Media War: What Ortom, Bala Mohammed Said As They Reconcile In Rivers

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By Abiola Olawale

The acrimonious relationship between Samuel Ortom, Governor of Benue State and Bala Mohammed, his Bauchi State counterpart, has been settled, as the two Governors finally gave peace a chance.

Mohammed and Ortom had engaged in war of words in the media over Fulani herders who have allegedly orchestrated killings, kidnapping, among others, across the country.

Mohammed had on February 12 made a case for the Fulani herders, stating that they have no option but to carry AK-47 for self-defence.

Reacting, Governor Ortom on February 22 criticized his Bauchi counterpart, alleging that he is a “terrorist” based on his utterances supporting herdsmen from carrying AK-47 to defend themselves.

However, after the altercations between the two governors elected under the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the conflict has been resolved following the intervention of Nyesom Wike, Governor of Rivers State and Ahmadu Fintiri, Governor of Adamawa State.

The outburst between the two governors have now been settle as both were seen embracing each other after a closed-door meeting held at Wike’s private residence in Rumuepirikom, Port Harcourt, Rivers State.

Speaking after the meeting, Mohammed regretted the outburst, adding that it was never his intentions to divide the country.

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In his words, “We don’t mean to divide the country, to divide our people. We are still friends and brothers and that we will move forward because most of those issues are fully resolved. I want to seize this opportunity to tell Nigerians that whatever misconception that is there, that me and my brother Ortom are having problem or anybody in Nigeria is not true. What happened was just an explanation that emanated from a larger Governors’ Forum that we spoke on the security of the nation and we talked of the failure of security infrastructure which everybody knows is under the purview of the federal government.”

Similarly, Ortom said the outburst was only as a mistake, adding that he will ensure he work towards solving the security crisis in Nigeria.

In his words, “We have accepted that it was wrong for us to have that kind of outburst that went out, but as from today we have learnt. We are all fallible human beings and we are subject to mistakes and so when we make mistakes, it is a plus for us if we correct them. And I think moving forward, we shall live together. The Fulani and Tiv people have cohabitated for a long time and there is no issue whatsoever. We look forward that the federal government should stoop down to conquer by accepting that, yes ,they have failed, so that together the State and the local government can come together to find a way of finding a lasting solution to this country. As at today, there is no equity, there is no fairness , there is no justice in our country and that is why everywhere in Nigeria there are issues. So we look forward that the Federal Government will partner with us. This time we need not to talk about partisan politics. We must come together. We need not to talk about ethnicity or religion. We must come together as brothers and sisters who have no other country than Nigeria, to work together towards a common cause that will solve the problem that we have.”

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In his remarks, Wike commended the governors for resolving to settle their dispute.

In his words, “We give God the glory today that those difference have been sorted out. We are members of one political party. Like what the Governor of Bauchi and Governor of Benue said, we don’t want the inefficiency, we don’t want the incapacity of the Federal Government in handling the issue of insecurity in the country to rub on us. Everybody knows that the Federal Government has failed in providing security for this country. And of course you will not blame them. They (Ortom and Mohammed) are under pressure from their various States. It is not as if they have any personal issue. They will not be happy today that two of them have now made up to work together.”

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Governor Wike urged the media to be a bit more circumspect in reporting issues that could further polarize the country. But you too the press, you should have a role to play in stabilizing the country. It is not everything you must report. You don’t try to escalate things. When you do that your are not helping the country.”

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