- Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue has explained that those he described as lazy drunkards earlier were APC members in Benue
- The explanation was made on Saturday, November 27, through the governor's chief press secretary, Nathaniel Ikyur
- Governor Ortom's outburst was not unconnected to the increasing criticisms of his administration by Benue residents
Makurdi - The Benue state government has identified those Governor Samuel Otom lashed and referred to as lazy drunkards in his outburst on Friday, November 26.
Daily Trust newspaper had quoted Ortom as saying some of them usually start drinking from the early hours of the day until dusk.
However, an explanation from Ortom's chief press secretary, Nathaniel Ikyur, on Saturday, November 27, indicated that the governor's remarks were directed at members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state.
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“We wish to state categorically that the news, especially the caption is a completely mischievous misrepresentation and an attempt to ridicule the person of the governor,” the statement reads.
“The Governor was clear that most Benue people know and do appreciate the great developmental strides he is doing for them. He regretted that some of those who insult, blackmail, or castigate him unnecessarily, specifically are a few and from the opposition All Progressives Congress, APC who sit in beer parlours for long hours and have conditioned their minds to malign him no matter how much he has done.
“He was clear how these APC supporters do that without cogent or issue-based criticisms but simply out of mischief. He was also clear that critics of his administration should offer constructive criticisms as he does to the federal government."
Ortom had said that instead of his critics to be diligent like some ethnic groups resident in the state, they rather choose to castigate him.
The governor was said to have made the remarks when he commissioned a mega Pentecostal Church in Makurdi, the Benue state capital.
“If you go round Makurdi town, our people start drinking beer from 9 am and some from there, they will go to sleep and they come back and insult the governor for not helping them to add value to their lives.
“Every new building that you see in Benue state, they say that it’s Samuel Ortom that is building; he is stealing and doing that.
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“In politics, people say a lot of things: blackmail, insults and intimidation, you face all sorts of things no matter what you do with the people, they always find something around.”
The governor, however, posited that Benue is God’s own state and urged the people to holdfast their God-given talents by being faithful in what they do as he emphasised the need for them to always learn to work with God.
Tiv Youth Council describes Ortom as the worst governor in Benue's history
Recall that the Tiv Youth Council Worldwide recently declared that the administration of Ortom will go down as the worst in the history of Benue and will remain the darkest and inglorious years of the state's evolution.
The group made the statement in reaction to comments by Governor Ortom that the Buhari administration is worse than past military regimes in Nigeria.
The statement which was signed by the president of the Tiv Youth group Hon. Mike Msuaan, and sent to Legit.ng on Tuesday, November 2, stated that instead of building the needed synergy like other governors with the federal government, Governor Ortom has continued his blame game.
Benue pensioners continue to groan under Ortom's administration
Meanwhile, the National Union Coalition of Aggrieved Pensioners in Benue recently threatened to engage in massive protests that will shut down the state if the Ortom-led government fails to address the plight of its members.
The chairman of the union, Comrade Akosu Orban, said out of the 33 months arrears owed pensioners in the state, only six months was inherited from the previous administration.
The union also wondered how N700 million the state government says it releases monthly as claimed by the governor is being spent, stressing that the number of months owed them keeps rising.