The fallouts from report of the Justice Elizabeth Kpojime Judicial Commission of Inquiry which Governor Samuel Ortom has reportedly gazetted alongside the issuance of a White Paper with jet speed evidently makes any close watcher of events inside the Middle Belt state wonder if the present administration is not embarking on a vindictive mission for some set goals.
But whatever those goals may be, I mince no words in declaring that they are not for the general good of Benue State and its good people. If anything, it is a reminder of the mindlessness that politics with bitterness brings. It can be as gripping as it can be blinding; it can be misleading as it is mischievous even as it leaves the development of the state in a state of perpetual anomie.
With the myriad of challenges being faced by the people of the state, governed by an administration that has chosen to distract itself from its mandate, there is no doubt that Benue State would be worse off by 2019 should Governor Ortom continue in this wide and weird fantasy. While on the one hand, the theatrics of the Ortom administration remind one of the typical Nollywood home video film that teaches no morals at the end of the day, to more equipped audience, it is a reminisce of Lamb’s Tales from Shakespeare, the English children’s book written by Charles Lamb and his sister Mary Lamb in 1807 to make the stories of William Shakespeare’s plays familiar to the young. Mary Lamb was responsible for the comedies, while Charles wrote the tragedies. That is the level Ortom has reduced governance to. The following details will confound many…
Fallouts of Commission’s report
I was among the select media editors that visited the Makurdi Ultra-Modern market, the Greater Makurdi water works and the turnaround of Aper Aku Stadium during the Gabriel Suswam administration. We took time to ask the different contractors on site then questions on due diligence, approvals and payments for the projects.
I can recall that from the answers we got, that the State Executive Council approved the contracts and they have since been executed. These are physical structures that are largely visible to anyone who cares to locate them. The same goes for the market project which had been completed and shops allocated. Also, I am aware that some state companies like Benue Breweries, Agro Millers and Yuteco Foods Limited were sold by previous administrations. Perhaps, Ortom can ask his latter day benefactor, Senator George Akume on these.
Furthermore, the omission of Ben Plastic Company which was leased to Ortom by his predecessor’s administration before the former became governor is seen by many observers as a deliberate effort by Ortom’s Commission of Inquiry to scapegoat Suswam. The omission of Oracle Farms belonging to Ortom which benefitted from a N1billion Commercial Agriculture Credit Loan Scheme underscores the foregoing.
If as an outsider, that is a non-resident of Benue state I can fault the Kpojime Judicial Commission of Inquiry report on the foregoing grounds, it remains to be seen if very many observers within the state will not have every cause to doubt and even puncture the report in its entirety.
To me (and I think all well-meaning Benue people), the Commission’s report and consequent reports are only fit for the Makurdi Government House thrash bin. Insofar as its intention is not in doubt since it is anything but patriotic, it presents the governor and the various dramatis personae that are behind it all as people out for some self-serving agenda.
Agatu killing fields, other controversies
Right now, the feeling of disorientation and alienation from the hitherto peaceful Agatu land caused by the razing of no fewer than ten communities with over 500 lives lost to recent hostilities is unprecedented. Coupled with the perceived absence of social or moral support from the Ortom administration, I join millions of fellow Nigerians in holding that the Agatu killing field could not have happened by accident. From the various reports, it bears the markings of a planned and orchestrated genocide against his people of Agatu.
Otherwise, how do you account for the fact that what is left of a hitherto boisterous Agatu communities of Aila, Akwu, Adagbo, Okokolo, Ugboju, Odugbeho, Ogbaulu, Egba and Obagaji are the debris of the wreckage, with all the primary and post primary schools, health centres, worship centres as well as the police station in the area burnt down?
And, despite all the foregoing which should give the chief security officer of any state sleepless nights, Ortom like Nero, chose to look the other side in pursuit of some imaginary political enemies.
When the death of the late paramount ruler of Tiv tribe in Benue state who was also Tor Tiv, Dr Alfred Akawe Torkula was announced, the governor, most unfortunately was undiplomatic in managing the news break.
As a prince of Edo land, I can boast of knowledge of certain protocols in announcing the passing on of a royalty. You do not go on national television to announce a hear-say on the demise of a monarch. For Ortom, it was a case of he had heard the news, but he was awaiting the Tiv traditional council members to arrive from Gboko to brief him before he could confirm the incident. What happened to the time-tested protocol principle of silence on such matters till you are sure of what you want to say?
The list is endless, just as the very many controversies surrounding the governor are. However, methinks what Benue people need now include but not limited to a healthy, secure and prosperous future devoid of security threats and politics of bitterness. Playing the voice of Jacob and hand of Esau politics as Ortom currently deems fit will not guarantee the foregoing for the state. A stitch right now will help a lot.