Samuel Ortom, the executive governor of Benue state has attributed the recent freezing of his bank account by the operatives of the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) to his defection from the All Progressives Congress (APC) to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Recall that Ortom, on July 25 defected from APC under which he was elected the governor of the state to his former party, PDP.
NIGERIA NEWS notes that while speaking on the freezing of his account, the governor said that it was strange to him, adding that the development made him approach court of law to seek redress.
He said: “I think that the EFCC would have been in the best position to answer that question because it was strange to me and that was why I went to court. I am a law-abiding governor and I prefer the legal means to handle my case.
“I cannot stop the EFCC from doing their investigation as long as they are doing it within the ambit of the law, not doing it illegally and with impunity like we saw security agencies, the Police and DSS coming here to seal up the State House of Assembly.
“Out of 30 members of the House, eight were given adequate protection to go there to discuss an impeachment notice. At least we are learned people, the procedure of an impeachment is very clear. 10 members out of 30 which is one third can issue a notice to the House.
“The House will deliberate on it and 2/3 can cause the impeachment notice to be served on the Chief Judge who will now set up a panel and after the panel report it will be given to the House and 2/3 will determine whether I am impeachable or not. Anything outside that cannot stand.
“That was why we went to court and we secured an interim order, the matter is still in court anyway. But ab initio they did not meet the demand of 1/3 so that was dead on arrival in the first place because we are not in the era of five or ten members moving to impeach a governor, it doesn’t hold anymore.
“Our lawyers are there, we will sort it out in court. So far no impeachment notice has been served, I have no impeachment notice on me and those people in the first place, who were responsible for the so called impeachment move have been suspended from the House for six months and I think that the leaders of the House out of the 22 are doing their normal work.”
Speaking on his defection to PDP, Ortom said that circumstances took him to the APC in the first place, adding that he was just on sabbatical.
“Well, I must say that circumstances took me to the APC in the first place. As far as I know I was just on sabbatical.
“I was a foreigner in APC, nobody considered me as governor, nobody felt that I should also participate in the formation of the structure of the party even though I have large followership.
“The fact is that If I had not come to the APC, the party wouldn’t have won the 2015 governorship election in Benue state, they know it and they cannot dispute it. I went to the APC because the PDP had treated me in a manner that was not democratic and that was why I left and sojourned in APC.
“But I was treated like a foreigner in the APC, like I wasn’t part of it. So I decided to go back to my home which is the PDP, now that the party has rebranded and the party has also apologized, accepting that the way we had conducted our affairs in the past were not right and I have also seen the reforms from the current leadership of the party.
“So I told myself that this is a home that I contributed a lot to build. At the state level, I was secretary of PDP for six years, I was deputy chairman of the party for one year and I was the national auditor of the party for three years at the national level.
“So for me it was a home coming and you could see the rousing welcome that was accorded me when I got back to PDP. So it is home and it is about my freedom and I should be allowed. All these persecutions you are seeing, from EFCC to the police to DSS and all that are because I left the APC.
“They are framing more charges and they would do more things and go to the dirty extent of even pushing herdsmen to come and attack Benue again so that there would be unrest in the state. But I know that God will stop them”, he said.
NIGERIA NEWS had reported that EFCC grilled former DSS- director general for the second time.