The decision of the Benue State government under the leadership of Governor Samuel Ortom to immortalize Major Gideon Gwaza Orkar by promising to name a 9.7km road after him tomorrow, Saturday 20th May, 2023, has been strongly condemned by the Muslims Rights Concern (MURIC).
The Muslim group described Ortom’s action as immoral, illegal, insensitive, irresponsible and outrageous.
The condemnation was contained in a statement signed and released on Friday, 19th May, 2023, by the Chairman, Kano State chapter of the Muslim rights body, Malam Hassan Sani Indabawa.
“The Muslim group wonders what might be the motive of governor Ortom behind honoring a person found to have committed treason against the state and eventually tried, convicted and executed in July, 1990.
“Major Gideon Orkar masterminded a violent and bloody coup against the military administration of General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida in April 1990. However, the coup failed due to ethnic and religious undertone that accompanied the speech made around 4:00am on April 22, 1990.
“Orkar, in his radio broadcast to the nation, said he had seized power on behalf of the country’s “Christian-dominated southern and Middle Belt areas”, which he claimed had been “reduced to slavery” by the mostly Muslim north.
“He, therefore, made a stunning statement by announcing the excising of five (5) Northern states of Bauchi, Borno, Katsina, Kano and Sokoto from Nigeria.
“This led some patriotic military officers to rally in support of the Federal Military Government (FMG) when they found out it was a plot targeting their very existence.
“Although the coup was identified to be masterminded by Major Gideon Orkar, the trial and subsequent evidences showed that he was just a puppet and not the original mastermind behind the coup. The ideological arrowheads of the coup were Lt. Colonel Anthony Nyiam, Major Saliba Mukoro and Major Cyril Obahor. Intelligence findings further suggested it was at a later stage that Orkar was recruited to join the ill-fated coup plot. In fact, it was said that millionaire businessman, Chief Great Ovedje Ogboru was the top financier of the coup. The coup attempt was said to been the bloodiest in Nigeria’s history.
Mr Orkar and 41 other plotters were captured by government troops and subsequently, tried and convicted of treason. They were executed by firing squad on 27th July 1990.
“So what feat is governor Ortom celebrating. Is he honoring Orkar for failure, or is it the daftness, foolishness or crass incompetence exhibited by Orkar that he is honoring? Orkar was known to be bigoted, unintelligent, irrational, amoral, disoriented and a drunkard.
“Every responsible Nigerian should understand that one can only venture on a suicide mission by deciding to arbitrarily “excise” any part of the country without anticipating dire consequences.
“The just concluded 2023 presidential elections have poignantly amplified the futility of divisive politics. The Labour Party (LP) and its Presidential candidate Mr Peter Gregory Obi are yet to recover from the shock of the humiliating defeat they had suffered as a result of their ethnic and religious politics.
“We are surprised that, instead of governor Ortom to be remorseful of his past misdeeds and prepare to give account of his eight (8) years of wasted stewardship, he is now bequeathing another hate-filled and divisive legacy to the incoming administration.
“For the past 8 years, Governor Ortom wasted much of his time in hate mongering and needless antagonism against President Muhammadu Buhari and refused to build bridges and establish pragmatism, especially with Northern politicians. His leadership lacks focus and has disconnected his state from the national scheme of things and as well as hurt the relationship between the state and other tribes. He practically made Benue a pariah state.
“We strongly berate Governor Ortom for blaming his nonperformance on herders’ attacks. Some States like Borno, Kaduna etc suffer consistent, devastating and more horrendous terrorist attacks but yet are able to execute and commission plenty of quality legacy projects.
“It tells a lot that Benue people rejected and revolted against Ortom by wisely voting for APC. No governor of Benue State had ever suffered such humiliating rejection.
“It is our fervent prayers that such shall be the fate of every fake and self-serving politician, especially the Muslim haters like Samuel Ortom.”