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APC carpets PDP, says Ortom has betrayed Benue

The Benue Chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has stated that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) administration led by Governor Samuel Ortom has failed the people.

This was stated on Thursday by the Chairman-elect of APC Comrade Austin Agada while addressing a press conference in Makurdi.

Agada, also called on all officials of Ortom administration to resign.

Comrade Agada said: “We are greatly dismayed the manner at which Governor Samuel Ortom and his few supporters have been clutching at straws to foist the reasons for his legendary poor performance as Governor on the Leader of our party in Benue, Senator George Akume, Minister of Special Duties and Intergovernmental Affairs.

“These attacks on our leader have been brewed consistently over time and intermittently unleashed on him with great mischief.”

He added: “We may have tolerated this bashing for so long, the Governor has again embarked on a dangerous campaign of calumny, trying so desperately to run down the towering profile of Senator Akume, who is one of the very few Nigerian past governors without criminal records”.

He alleged the  target of the campaign of calumny, is to Senator George Akume who is eyeing the chairmanship of the APC.

He said: “Let it be known to all APC faithful and the whole world that the fraud allegation currently leveled against Senator Akume by Ortom and his government is clearly an act of political witch-hunt, why conjure a haphazard probe report  about the Akume administration of many years now, same government had leveled 107 billion naira allegation against the Gabriel Suswams administration but later nullified same; will the same government not overrule itself tomorrow over these frivolous reports that seek to indict Senator Akume today.”

“Those of us who are conversant with operations of the present day Benue State Government, this is merely another diversionary tactics, this administration has a history of raising unfounded claims and excuses, each time money comes into the state.

“The day it was confirmed that  the federal government has made available  another tranche of over 18 Billion Naira bailout to Benue State, Ortom has become strangely more loquacious and hostile, not just to his benefactor, Senator Akume, but also to the Benue civil servants and pensioners that he has refused to pay their salaries and pensions; the internally displaced persons that he has described as thieves stealing his cassava from the farm and now, rudely referring to all Benue people as drunkards who idly start drinking as early as 9am daily, till dawn which you all know cannot be the true identity of the Benue people who have been known over the years as very hard working and great farmers.

“It is regrettable that rather than employ Benue people, the Ortom administration has perfidiously sacked thousands of youths (BIRS interns) that were absorbed into the Benue State civil service by his predecessor; he has also sacked many other civil servants as ghost workers without employing others, an act that has skyrocketed the rate of unemployment in the state.

“Despite all the sacks, the salary wage bill of Benue under his administration has rather climbed to over 7 billion naira, based on his claims. In all fairness, what has Ortom done to take the Benue man off the street and alcohol in the last 6 years of his administration? What has been the social intervention programme of his administration when businesses are rather closing down in Benue due to multiple taxations?

“The governor ought to have been ashamed that despite his deliberate impoverishment of the state, his subject could still afford a bottle of beer to sip and forget their poverty and misery.”

“Never for once has Benue State been this stagnant in terms of policy framework and development. No sector of the state economy seems to be working. State workers are currently owed about 7 months arrears of salary in Benue, primary school teachers and local government staff are owed for over one year while pensioners are still owed for over 32 months, not to mention their gratuities.

Benue farmers are denied farm inputs to boost their food production while farming in Benue remains at the subsistence level in this modern age.

We wish to establish sufficiently that the present Benue State Government lacks the capacity and basic ideas on how best to develop the state and should not be allowed another chance to succeed itself. It is on this note that we reiterate our earlier call on all officials of the Ortom administration to resign and live their lives, rather than continue to smile while suffering and deceiving themselves that they are in government. We have equally uncovered his plans to appoint more “Suffering Special Assistants (SSAs)” for the sake of elections that are fast approaching and we can only sympathise with those helpless victims that may be named eventually.

“We call on the governor to face squarely, the herculean task of governance before him in the exiting phase of his administration and avoid the careless affront on President Muhammadu Buhari, Senator George Akume and the suffering population of Benue state that he has already branded happily as drunkards. For now, history has recorded that the Ortom administration is the worst that Benue State.

But, in his reaction, the state PDP Publicity Secretary, Mr.Bemgba Iortyom, said ”  the position of Benue PDP that Akume should do the honourable needful by availing himself to answer to those cases of financial crimes so unearthed against him by the audit rather than resorting to sponsoring press conferences.

In a press statement signed by Bemgba Iortyom and made available to The Nation on Wednesday, the state PDP Publicity Secretary stated that

“The APC in Benue state is crying  wolf about the audit report being a witch-hunt is totally immaterial as the due process of law requires him to prove his innocence before a competent authority when called upon to do so.

The fact that Akume is nursing ambition to run for any office anywhere in the world does not confer on him immunity from accounting for his stewardship at previous offices he held, said the PDP spokes man.

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