Opinion: Samuel Ortom, Terrorism In Benue State And Other Matters – By MICHAEL APEH
The seemingly extra ambitious governor of Benue state, His Excellency Samuel Ortom may be gold in the eyes of many, but let us remember the ever correct and tested statement; ‘not all that glitters is gold’.
Terrorism, foreign trips and absenteeism from important meetings regarding issues staring the state in its face is the style of governance adopted by the governor.
If we can remember, the notorious king of the forest popularly known as ‘Gana’ was kept far away from Benue state in the previous administration of Suswam, only to surface from the forests of Taraba/Cameroon when he was invited by the power thirsty political animals to deliver their party APC in the April 2015 elections.
Senator George Akume and Barnabas Gemade contracted Gana with the promise of a seat in the house of Assembly, which would be reserved for one of Gana’s several wives. Fair enough deal if you ask me, but was the promise kept? NO.
To compensate the now angry, wild and dreaded Gana, The new governor of Benue State handed Gana the cash cow of the state: Agriculture. Gana collected revenue of N30, 000,000.00 monthly from agric produce and remitted about N10, 000,000.00 to the state. Everyone was happy until things went south. Now his Excellency Governor Ortom wants Gana dead.
You may wonder why the romance between the governor and Gana went sour, but the reasons are not far-fetched.
After heavily empowering Gana with office of the Special assistant to the governor on security and giving him two pickup loads of security men to guard him day and night, His Excellency has suddenly realized that Gana knows too much of his killing and shady deals.
Let us also critically look at the issue of amnesty in Benue state.
For the purpose of curiosity, one would wonder if His Excellency Governor Samuel Ortom can let everyone know how much this whole Amnesty Sham cost.
You ask people/militants to surrender their arms with the promise of a better future, which is yet to be redeemed after so many months. Can we then ask what happened to the funds allocated for this course?
Where are the recovered arms?
His Excellency picked out Gana, empowered him with so much money to buy new-sophisticated arms, and left the other militants hanging.
Now in a desperate bid to Silence him, a rival group from Abaji was commissioned and paid heavily which led to the killing of 12 out of 13 men who were in a meeting strategizing on how to get Gana. Till date we are yet to find out who carried out those killings, but the answers definitely lie in the hands of Governor Ortom and Tewase (Gana).
In two years, so many of the Governors cronies have been arraigned and charged with murder cases, for example the special adviser on special duties- Joe Kyaagba who served three months in jail and was bailed by His Excellency and still standing trial.
Another sad issue I want my people to look at is Ortom and the award of contracts in Benue State. In a country where corruption is the order of the day and sincerity for fools, it shouldn’t be a surprise that the number one man of a state awards himself contracts meant for the good of the citizens, but then again for how long do we intend to continue like this?
We would expect that with the current song of change filling our airwaves, the Governor of Benue state will at least lead by example, but No, the reverse is the case.
In July 2015 His Excellency Governor Samuel Ortom awarded a contract of N540, 000,000.00 to Oracle Business limited for the supply of 30 units of Toyota Prado jeeps for the government house.
Can we ask who owns Oracle Business Limited? Can it be the same company His Excellency set up with N2, 000,000.00 a couple of years back?
Not stopping there, the insatiable governor went ahead to award a N4.7 Billion road contract to M/S Tongyi new international construction company Limited, a company supposedly owned by his Private secretary, Mr. Stephen Amase.
The payments made to Mr. Amase’s company were done without payment of the mandatory 10% handling charge.
It may interest you to know that this same company was registered in August 2015 with Ruth Amase, Dooshima, Sedoo, Tavershima, and Wuese Amase as its Directors.
We also gathered that all printers in Benue state have refused to pay tax to the state government for lack of patronage, thanks to Oracle business limitedd who gets all the printing jobs and more.
On a final note, let us remember that those who the gods want to punish, they first make mad.
Michael Apeh wrote this piece from Makurdi, Benue State.