Yesterday, October 16, Governor Samuel Ortom called sons and daughters of Benue State to a stakeholders’ meeting at the Banquet Hall of the People’s House, Makurdi, where he delivered the address below.
In this presentation, we deliver the raw and unprocessed excerpts of his speech and the responses from prominent sons and daughters of the state.
*My cabinet and appointees: I alway emphasize, if you want to make money, resign now and join business. In my government, it is a call to services.
*For those, who seek to know why our probe is not extended to 1999 to cover George Akume, the answer is simple: we did not receive hand over notes from George Akume, but Suwam. We therefore are not privy to handover notes from Akume.
*I have enquired from my colleague in Plateau State, and he said his salary wage bill is about N1.8billion. Surprisingly, Benue that was created out of same Benue Plateau has a wage bill of over N3billion. So clearly there is something wrong. People have died, some resigned or retired but the salary bill keeps rising. This justifies the necessity for the currently ongoing staff audit.
*To save civil servants from starvation, the President graciously approved a bail out loan for us, and I announce to you that we have received alert of N28billion Naira. This money is dedicated strictly to payment of salaries. The NLC, and all allied labour unions are involved in the disbursement.
*I am glad to inform you that we in Benue State have adopted Treasury Single Account (TSA).
*Resolution of disputes in the Benue State University did not just happen. We dialogued critically to come to amicable resolution.
*Peace Between farmers and herdsmen was also realized through consultations and commitment of State Security Committee put in place.
*Amnesty is one of the promises I made during my inauguration speech. We took proactive steps and with the gracious approval of Mr. President. I am happy to announce to you that, with the efforts of the clergy and traditional rulers, we have recorded and collected over 400 Arms and thousands of ammunition. We intend to train them after the amnesty retreat coming up soon.
*On fertilizer distribution, let me inform you that we met thousands of sand packed bags kept in the ministry of Agriculture in the guise of fertilizer. However, we have done well to procure fertilizers to our farmers and we hope to start earlier next year.
*We have restored confidence in government to stave off the hitherto existing aparthy. When we say No, our No is No. We are not a government of lies and liars.
*On Abubakar Tsav allegation on Gbajimba-Uni-Agric Road, every one knows that road was contracted to Doyin Okupe’s company, which I have no business with. However, with the gravity of his allegation, I have informed my lawyers to take appropriate action so he can make available the facts at his disposal.
*On the Benue Development Plan, I am glad that today I stand here to unveil to you our draft plan, “Our Collective Vision For A New Benue”. Study it critical and make inputs as we shall reconvene in 2 weeks period.
Thank you and God bless.
Abu King Shuluwa, speaking on behalf of PDP …
The PDP are very happy with you. The original PDP that I represent are very happy with you for this 100 Days so far.
We agree we made a mistake, but Your Excellency, we are watching you, if you make the same mistake of the past, we shall give you the opposition you have never imagined.
Parties should be separated from government. If you call a meeting, it should be for Benue people and not APC. Your Excellency, kudos to. But for now, anybody hiding under PDP to say bad things about this government is not a member of my PDP – the original PDP.
On corruption, you are doing well. Any body who has stolen Benue money should be made to bring back the money. If Jack Tilley Gyado has for instance taken Benue money, he should be made to bring back the money.
A lot of PDP members are here, and we are watching you, if you go at stray we will deal with you ruthlessly.
Ada Chenge Speaking on behalf of Former Governorship Aspirants …
On behalf of all of us who contested, we are praying for you. Now that you have called us to contribute, we really appreciate. We want to give you our support and shall continuously call our supporters to support you.
I call on His Excellency to be more gender sensitive.
Prof. Justin Tseayo …
I wish Your Excellency took over from George Akume. What you have presented before us is a similar concept to his. A concept. A poor man is not the man without food but the man without a dream. Your Excellency, you took over a Benue with empty treasury but you took over also a Benue rich in resources. What is expected is to advance the concept of a Food Basket. That is our destination. It seems Benue State is politics times 7 days times 4 Months times 12; it shouldn’t be so. People should find something to do. Benue does not need a Tiv governor or Igede governor or Idoma governor. What we need is A Benue governor.
Jack Gyado speaking …
I am not surprised that if you have a head of the fish that is rotten, the whole fish will be rotten. Our leader Senator George Akume is behind you. Your Excellency, it is difficult to shoot down a humble man. You have demonstrated humility right here before every Benue person here. Please continue in that spirit. I tell you it is very rare that good will give money and leadership. You have chosen to be a leader and not a money monger.
Lawrence Onoja Speaking …
We are here to encourage Samuel Ortom, and he is doing well so far. All those found guilty of corruption should not only return them but also go to jail.
I commend your amnesty programme. You are doing very well.
Barnabas Gemade speaking … This is the beginning of a new era. Running an inclusive govern is what is more important to me. . When you are not running an inclusive government so many people are locked out. The first step is to ensure what out to be in the kitchen is brought back. Taxation must be step up and good use of tax payers money’s will encourage the people to pay.
George Akume … Speaking
I join my brothers and sisters to commend you, Your Excellency. The issue of education should be taken very seriously. Our public schools must be given the needed attention to do away with the surge of miracle Centres..
differences without division and brotherlines must be encouraged in the face of competition. When the governor goes wrong, you must correct him.