Former governor of Benue State, Gabriel Suswam yesterday said that he was not responsible for the current problems incumbent Governor Samuel Ortom is facing.
Suswam was reacting to a report in the media, including the Daily Trust newspaper of Tuesday, May 31, 2016, which said Governor Ortom had accused him (Suswam) of deliberately creating problems for his administration as he was about to leave government in 2015.
According to the report, Governor Ortom, who spoke in Makurdi on Monday, particularly accused his predecessor of causing the problems currently confronting his administration by allegedly looting the state’s treasury.
In a statement signed by the special assistant to the former governor, Mr. Terkaa Mamwoo, Suswam stated emphatically that his administration did not deliberately lay any landmines for the succeeding administration since his party, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, had a candidate who was hoping to take over from him, noting that he couldn’t therefore deliberately created hurdles on the way to make the succeeding administration fail.
“The much touted N140billion debt allegedly left behind by our administration exists only in the imagination of the governor who has continued to use the non-existent figure as a cover up for his ineptitude and administration’s lack-lustre performance,” the former governor said.
He said that the report of the probe panel instituted by the Ortom administration even acknowledged that the Suswam administration borrowed only N18billion from issuance of bonds, “so where did Governor Ortom get the figure of N140billion he has been peddling about?
“It is instructive to state that the Suswam administration did not divert N107billion as claimed by the probe panel report, as the administration applied the funds accruing to the state on provision of infrastructure. This explains why Governor Ortom is seeking refund of N6billion from the federal government being monies expended by the Suswam administration on federal roads. If the Suswam administration did not expend money on infrastructure, what then is the basis of Ortom’s claim of N6billion from the federal government?
“That said, it is most laughable that Governor Ortom would blame his current woes on a non-existent N140 billion allegedly left by the Suswam administration over a period of eight years during which he governed the state, while he sees nothing wrong in his administration borrowing over N56 Billion within the first six months in office without anything to show for it,” the statement posited.
It further noted that “the Law of equity demands that those who come before it must come with clean hands. Governor Ortom has clearly embarked on this campaign of calumny against me with dirty and soiled hands. My successor is, therefore, bound by the law of equity to first of all explain to the people of Benue State and justify the N56 billion loan already taken by him within one year in office and the money realised from multiple taxation his administration has imposed on the poor people of the state.
“He should also explain to the people how the N28billion bailout funds meant for payment of arrears of workers were applied and why the state’s civil servants are still owed over seven months salaries, even after the bailout was received from the federal government.
“Rather than blame himself for the obvious lack of grasp with the dynamics of contemporary governance, Governor Ortom has chosen to hold the erstwhile Suswam administration responsible for every current nightmare, including the menace of the herdsmen, kidnapping, cultism, dwindling revenue allocation to Benue and even the questionable spending of the N28billion bailout funds.”
He therefore advised Governor Ortom to be better guided to face the “inescapable challenges of leading a state like Benue and desist from his constant recourse to blame game and name-calling,” noting that continuing to do so would definitely rob the governor of the opportunity to deliver on his promises to the people.

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