Chukwudi Akasike and John Charles
A war of words ensued between the Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike, and his Benue State counterpart, Samuel Ortom, on Thursday, when both helmsmen accused each other of being culpable in the way they handled security in their respective states.
Specifically, Wike declared that Ortom was one of those who politicised insecurity in the country, which he said had degenerated to consume Benue State.
Wike maintained his call for the declaration of a state of emergency in Benue State, adding that Ortom had lost control and lacked the capacity to stand up for his people.
The governor made this remark on Thursday while addressing the members of the University of Port Harcourt Governing Council, who paid him a visit at the Government House in Port Harcourt.
Wike explained that Ortom was in the league of APC governors, who plotted a state of emergency against Rivers State when it (Rivers) had security challenges.
“Benue governor has lost control. That is why there is an immediate need to declare a state of emergency for the restoration of security and protection of the people.
“If you are from Benue State, I apologise. But when Rivers State had security challenges, Governor Ortom of Benue State was among the APC governors, who plotted the declaration of a state of emergency in Rivers State.
“When the problem of insecurity started here in Rivers State, instead of joining hands to proffer solutions, they politicised it.
“Unless all those at the forefront of the plot against the state repent, this insecurity will visit them one after the other,” the governor said.
He added that as a result of the politicisation of security by APC governors, insecurity had been exported to several parts of the country.
Wike urged the university’s management to remain apolitical, adding that the strained relationship between the Rivers State Government and the institution was as a result of his advice that it (UNIPORT) should not be involved in electoral malpractice during the legislative rerun elections.
He, nevertheless, said that the state would continue to support the university through the execution of projects.
In his remark, the Chancellor of the university and Emir of Gwandu, General Muhammadu Bashar, urged the governor to remain committed to the service of Rivers State and Nigeria.
He pleaded with the governor to forgive the university’s management.
The Pro-Chancellor of the university, Prof. Mvendaga Jibo, also appealed to Wike to continue to support the university materially.
Reacting to Wike’s call for the declaration of a state of emergency in Benue, Ortom described the call as reckless and jaundiced, adding that his counterpart in Rivers needed medical attention.
Ortom spoke in a statement signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Terve Akase.
He said, “Wike, who is expected to know the powers and limits of a state governor with regard to security matters, without any provocation whatsoever, attacked his counterpart, Governor Samuel Ortom, over his handling of the unfortunate security developments in Benue State.
“Wike’s jaundiced and reckless utterances demonstrate a gradual failure of his mental state as a result of probable demonic influence.”
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