Saturday, September 5, was exactly 100 days since Dr. Samuel Ortom took the oath of office as Benue State Governor. His four-year term has 1,461 days and 100 days are only 6.8 per cent of it.
Though it has almost become a global convention to assess the achievements of an administration, particularly in a democracy, in its first 100 days, nobody really expects any fundamental accomplishment in so short a time.
What is indisputable, however, is that 100 days is long enough to lay the foundation of an administration and sketch policy.
So, while it may be morning yet on creation day, there are certain milestones that ought to be achieved. These milestones say a lot about the preparedness of a new regime to face the challenges of governance.
Thus for an administration that inherited a system characterized by corruption, indiscipline, decay, insecurity, protracted industrial actions, deficit treasury, unstable payment of workers salaries, etc, it was considered as major achievements for Governor Ortom to have commenced payment of full salaries to workers, ensured reopening of Benue State University, after successfully negotiating lecturers back to work from strike.
There is more that the governor recorded within his first 100 days. Ongoing massive renovation of School of Nursing and Midwifery for re-accreditation, full accreditation of the College of Health Sciences of the Benue State University for five years, resumption of pumping of water in Otobi and Katsina-Ala as well as ongoing construction of laboratories at the College of Agriculture, Yandev, were among the achievements by the governor in the period under review.
Similarly, to enhance educational structure, particularly public schools that are experiencing infrastructural decay, Governor Ortom secured N5billion loan to pay counterpart fund to enable international aid agencies contribute additional N7billion totaling about N12billion towards revamping educational institutions in the state.
Aside that and in the area of security of life and property, Governor Ortom ensured that the alleged notorious criminal Terwase Akwaza, aka Ghana, surrender. And with the promise by Ghana to persuade his minions to embrace Governor Ortom’s declared Amnesty, peace was restored in the state, being one of the governor’s major promise at the swearing in: to reconcile the state and restore peace, absence of which development will not be possible.
Also, Governor Ortom-led administration, within the period under review, paid N20million compensation to Mbakyaa community to enable AIT to be sited there, as a way to enhance development through private sector investment in the state.
Within the period, Governor Ortom ensured the commencement of the upgrade of facilities at the permanent NYSC camp in Wannune, release of funds for the completion of the House of Assembly Complex and resumption of work on the Daudu-Gbajimba Road.
The list is not exhaustive besides the return of development partners to the state and rekindling of confidence in governance.
So, though the administration does not believe in a 100-day assessment, the foregoing landmark achievements, despite the common knowledge that Governor Ortom inherited huge debt, a terribly bad economy and a system characterized by insecurity, corruption and gross indiscipline, he has signified his commitment to driving his campaign promises to fruition.
His emergence as the fifth civilian governor of the state had raised a lot of expectations from the people. No doubt, Ortom has opened the floodgate of opportunities, economic emancipation, and massive participation in politics.
On assumption of office and with his landmark achievements in the three months so far in office, Ortom has displayed that he is ready and determined to lift the ‘Food Basket of the Nation’ to become a haven for foreign investors and place of unlimited economic breakthrough and activities.
(Special Assistant to Commissioner for Information and Orientation on Media/ICT)