Oshiomhole, also a former chairman of the All Progressive Congress (APC) in his retraction said he acted based on information he had which he has now found to be false and baseless.
During a media briefing in 2018, Oshiomhole said 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 Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
While reacting to Ortom’s defection then, Oshiomole accused the governor of worsening insecurity in the state and pointed fingers at him over the murder of the priests.
Ortom dragged the former Edo governor to court and demanded N10 billion for the libelous statement against him. The case dragged on in court for a while with the defendant requesting out-of-court settlement.
But Oshiomhole on realising his inability win the case and pay the N10bn, choose to retract the statement and beg for forgiveness.
The retraction was published in The Nation, full page, on page 29, Thisday and Vanguard, half pages on 41 and 7 respectively.
Below is the retraction in verbatim.
“On the 27th day of July, 2018 at the National Headquarters of the All Progressives Congress (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 (Executive Governor of Benue State) from the All Progressives Congress (APC) to the Peoples Democratic Party.
“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.”