There have been a public outcry and outright condemnation as news broke yesterday that the outgoing Benue State Governor, Gabriel Suswam donated eight SUVs worth over 150 million naira to the Governor-Elect Dr Samuel Ortom, his Deputy-Elect Engr Benson Abounu and their wives.
Many wondered why Gov Suswam who claimed the state treasury was depleted which is why state public servants are being owed several months salary and why there is a halt in project executions, will have so much funds to prosecute failed election bids for both himself and his stooge, with left over to buy these expensive exotic cars.
Others felt Dr Samuel Ortom’s acceptance of the said “donation” was an act of compromise to cover Suswam’s dirty tracts after he leaves office, but we have gathered that this was another plot by the self-acclaimed black cat of Anyiin to vilify and elicit opprobrium from the public against the incoming government to make the duo look very bad in the eyes of the public.
Gov Suswam did it with so much flourish, making it coincide with Dr Ortom’s 54th birthday and in the presence of the press as to suggests that it was donation for their private use or as gifts.
However, what is true and the reality was that those SUVs already belonged to the Benue State Government. They were never Suswam’s to donate as he said, to smoothen the transitional arrangement. Our sources revealed that they were actually meant to be the official vehicles of the incoming Government as protocol demands. The outgoing government normally hands over these accoutrements of office quietly and without much fanfare.
Senator George Akume didn’t do much fanfare when he handed over. Every other state is doing it without much noise either. That Suswam has made a meal out of it suggests smacks of desperation and an attempt to seize the narrative. He is trying to show that the new government is not any different from his.
Suswam’s second tenure has been marred by inability to pay workers wages for upwards of 5-6 months including those of pensioners. Many public analysts have called on him to focus on those issues rather than resort to old tricks.