By Franc Fagah Utoo
Politics, Partisanship and Pettiness are the three Ps that seem to contaminate iota of rationality in lots of our people in Benue. Many of these people are so blinded by partisanship, pettiness and/or hate for the people’s Governor of Benue State that they hardly understand that all of us, not just Governor Ortom, are treading on the edge of precipice and living in the shadow of a well designed conspiracy of conquest and expansionism.
Governor Ortom was, earlier today, attacked in his farm by herdsmen militia. Politics and pettiness have made a few segment of our people to rejoice over that attack while the perennial cynics amongst them have questioned the allegations by just sitting in their rooms with their fingers on the keyboards.
Again I ask, what aspect of the Governor Ortom attack is so difficult to understand? I have followed various comments from naysayers on different walls, and aggregated the doubts under three headings. I’ll use familiar cases to answer these posers.
- Some people questioned an attack on the farm, forgetting that more than 80% of herdsmen attack in Benue were in the farms. The Governor’s farm in Tyo-Mu is on the fringes of River Benue, which has always provided easy passage for these killers.
- Some asked why was there no video footage of the attack. It is terrible foolishness to ask for video of this sort of attack. Who would make a video of that at a time of gun fire? When Governor Zulum of Borno was attacked and there was a video, it was because it happened at the venue of an event where there were hundreds of people and a whole lot of press crew. Governor Ortom doesn’t go to his farm with the press crew. We all know this. And he often goes with a back up of single utility vehicle conveying not more than 5 armed men. Most people know this.
- Some people asked why were the attackers not killed. Where are the bodies? Preposterous! About 15 armed herdsmen fired at the Governor on his farm from a little distance but were matched with equal firepower from 5 well trained security men in the Governor’s company, and you feel the first rule is not to quickly evacuate the Governor?
Many of the people asking these, from observations, are opposition elements in the state. Those who do opposition politics with no rationality. I’m wont to ask if they really knew what happened to the APC leader in the State, George Akume, on 3rd March of 2004 when he was our State Governor? Of course I remember because after the incident, when he returned back to Benue two weeks later, I led the whole delegation of Benue students and youth leaders to Government House to sympathize with him. In that delegation were many notable APC leaders in Benue today like Daniel Onjeh and Herman Hembe, among others.
The then Governor Akume had his entire convoy come under fire power from gunmen at Woyen, near Nasarawa Eggon. Two people in Akumes convoy were killed: my friend, Sgt Ngam, and Engr. Andrew Agom. Did the whole retinue of the Governor’s security men kill any of the attackers? No! They fired back the same way Governor Ortom’s few security men did, and sped off to get the Governor safe. The same way Zulum security men evacuated him to safety without killing any if the assailants in Borno.
Furthermore, I write this as someone who met with the Governor today at the Government House, Makurdi, shortly after the dastard act, when he returned to address the Press. I spoke with some of the Governor’s security details who were with him. I saw the dust and sweat on their bodies, of course including the Governor.
This threat is getting close to each of us. It will be foolhardy to live in self denials and under the shade of partisanship while making mockery of it. Use your sense! While you continue to place Party and Partisanship first, these daredevil killers put them last and place your Life and your Land first. Again, I say; USE YOUR SENSE!