A former National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, Adams Oshiomhole, has stated that he respects Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, and he is sorry for the weighty allegations he made against him in 2018.
Oshiomhole on Thursday said he retracted the comments he made about Governor Ortom on July 27, 2018. The former APC chairman’s retraction was published in some national newspapers on March 18, 2021.
After Ortom defected from the APC to the Peoples Democratic Party in July 2018, Oshiomhole accused the governor of having a hand in the killing of some catholic priests at that time.
But on Thursday, in a retraction, Oshiomhole apologised to Ortom to disregard his statements.
The former APC Chairman said, “On July 27, 2018, at the National Headquarters of the APC, and particularly in my capacity then as the Chairman of the party, I addressed different national issues as well as some events which occurred in Benue State, including the movement earlier that day of his Excellency, Dr. Samuel Ortom, from the APC to the PDP.
“In the course of the press conference, I made certain comments about Dr Ortom on the basis of information I have since found to be false and baseless. His Excellency, Dr Samuel Ortom, felt embarrassed, defamed and deeply aggrieved by the comments I made at the said press conference, culminating in litigation.
“That politics aside, Governor Samuel Ortom is a dear friend and brother with whom I have shared so much in common, including mutual respect. That as former colleagues and one time members of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum and most importantly as someone whom I am just a phone call away from, any ridicule, embarrassment, spite and insult caused Dr Samuel Ortom is regretted.
“Owing to the relationship we share and in the larger interest of peace, harmony and brotherliness, I believe a complete retraction of my comments made on 27th July, 2018, and which Dr Samuel Ortom found offensive is proper and necessary.
“In view of all the above, I hereby retract the comments made during the press conference on 27th July, 2018, as it relates to Dr Samuel Ortom.”
On the said day as APC chairman, Oshiomhole had said he suspected that Ortom was involved in the murder of two Catholic priests.
The priests were killed alongside 17 parishioners by gunmen who attacked Ayar Mbalon village, Gwer East Local Government Area of Benue in April 2018.
The attack was one in a series of attacks that compelled Ortom to dump the APC for the PDP due to the inability of the APC-controlled Nigerian government to deal with the insecurity situation.
In reacting to Ortom's defection, Oshiomhole accused him of worsening insecurity in the state, and pointed fingers at him over the murder of the priests.
The former APC chairman had vowed at the time that Ortom would not secure a second term in office because of his defection to the PDP, but the governor won the 2019 election.