Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State, yesterday, said the All Progressives Congress (APC) has ‘sent him out of the pitch by giving him the red card’.
Ortom, who made the remark while swearing in the new Special Adviser on Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Jerome Torshembe, said the action of his party had rendered him a free man who was waiting outside for the next step to take.
“Let party or ethnicity not divide us. As for party, I’ve been given red card and I’m outside the pitch. So, if I have been given red card and I’m standing outside, I’m a free man. So I don’t know what will happen next but I’m waiting. If anyone approaches me, then I will tell the Benue people that I’m joining another football club,” he said.
The governor added that he was a child of destiny and that only God would decide what he would be in the days ahead as he stressed the need for his supporters to conduct themselves in an orderly manner.
He added: “These challenges that we see today, we shall see them no more. All that we are required to do is not to begin to be wayward in our conduct but to move to the righteous side of God. Once we do that, things will work out for our good.”
The governor had last week sacked 16 commissioners in his cabinet and retained only four; and also relieved seven out of 19 special advisers; a move seen as direct onslaught on former Governor George Akume who was instrumental to the appointment of many of them after the 2015 elections.
Ortom was said to have made up his mind on the grounds the APC with Akume at its arrow head in Benue had perfected plans to pick another gubernatorial candidate of the party ahead of 2019.
But the National Chairman of the APC, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, said the party had had a cordial relationship with Ortom.
He spoke to newsmen after a closed door meeting with members of the party’s National Working Committee (NWC).
“I know that Gov Ortom is a very senior member of the party and he has said so repeatedly in print and has said to me one on one that he will not leave the APC unless he was pushed out.”