- The Southern Governors Forum has a consistent supporter in Benue state governor, Mr. Samuel Ortom
- The recent resolutions of the forum have excited the governor, who aligned with the contents of the undertaking
- Ortom particularly expressed his joy in the pronouncements concerning open grazing law and the 2023 presidency
Makurdi - Benue state governor, Samuel Ortom has described the decision of the Southern Governors Forum to enact laws to ban open grazing of livestock in the region as a bold and patriotic move that will bring to an end the lingering crisis caused by armed herdsmen.
Governor Ortom's stance was contained in a statement sent to Legit.ng by his spokesman, Terver Akase, on Tuesday, July 6.
Support from the Middle Belt
The governor also lauded his counterparts in southern Nigeria for backing their May 11 Asaba declaration against open grazing with the resolve to legally prohibit nomadic cattle rearing.
He further commended the Southern Governors Forum for their position on the rotation of the presidency between the north and south, beginning from 2023.
Governor Ortom noted that only equity, fairness, and justice can strengthen the unity of Nigeria, give all citizens a sense of belonging and reduce tensions across the country.
The governor re-echoed his call on the federal government to respect the 1999 Constitution (as amended) regarding fundamental human rights, the rule of law, and federal character.
He reaffirmed his belief in Nigeria’s unity and expressed optimism that the country will overcome its current challenges and emerge stronger as a great nation.
Media attacks on Governor Ortom increasing
Meanwhile, Nathaniel Ikyur, the principal special assistant on media to Governor Ortom, on Monday, July 5, alleged that enemies of Benue state are sponsoring media attacks against his boss.
Ikyur made the allegation in a statement sent to Legit.ng, stressing that there is an upsurge among willing Benue state indigenes who are ready to lead a smear campaign against Governor Ortom and get paid for discrediting him for standing by his people against killer herdsmen.
Recall that governors of the 17 southern states insisted that the next president of the country must come from the region.
The decision (if it comes to fruition) would effectively end the ambition of some top politicians from the north who are believed to be eyeing the 2023 presidency.
Such politicians include former vice president, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, former Kano state governor, Alhaji Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, and current Sokoto state governor, Alhaji Aminu Tambuwal.
Responding to the resolution, former governor of Zamfara state and a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Senator Ahmed Sani Yerima, said he would contest for the 2023 presidential election despite the stance of the Southern Governors Forum.
Speaking in Abuja with some journalists, Yerima said he would not shelve his ambition since there was no provision for a power shift in the Nigeran constitution and the APC constitution.
He added that every Nigerian, according to the Nigerian constitution, unless it is amended, has the right to aspire to any political office once he is qualified.