The All Progressives Congress (APC) has described the defection of the Benue State Governor, Dr Samuel Ortom to the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) as “somewhat surprising”.
Malam Bolaji Abudullahi, APC National Publicity Secretary said this on Wednesday in Abuja, while reacting to the development.
The party recalled efforts made by its National Chairman, Mr Adams Oshiomhole to address some of the grievances raised by the Governor pertaining to the local politics in his state.
“The Governor had left the meeting saying he was satisfied with the assurances given by party leaders. We are still working on giving effect to the resolutions from the meeting.
“Therefore, we are somewhat surprised by Gov Ortom’s decision,” the statement said.
The APC reiterated its earlier position that it respects the rights of every citizen to choose his political affiliation, but expressed hope that those who left its fold would rescind their decisions.
It added that even with the defection of the governor to the opposition PDP, the party did not think it was too late for reconciliation.
It stressed that the party’s leadership would continue to talk to its aggrieved members across the country, adding that reconciliation was still possible.
This, the statement added, would be the situation as long as such members kept their minds open and had the courage to put the real issues on the table.
“We once again call on members across the country to remain calm as the party leadership continues to work hard to position the party strongly for the next general elections,”the statement said.
Governor Ortom had on July 19 assured the APC national chairman that he would remain in the party after alleging that the party’s Benue chapter gave him a “red card”.
Ortom had given the assurance while speaking with newsmen after a closed-door meeting with the APC national chairman.
He had likened himself to a footballer who was out of the football pitch waiting to be picked by another club following the said “red card” he was given.
The governor and Sen. George Akume, a former governor of the state and a serving Senator, had been having a running battle over who controlled the party in the state.
“It was the Benue APC that gave me a red card, not the national APC and that was enough to make myself available out of the pitch.
“But, the leadership of the party told me that its decision is superior to that of any individual or group of people and I think that is good enough.
“They have spoken to him (Akume) and have spoken to me, and the state’s stakeholders are going to be spoken to. That’s where I belong.
“We have not concluded the matter. It’s an ongoing process. I always stand for peace. I always want peace to prevail, and that’s what I call for.
“I am here in APC; I am a member of the party, I am still flying the flag of APC.I only said I was given red card, but I have been corrected by the national secretariat,” he had said.