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The politics of governor Ortom’s defection


Governor of Benue State Samuel Ortom speaks about internally displaced people and farmer’s violent clashes from Logo and Guma communities at Gbajimba IDPs camp outskirts of Makurdi, capital of Benue State in northcentral Nigeria on January 4, 2018 / AFP PHOTO / PIUS UTOMI EKPEI

Sir: Governor Samuel Ortom defection from the All Progressive Congress (APC) to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is a win-win and loss-loss to both Governor Ortom and the APC.

Leaving the APC is Governor Ortom’s easiest and only political survival strategy to escape from his obvious under-performance as governor as well as cleverly milked from some political moods in Benue: anti-APC and the anger from the Herdsmen killings.

On the other hand, the APC has gotten an opportunity to reduce the many political bagagges brought on its head by Governor Ortoms.


Some of Ortom’s negative political values- workers salaries issues, weak governance etc.

Furthermore, the APC as a political party will have the opportunity to present a new face for governor and only battle with anti-Buhari and the politics herdsmen crisis  in Benue state in 2019 general elections.

As expected, the PDP has welcomed Ortom back into its fold, saying he was welcome home to help salvage the nation.

The APC said it was surprised, but the signs were already there for quite sometime.

The APC shouldn’t be taken aback- July 9, Ortoms dissolved his cabinet.

That was a red card’ statement and the politics and intricacies that surrounded the herdsmen crisis in Benue including the stage-managed youth blockage of the governor’s convoy.

Governor Ortom joined the APC from the PDP ahead the 2015 elections.

He served as Minister of State of Industry, Trade and Investment during the Jonathan administration.

Ortom also served as the director of operations of the PDP gubernatorial campaign in Benue State in 2007, and later as director of administration and logistics of the Goodluck/Sambo Presidential Campaign Organization in 2011.


Ortom was also a former national auditor of the PDP.

Going to election without an incumbent governor is a minus for the APC but a plus to the PDP.

Ortom on the other hand may have been offered an automatic ticket by the PDP, but he is coming to the PDP as an orphan- the deal has already been done- Ortom will have only the PDP governorship ticket but party structures from wards to national level are in some other peoples hands.

And, he will face the likes of David mark, Barnabas Gemade and many PDP bigwigs.

The PDP may have promised Governor Ortom as automatic ticket; but the party will also witness a backlash from other governorship hopeful as well as carry Ortom’s political baggages.

But in politics it is normal, politicians and political parties will strive at all cost to survive a political storm- whoever finds himself in Ortom shoes, will do same.

He has grossly under-performed, then a rare opportunity to temporarily get political-relief presented itself. Ortom smartly grabbed it.

The APC can smartly milk from Ortom’s exit, if the party plays its politics very well.

Governor on the hand, can also utilize his exit from the APC for political gains.

This is politics Nigerian standard.Zayyad I. Muhammad, wrote from Jimeta, Adamawa state.

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