The Governor of Benue State, Samuel Ortom, has raised an alarm on how he was denied access into the Airforce base where he was expected to receive Nigeria’s Vice President, Professor Yemi Osibanjo.
Governor Ortom while addressing newsmen at the Government House in Makurdi, showed a letter from the Presidency dated February 10, 2022, and signed by Amb. Abdullahi Gwary, Senior Special Assistant to the president on foreign affairs/head of protocol office of the Vice President, titled, ‘Visit of His Excellency, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, GCON, Vice President, Federal Republic of Nigeria, To Wukari, Taraba State, Transiting through NAF Base Makurdi, on Saturday, 12th, January (February), 2022.’
He further stated that security personnel barred him on getting to the airport of Nigeria Airforce.
Governor Ortom said that following the letter, he had to shelve other State matters and moved to the airport to receive the Vice President but regretted that he was barred from entering the airport.
According to him, “It is unfortunate that an ugly incident occurred today which is a breach of protocol and I felt so sad for our country Nigeria where everything has been reduced to politics.
“I was to attend the burial ceremony of our leader, Professor Ayua, had made all arrangements to go to Konshisha but a letter was brought to me that the vice president was transiting from Makurdi to Wukari
“It is a normal thing that when distinguished people like the President or Vice President is passing through your state, the governor should receive him.
“So, I asked the Deputy Governor to represent me at the burial of Professor Ayua.
“This morning I went to the Airforce base to receive the Vice President who will be transiting to Wukari but unfortunately, I was barred in my own State. It is a breach of protocol
Governor Ortom described the action as political and warned that such would continue to retard development.
He said, “This is politics taken too far and somebody must account for this. If the personality of the Vice President was passing and I didn’t go, it will be a breach of protocol on my side.
“How can I go to Airforce base and I’m barred? it has never happened, it is not acceptable. Maybe the Presidency that wrote to me is not aware of this. If we must make progress, we must learn to differentiate between politics and governance.
“I’m not a busy body, I have so many things to do. As I talk to you, the entire Gwer West is under siege. The Fulani are burning houses and I had to shelve everything to receive the Vice President. I feel so pained that politics have gone beyond what it is supposed to be. That is very bad.
“There is no permanent enemy in politics or permanent friend. Tomorrow, I can feel to be the best friend of Mr President if they do the right thing. I don’t hate the President or Vice President. All I’m saying is to add value to development. I have never insulted the President, I have never insulted the Vice President or the Federal Government but there are certain things they are doing that are wrong.”