What Governor Bala Mohammed told Ortom over ‘Fulani’ comment 

What Governor Bala Mohammed told Ortom over ‘Fulani’ comment 

Governor Bala Mohammed of Bauchi State has expressed dismay over the statement made by the Governor of Benue State, Samuel Ortom, saying he would not vote for Atiku Abubakar or any Fulani man.




Mr Mohammed, who hosted Mr Ortom and other governors in Bauchi today, said he felt bad because of the ethnic profiling.

Mr Ortom vowed never to vote for PDP presidential candidate, Atiku and any other Fulani person in a video that has now gone viral. The group has been fighting Atiku ever since he emerged as the party’s flag bearer.

Mr Ortom was in Bauchi alongside Rivers State governor, Nyesom Wike, Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State and Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State for a solidarity visit to fraternise with the Bauchi governor. They met behind closed doors but later addressed reporters.

But an informed source who asked not to be named because he was not authorised to speak to the press, said Mr Mohammed advised Mr Ortom to withdraw the statement.

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Mr Mohammed also advised the G-5 group to avoid making their struggle look like a fight against a Muslim.

The source said Mr Mohammed tried to explain to the Benue governor the implications of the remarks on national politics.

“He (Mr Mohammed) said since all of them fighting Atiku Abubakar are Christians, Nigerians may start to think that they’re doing that because Atiku is a Muslim and they’re all Christians. He told them when former President Goodluck Jonathan had issues with some party members, it was across the divide; Muslims and Christians, Northerners and Southerners,” the source said.

Ortom apologises

While addressing reporters after the closed-door meeting, Mr Ortom was asked by one of the reporters if he still held his stand on the Fulani comment.

Mr Ortom responded that he was misunderstood.

“Thank you for your question but I want to say that is not what I meant when I was captured saying that. But all the same, I know that it’ll amount to logical fallacy if people have taken it the way it is. I want to say to those who are offended by my remarks, I didn’t mean that. I’m sorry about it.”

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Also commenting, Mr Wike said the group has not shut its doors from reconciliation.

“I’ve stated several times that we’re here for reconciliations. All we’re saying is for equity, fairness and justice. That’s what the party stands for. We’re here. We’ve never closed the door and we’ll not close the door. All we’re saying is look, let the right thing be done. If the right thing is done you’ll see how the whole country will know that the election is over

Backstory

In a viral video, Mr Ortom was seen declaring that he would not support Atiku’s presidential bid because residents of the state are still being killed by Fulanis.

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“To hell with Atiku and anyone supporting him. They should go and tell him. You want me to be a slave for a Fulani. It is better that I die. Anybody supporting Atiku is an enemy of Benue,” he said angrily.

“I will never support a Fulani man to become president. If there is another person who is ready to work with me and ensure the security of my people, I will work with him.”

Mr Ortom, alongside Mr Wike, has been fighting Atiku since his election during the party’s presidential primary.

They want the national chairman of the party, Iyorchia Ayu to resign, arguing that it’s not proper for the presidential candidate and party chairman to be from the North.

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