Samuel Ortom, governor of Benue state, has clarified his comment on citizens “drinking beer” and sleeping all day.
In a statement on Saturday, Nathaniel Ikyur, chief press secretary to the governor, said the comment was directed at members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Benue.
The governor was said to have made the remark on Friday when commissioning the new building of RCN Embassy Church in Makurdi, Benue state capital.
Reacting to the backlash that trailed the utterance, the governor’s chief press secretary said he was speaking to “a few” persons who “have conditioned their minds to malign him”.
“We wish to state categorically that the news, especially the caption is a completely mischievous misrepresentation and an attempt to ridicule the person of the governor,” the statement reads.
“The Governor was clear that most Benue people know and do appreciate the great developmental strides he is doing for them. He regretted that some of those who insult, blackmail, or castigate him unnecessarily, specifically are a few and from the opposition All Progressives Congress, APC who sit in beer parlours for long hours and have conditioned their minds to malign him no matter how much he has done.
“He was clear how these APC supporters do that without cogent or issue-based criticisms but simply out of mischief.
“He was also clear that critics of his administration should offer constructive criticisms as he does to the federal government.
“At that function in question, which was the Dedication and Inaugural Service of RCN Embassy Church, Makurdi, Governor Ortom specifically asked the people of Benue State and indeed Nigerians to continue to pray for him and other leaders including President Muhammadu Buhari rather than always criticising him.
“He quoted from the Bible where the scriptures asked Christians to pray for their leaders and all those in authority.”
The statement added that Ortom acknowledges how the people of Benue, in 2015 and 2019, displayed their love for him by electing him governor twice.