The leadership of the APC both in Benue state and Abuja has finally dropped the governor of the state, Dr. Samuel Ortom, and settled for the Managing Director of NEPZA, Mr. Emmanuel Jime, as the party’s governorship candidate for 2019 elections.
According to findings, Governor Ortom’s fate was finally sealed a week after he was deceived by Senator George Akume, the senator representing Zone B, to join a plot to implicate a former governor of the state, Gabriel Suswam, at the headquarters of the DSS in Abuja.
Ortom had denied having hands in the frame up which landed Suswam in the DSS net last week but reports have it that he personally signed one of the petitions which were sent to the security agency to implicate his predecessor.
A Nigerian Concord source who was at a meeting which was held early this week in Abuja at the instance of President Buhari with top APC leaders including Senator Akume in attendance explained that the issue of who succeeds Governor Ortom was the major topic of discussion.
It was gathered that Senator Akume, the enstraged god father of Governor Ortom, is the architect of the plot to stop him from contesting under the party in 2019.
The senator was said to have reported to the president that no genuine Benue man or woman will vote for Ortom if he is given the party’s ticket as a result of his woeful failure ranging from massive corruption to non payment of salaries for about 12 months.
The source continued that two names, Emmanuel Jime and Titus Zam, Head of the State Bureau for local government, were suggested but, the president settled for Jime, saying that he will be able to control him since his (Jime) mother is a Fulani woman just like himself.
“Reasons to take the guber ticket from Ortom and give it to Emmanuel Jime, according to the outcome of the meeting was not far fetched from the governor’s failure to fight insecurity in the state despite huge funds he does take for his monthly security votes” the source noted.
It was also gathered that the poor handling of governance in Benue state was also part of what were tabled before President Buhari and the APC cabals as rreasons he should be dropped by the party.
Our source said part of the plot to take the guber ticket away from Ortom was the way Senator Akume hijacked the party’s structure from him at the local government and state Congresses which were held last month.
The source said that the visibly angry president quickly mandated Akume to deliver the state for Emmanuel Jime with a promise to make him the Senate president in 2019 when he discovered that the senator prefered Titus Zam instead.
Apart from Ortom, the senator representing zone A, Senator Barnabas Gemade, and the member representing Katsina-Ala/Sankera/Ukum federal constituency, Honourable Emmanuel Udende, who are believed to be loyal to the governor were also dropped by the president and the APC cabals during the said meeting.
It was gathered that while the Chairman of the BIRS, Chief (Mrs) Mimi Orubibi, has been agreed to replace Gemade in the Zone A senatorial contest, the immediate past head of the BIPC, Honourable Jaq Mulya, has been placed to replace Udende as the party’s flag bearer for the Sankera federal constituency.
Nigerian Concord has gathered that the trio of Ortom, Gemade and Udende have been briefed about the development but the governor has vowed not to leave the APC until after the ticket has been taken away from him.
Meanwhile, both Gemade and Udende have been liasing with the leadership of the SDP in Benue state as an alternative platform to return to the National Assembly in 2019.
Investigations showed that both lawmakers had made some huge financial donations to the state chapter of SDP as part of the plans for their imminent defection from APC.
They have also directed their foot soldiers to go and join the party in preparation for their own coming.
@ Tilex Brian Ortese