Benue state governor, Dr. Samuel Ortom has become, and laughably so, a sad commentary in governance even in this dispensation of All Progressives Congress’ government of CHANGE. Like the proverbial tortoise whose name must always be mentioned in any story laced with mischief, misgiving and misadventure, the former junior minister of trade and investment appears to be taking on every real and/or perceived enemy on all fronts. And in doing this, he is abandoning governance; the real purpose for which he is inside Government House, Makurdi today.
From journalists performing their normal legitimate duties through his predecessor in Government House, Makurdi to senior citizens of the state, Ortom is making enemies off almost everyone that comes his way.
Not even his recent appointment of a retired chief veterinary consultant, Dr Joshua Abuku as his Senior Special Assistant on Pension Matters has any promise of redressing the grave harm the governor’s actions and inactions portend for his state.
I must recall here that Ortom announced the appointment while addressing pensioners who stormed Government House, Makurdi to protest the nonpayment of their pension arrears even as he assured state pensioners he would offset their pension arrears. Thus it was an act of desperation by the governor to placate the protesting senior citizens who have seen his administration incurred debts amounting to over N50billion in barely six months in power compared to the less than N20billion incurred by his predecessor, Dr. Gabriel Suswam whom the current chief executive would not just let be. From one bank loan to a bailout from the federal government, the governor at this rate, appears to be in a hurry to pull Benue state to the precipice of irrecoverable debts that generations yet unborn would sweat to pay for.
Good enough, the governor himself knows too well that there is just no money anywhere. At that event, he attributed the fall in the revenue to the state to the declining price of oil in the world market. “Before oil was sold at $140 but today, it is selling at $40,” Ortom reportedly told the protesting pensioners.
The unfortunate development around Ortom’s Benue state has no doubt elicited multi commentaries from within and outside the state warning of the gloom ahead should the governor continue the way he is going now.
One of such was a submission by one public affairs commentator, Tersoo Tarka. According to him, “Akin to the children of Israel for whom the journey of a few days became a forty year sojourn on account of murmuring, for Benue people the movement from Egypt to Israel as promised by the governor Samuel Ortom led APC government now has no end in sight. As opposed the story of the Israelis however, the murmuring is not coming from the people being led to the promise land but rather it is those who promised them paradise on earth that are now singing another song upon the realisation that they made their projections while in a dreamland as opposed to being prompted by a vision. The difference being that one has to be asleep and in fantasy land for a dream while vision would entail being fully aware and strategic. The journey promised Benue people thus looks set to be prolonged from four years to four centuries now that has become clear that there was no clear cut vision on how to progress on the path set out by the previous administrations hence the resort to murmuring and name calling.
“Instead of facing the reality on ground, Ortom, like Nebuchadnezzar as narrated in the Book of Daniel 2:2 (KJV) rather decided to “call magicians, and the sorcerer’s, and the Chaldeans, for to shew the king his dreams”. These jobbers, of whom there is no shortage of modern day equivalents, have further compounded the problems that the incumbent Benue state governor is grappling with by encouraging him to fight his predecessor when there is scarcely any indication to justify such action.
“Perhaps, what Ortom needs is a modern day Daniel as was in the Biblical times. The modern Daniel should be someone who can wake the governor up from his slumber and dream to smell the global economic challenge and the limitations it is imposing on governments across the world. Even President Muhammadu Buhari admitted that the federal government has to strain to pay salaries while as many as 27 seven states were unable to pay salaries hence the need for a bailout.
“Instead of waking up to this reality of national and global economic upheaval, Ortom, egged on by his band of minions and charlatans has resorted to a campaign of witch hunt against his predecessor, Mr Gabriel Suswam. Of course the campaign is aimed at whipping up a murmuring frenzy among the state indigenes with Suswam being labelled as the architect of the state’s precarious situation. The probe panels set up to hound the former governor thus look like an attempt to make his scapegoating official.
“The desperation goes a step further as the incumbent government was fingered in using a proxy to petition Suswam at the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).”
As for me, I may not know this much. But I must stress that Ortom needs to dumps the prodding of the George Akumes of Benue state if he must get it right. But I doubt if he would learn anything new.
Though he is a latter day member of the APC, the governor’s affinity for Senator Akume is commonplace knowledge in Benue. And in national politics, this is known too.
But the antecedents of Akume and the much he reportedly does to arm twist anyone he endorses for political office, whether elective or appointive is legendary. Thus, that Ortom is doing the former governor’s bidding and antagonising everyone that his political godfather is against is no news to the average Benue man. But must this continue to the detriment of the peace, unity, progress and future of the people of the state? The answer blows in the wind.

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