By Lateef Adegbite
Samuel Ortom , governor of the north central state of Benue , have cried out, over the refusal of the Nigerian Air force personnel attached to the tactical air Command, Makurdi, the state capital, on Saturday, February, 12, 022, from welcoming Yemi Osinbajo, the Vice President who is on transit to Wukari area of Taraba, Theophilous Danjuma, a retired Army Gneral and former minister of Defence during Olusegun Obasanjo Administration, through the state.
The governor , who could not hide his feelings had said that he had many things on his table to attend to but left them to be at the air force tactical Command, base, to welcome the Vice President to the state. He had said that he had to give priority to the Vice President stopover visit when he got a letter from the Presidency intimating him of the his transit through air force tactical command base, Makurdi, on Friday, February 11, 2022 by putting official matters on hold.
He may have alluded to the crisis in the entire Gwer west in the state which is under ‘’siege of the armed Fulani herdsmen and which requires his immediate intervention to bring the situation under control.This may have encouraged him and the state protocol to be at the air force base on Saturday, February 12, 2022, to welcome the Vice President as requested by the Presidency but they were stopped by the air force personnel who may be acting out a script from receiving him at the air force base.
They were said to have eventually met where they had a warm handshake. The governor’s worry was that he was not allowed by the air force personnel to receive the Vice President in his capacity as the governor of the state. ” I feel so pained that politics has been taken what it is supposed to be’’, he lamented.
Although, he has called for disciplinary actions against the air force force personnel in what he had described as an” embarassment to his office” but that was how far he could go,
Many believe that the air force personnel may have gotten security reports that the Benue state governor had planned to take up the Gwer west area believed to be under the siege of the armed Fulani herdsmen with the Vice President and thus, did not want to him such opportunity.
This may have informed why the Tactical air force Command Personnel, tightened up security at the Airforce base to prevent the governor from driving in to receive the Vice President at the air force base who is on transit to Wukari area in Taraba state to address a major security Challenge at the instance of President Muhammadu Buhari, a retired Army General.
An aggrieved Ortom who could not bear the embarrassment to his office by the air force personnel had said that he could not have been at the airport to welcome the Nigerian Vice President to the state ‘’if he was not formally invited by the Presidency to do so’’ as the Chief Security Officer of the state. He noted that the armed herdsmen who are on rampage at the Gwer west area of the state are burning down houses , an issue he would have discussed with the Vice president before departing for Wakari trouble area in Taraba state.
He had said that there was no basis for the air force personnel to stop him from welcoming the Vice President to the state as ’’there is no permanent enemy in politics’’, stressing that he can be ‘’ the best friend of the Katsina state born Nigerian President tomorrow, if they choose to do the right thing’’. He has told those that care to listen that he has ‘’no problems with the retired Army general to be disgraced by agents of state at the air-force tactical Command base, Makurdi. Political analysts believe that he is the architect of his problem with the Presidency because he has been too confrontational in his approach to national issues .
With the treatment meted out to Gov. Ortom, by airforce personnel, there are fears that Nyesom Wike, a former minister of State , Education, during former President Jonathan Administration, and who later took over effective control of the ministry, following the removal of the substantive minister and now governor of oil –rich Rivers state may have to watch it to avoid getting such embarassing treatment from military personnel for daring their Commander-In-Chief.
The Rivers state governor recent Statement that the retired Army General , had refused to give assent to the Nationnal Assembly amended Electoral Bill because he is afraid that it will make the ruling APC, lose the forthcoming 2023 general elections to the Opposition PDP, may have put him in the ranks of Ortom , who was stopped from welcoming the Vice President who was on transit in the state to Wakari.
The Rivers state governor had repeatedly said that the APC Leadership and the Presidency are afraid that ‘’if Professor Mhmood Yakubu, led Independent National Electoral Commission , INEC, transmits election results electronically in 2023, that it will mark the end of the Administration because they know they will fail’’.
There is no gain saying the fact that the duo, Ortom and Wike, for long have been identified by the Buhari led APC , government for being unfriendly and may have left their matter to the security agencies personnel to handle to avoid reading political meanings into any action that may be taken by the government . It was therefore not very surprising why there have not been any Statement from the presidency condemning the action of the air force personnel for stopping Gov. Ortom, from welcoming the Vice President to the state.
While the Benue state governor is still struggling to make Nigerians understand that he has no problems with the President or the Vice President, Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu, a former governor of Lagos state and one of the front runners of the APC, Presidential ticket, in the forth coming 2023, general elections, has assured Nigerians during a recent visit to Aremu Gbadebo, the Alake of Igbaland,as part of his nation-wide consultations for the Presidency, of ‘’better days ahead’’ if he wins the Presidential elections.
He may have alluded to the current difficult situations Nigerians are facing under the Buhari Administration, stressing that ‘’there will always be difficult times but there will be times for joy’’. Putting on the garb of a politician , he had said, ‘’We are navigating Nigeria through a very difficult and windy period ‘’, stating ‘’We will survive it and we will be happy’’.