Update: Vice President Yemi Osibanjo Apologize to Ortom over Airport Drama in Makurdi

Gov. Samuel Ortom exchanging pleasantlies with Vice President Yemi Osibanjo.

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has apologized to Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State over the conduct of security personnel attached to the gate of the Air Force Base in Makurdi.

The security personnel attached to the gate of the Air Force Base in Makurdi barred the governor from receiving the Vice-President into his state on Saturday.

The Governor of Benue State, Dr. Samuel Ortom, yesterday disclosed that he was denied entry into the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) Base in Makurdi, the state capital, where he was expected to receive the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo.

NAF has however apologised to Ortom, who later received Osinbajo on his way back from Wukari in Taraba State, where he attended the combined convocation ceremony of the University of Wukari.

The governor disclosed that he had accepted the apology.

Ortom, who spoke to journalists at the Government House, said that security personnel barred him on getting to the airport of NAF.

The governor brandished a letter from the Presidency dated February 10, 2022, and signed by Ambassador Abdullahi Gwary, Senior Special Assistant to the president on foreign affairs/head of protocol office of the Vice President.

The letter was titled: ‘Visit of His Excellency, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, GCON, Vice President, Federal Republic of Nigeria, to Wukari, Taraba State, Transiting through NAF Base Makurdi, on Saturday, 12th, January (February), 2022.’

Ortom said following the letter, he had to shelve other state matters and move to the airport to receive the vice president but regretted that he was barred from entering the airport.

According to him, “It is unfortunate that an ugly incident occurred today, which is a breach of protocol and I felt so sad for our country, Nigeria, where everything has been reduced to politics.

“I was to attend the burial ceremony of our leader, Professor Ayua; I had made all arrangements to go to Konshisha but a letter was brought to me that the vice president was transiting from Makurdi to Wukari.“It is a normal thing that when distinguished people like the president or vice president is passing through your state, the governor should receive him.

“So, I asked the deputy governor to represent me at the burial of Professor Ayua.

“This morning I went to the Air Force base to receive the vice president, who will be transiting to Wukari but unfortunately, I was barred in my own state. It is a breach of protocol,” the governor added.

Ortom described the action as political and warned that such would continue to retard development.

He said: “This is politics taken too far and somebody must account for this. If the personality of the vice president was passing and I didn’t go, it will be a breach of protocol on my side.

“How can I go to Air Force base and I am barred? It has never happened; it is not acceptable. May be, the Presidency that wrote to me is not aware of this. If we must make progress, we must learn to differentiate between politics and governance.

“I am not a busy body; I have so many things to do. As I talk to you, the entire Gwer West is under siege. The Fulani are burning houses and I had to shelve everything to receive the vice president. I feel so pained that politics has gone beyond what it is supposed to be. That is very bad.

“There is no permanent enemy in politics or permanent friend. Tomorrow, I can feel to be the best friend of Mr. President if they do the right thing. I don’t hate the president or vice president. All I am saying is to add value to development. I have never insulted the president; I have never insulted the vice president or the federal government but there are certain things they are doing that are wrong.”

Ortom who expressed worries over the style of governance of President Muhammad Buhari advised him to learn to be a democrat

The governor who later received the vice president on his way back, said the Air Force authorities apologised and he had accepted the apology.

In a brief chat with journalists at the Presidential Wing of the Makurdi Airport shortly after seeing off the vice president, the governor said the misunderstanding came as a result of an error in communication, which had been resolved.


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