The Presidency has cautioned Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue to desist from basing his campaign for re-election on falsehoods concerning President Muhammadu Buhari, advising him to focus on the dire issues confronting the state.
Malam Garba Shehu, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, gave the warning in a statement in Abuja on Sunday.
The presidential aide observed that “Ortom’s campaign is clearly one designed to stir division and hatred, and to divert the people’s attention from his inability to pay staff salaries and pensions for several months.
“It has been noted that the governor has been visiting churches in the state where he falsely tells congregations about President Buhari’s so-called plans to Islamise Benue State.
“This nonsense has formed the basis of his campaign, because he has nothing to offer Benue people’’.
Shehu also noted that the allegations coming from Ortom were “particularly unfair, when one considers how much support the governor received from the Federal Government, which supported his grazing laws as a means to end the farmer-herder crises that have plagued the state.
“If not for President Buhari’s insistence that the governor be given a chance to effect the law, he would have faced resistance from different sources and found it difficult to implement.
“While advising Ortom to immediately stop his dubious attacks on President Buhari, the Federal Government calls on the people of Benue State to not fall for Ortom’s deception and allow themselves to be hoodwinked by such a negative campaign.
“They should instead, ask him why he has refused to pay staff salaries and pensions for months, and what he did with the funding from the excess crude account which should ideally have gone towards addressing such payments,” the statement read in part.