Governor of Benue State, Samuel Ortom has alleged that The Sun newspaper wants to ruin his career using the ongoing election tribunal in the state.
According to the governor, since June 2015, articles by the tabloid have been deliberately skewed to create an image that all is not well at the Benue State government house.
Speaking via a statement issued by his media aide, Tahav Agerzua, Governor Ortom said it was unprofessional for a reporter to file a report based on unverified claims.
The statement quoted some articles by the newspaper which include: “The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has stated that the All Progressives Congress, APC, did not hold primary election in Benue State; Governor Ortom was not validly nominated and that the APC national legal adviser warned that the party was losing Benue State.
“That Governor Ortom would lose either at the Federal High Court or at the Benue State Governorship Election Tribunal.
“Sunday Sun Newspaper of August 23, 2015 again reprinted one of such articles. This time it appeared under the name of one Omoniyi Salaudeen.
“Ordinarily, The Sun Newspaper has a correspondent in Benue State, whose name is Rose Ejembi and one would expect that she would be the one to file reports and analysis from the state.
“Indeed she does file them, none of which underscores or supports the articles of the hirelings mentioned above.
“’Uneasy calm reigns in Benue State’,” Mr. Salaudeen, who I believe has not visited the state in a long while or may not have visited at all, claimed in his article.
“May I assure members of the public that there is no panic in Benue State whatsoever and that all are going about their normal duties with very little thought about the election tribunal.
“Governor Ortom was validly nominated in accordance with his party’s constitution, guidelines, as well as the Electoral Act.
“Chairman of the primary election panel in Benue State, Barrister Baba Dala, stated clearly at the tribunal that the governorship candidate of the party fulfilled all requirements in accordance with the law.
“He tendered documents including a resolution of party leaders on Governor Ortom’s candidature, APC constitution, letter of waiver granted him as well as record of proceedings at the Federal High Court, Makurdi, which were all accepted by the tribunal.
“Barrister Dala stated that since the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, had filed the same suit at the Federal High Court Makurdi claiming the same facts and reliefs, it was abnormal for the same suit, which had been dismissed with costs to be brought before the tribunal.
“Moreover, Dr. Muiz Banire, APC’s National Legal Adviser denied that he ever wrote the letter being bandied around and its contents. His rebuttal was published on page 11 of The Nation newspaper of Sunday, 5th July, 2015.
“Numerous other judgments of the Supreme Court on nomination of candidates have already sounded the death knell for Prince Terhemen Tarzoor’s case at the tribunal.
“The withdrawal of the case challenging Governor Ortom’s nomination has also been sad news for the PDP.
“On the whole, the major objective of the current media campaign by PDP apologists includes the setting of the stage for a blame game that will surely ensue as the PDP’s defeat at the Benue State Governorship Election Tribunal is as inevitable as it is irrevocable.
“I appeal to members of the public to disregard and dismiss such reports as the one that appeared on page 52 of Sunday Sun newspaper of 23rd August, 2015.”