyorchia Ayu in his Gboko residence.
Governor Ortom who was there on a visit reportedly had to suspend his convoy midway to Ayu’s residence and trekked the distance to the house when it was discovered that there was a grand plan to provoke him by shutting his convoy distance away from his destination.
It was the Minister of Special Duties and Inter-governmental Affairs Senator George Akume’s birthday and his supporters had supposedly come to celebrate him, but they had a sinister motive as well – to cause chaos in the state. They had converged outside Akume’s house which shares a fence with PDP’s National Chairman’s residence and blocked the only passage to the two residences, waiting to see their plan of chaos manifest.
A Governor’s convoy is never to be ambushed by miscreants, let alone thuggish elements of the dying opposition party. Any attempt by members of the opposition party to stop a moving convoy of a sitting Governor is in itself a coup and an assault on democracy.
The memories of how President Muhammadu Buhari came hard on EndSARS protesters some of whom have left the country are still fresh in our minds. The President had tagged the protests as a civil coup. He said the youths wanted to overthrow his regime. This was a protest that was not even close to the Villa. If the President could see mere protest as a coup, one wonders what he would say and do when his convoy is stopped by members of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.
Governor Ortom shamed the merchants of political crisis on Monday. He burst their bubbles as it is usually said. Being a man of wisdom and a Christian who is familiar with the phrase “jump and pass, ” he quickly jumped and passed the booby trap set for him.
He could have done otherwise by dislodging the thugs with his security and nothing would have happened, or maybe few persons would have been victims, but that would have ignited the already tensed perceived political system in the state between him and Akume. He, however, chose peace over violence and calm over turmoil. He knows the value of peace as he would always say, when a crisis begins no one knows where it will end.
Governor Ortom would not want Tiv politics to return to the days of Atem Tyo and NANDE NANDE, where brothers and sisters took arms against themselves and destroyed each other’s properties over little political disagreements. He witnessed the era and he believes it is time the system is sanitized.
This is not the first time members of the opposition party have provoked the governor. But he has always ignored them.
When Senator Akume, now Minister lost his bid to return to the Senate a fourth time, he organized a rally around town and destroyed all visible PDP paraphernalia. He attempted to take the rally to the Government House gate until he was stopped by security personnel. Only a peaceful Governor would allow that level of rascality in his state.
Another time Akume attempted to cause a political crisis in the State was when he rode on armoured vehicles to Makurdi as if he was going to war against the Benue people. Even people in IDP camps whom he has never visited got angry and pelted his motorcade with rotten tomatoes and stones.
Well, I learnt that Governor Samuel Ortom rather stole the show on Monday as he walked past APC supporters who were ashamed that their plan did not materialise. While Ortom walked past them, he shouted Power raising his fist high and smiling at them leaving them in a state of confusion.
Governor Ortom’s peaceful disposition must be highly commended. There is a saying that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. While this may be true with some leaders, Governor Samuel Ortom has proven this otherwise.
Benjamin Ngutsav writes from Agbeede, Konshisha LGA, Benue State