The recent visit of factional national chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Senator Ali Modu Sheriff, to Benue State has stirred controversy in the political arena of the state because he was allegedly hosted by the All Progressives Congress (APC) led government, sparking rumours of an alliance.
Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom’s alleged interest in attaching dispatch riders and multiple security personnel to Sheriff’s convoy during sightseeing to some places, despite their different political affiliations raised eyebrows in certain quarters.
Similarly, the fact that Bishop Ogbaji was visible during Sheriff’s visit sent tongues wagging. Ogbaji is a close ally of Ortom and the chairman of the state Primary Health Care Board. This is in addition to being the National Trustee of Senator Sheriff’s faction of the PDP.
Another development which trailed Sheriff’s visit to the state was the allegation that it was initiated and sponsored by the APC-controlled government, which doled out N5 million to the factional executive to host their chairman.
But reacting to the alleged plan by Benue APC government to work closely with Sheriff, Governor Ortom’s Special Adviser on Media and ICT, Tahav Agerzua, urged the PDP to look inward and find solutions to its internal problems instead of blaming perceived external forces for their calamity.
Agerzua said his boss only extended hospitality to Sheriff on the grounds that he was a former governor, and that he officially notified the government of his visit to the state.
“Governor Samuel Ortom directed that one of the factional national chairmen of the PDP, Alhaji Sheriff, be accommodated in Government House, Makurdi during his recent visit as a matter of protocol and courtesies due to a former governor and distinguished Nigerian of that status.
“If the other factional national chairman, Alhaji Ahmed Makarfi, notifies Governor Ortom that he would visit the state, the same courtesies would be extended to him.
“Perhaps, the most preposterous claim is the one that the APC-led state government was afraid of local government elections and had recruited Sheriff to come to Benue State and cause confusion so that it could win the polls.
“The PDP must indeed be living in a fool’s paradise to assume that the people of the state have forgotten so soon, the plunder of their resources during their years of misrule and the resultant untold hardship,” Agerzua said.