With less than two years to the end of his two-tenures of eight years, the Tiv Youth Council Worldwide has charged Benue State Governor Samuel Ortom to present his legacies to the people of the state.
They alleged that after six years in office, the governor is unable to provide democratic dividends for the people of the state.
In a reaction to Ortom’s recent interview with Arise Television, the president of the group, Hon Mike Msuaan, feared that if the governor does not heed to the persistent calls on him by his group to change his style of leadership, the state must have wasted eight years by 2023.
In a press statement he issued in Abuja yesterday, Msuaan asked, “For a governor who has less than two years to leave, what legacies will Ortom be remembered for? Other governors are showcasing their achievements in government. Surprisingly, Governor Ortom appeared on Arise Television to simply blab and accept that his government owes workers and pensioners several months of salaries and pensions arrears. The governor’s public acceptance of owing salaries has vindicated us when we accused him of insensitivity and deliberate refusal to cater for the welfare of workers and pensioners.”
He said it was not true that Ortom had implemented the minimum wage for workers in the state and advised the governor not to make such claims because of the integrity that his office demands.
In a swift reaction, Governor Ortom said, “From our findings with the Tiv Traditional Council, the Tiv Youth Worldwide is an unknown organisation to the leadership of the Tiv Area Traditional Council and the state government has no record of their legitimacy.
“For this, we will not patronise their quest to sell their land to invaders. The group is populated by young men who are only concerned with what comes into their pockets because they are acting the script of their paymasters that have waged war against Benue State and the Benue people,” he said
The governor who spoke through his chief press secretary Nathaniel Ikyur said, “It is therefore not surprising to see them act in a manner that is inimical to the people they claim to be speaking for.”
But the Tiv group lamented that the hardship the people had gone through under the present administration, saying that after legitimate employees who were declared ghost workers and set up committees to ascertain the true wage bill of the state, nothing has changed, adding that “it is compelling to ask the governor, what is the wage bill of Benue State?”
While declaring that the group is not holding a brief for President Muhammadu Buhar, Musuaan said the prosecution of some aides of the governor by the ICPC makes the governor the wrong public officeholder to accuse the Nigerian leader of corruption.
The group charged the governor to account for the over N500 billion that accrued to the state as demanded by the Benue stakeholders in a press conference in Abuja, adding that the N8 billion the governor claimed to have recovered from monies misappropriated by his predecessor may have been re-looted.
Appraising the administration from 2015, Musuaan said at his inception, Ortom promised to build industries and revive the moribund ones.
He said almost seven years later, the governor has failed to “revive even one, let alone build an industry in the state. This is after wasting taxpayers’ monies on needles foreign trips in the name of attracting foreign investors to the state.
“We want to raise the alarm and call on the Benue stakeholders to rise up and stop Governor Ortom from destroying the state bequeathed to us by our heroes past. If this is not done, by 2023, the government of Ortom must have wasted eight years issuing press releases and won a gold medal for signing fruitless MoUs without any developmental projects to show in addition to a refusal to pay workers and pensioners.”