Ortom makes another shocking revelation on his exit from APC, Benue crisis [Full Text]

Benue State governor, Samuel Ortom has made another shocking
revelation on the reasons for his exit from the All Progressives
Congress, APC.

Ortom in a statewide broadcast on Wednesday, said contrary to the
rumours being peddled by his political enemies that his administration
had done nothing, he had embarked on monumental developmental projects
across the 23 LGAs of the state.

The full text of his speech below:

My dear good and patriotic People of Benue State.
I am sure you are aware of the recent political developments in our
State. I took time to address some of the issues in my phone in Radio
program and our meeting with the media community on Monday.

Our challenges are not over. The wave of illegality with impunity is
here with us. On Monday, the impeached speaker of the Benue state
House of Assembly, Hon. Terkimbi Ikyange, along with seven members of
All Progressives Congress (APC) in the house created a scandalous
scene.

They were escorted to the Assembly by heavily armed policemen in
several trucks to perpetrate the level of impunity we have never seen
before in this state. The mission appears to be the second phase of
the deliberate destabilization of our dear state after the Fulani
herdsmen concerted invasion, killings and destruction.
All these are coming under the veil of a plan to impeach some
opposition governors including the democratically elected governor of
Benue State. The ultimate objective of the grand conspiracy is the
destabilization of the entire Middle Belt and other parts of the
country for the purpose of conquest and occupation.

22 out of the 30 members of the State assembly sat and changed their
leadership. This is in accordance with the provisions of the
Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) as
well as the Standing Rules of the House.

The 22 members approached the Makurdi High Court, sought and obtained
an injunction restraining the former leaders from parading themselves
as leaders of the house. The restraining order also covered the police
and Department of State Services (DSS).

They were restrained from occupying the premises of the assembly and
interfering with members lawful duties. Both the impeached speaker who
was also suspended for six months, and other leaders mobilized the
police and blatantly disobeyed the court order.
In disobedience to the court order, the police prevented the 22
members from getting into the house premises while they escorted the 8
members right into the chambers for illegal sitting without the Clerk
or his Deputy. They did not also form a quorum for the sitting.

However, in that sitting, illegality became the order of the day.
These included the purported suspension of the 15 members and passing
a resolution to serve an impeachment notice on me. It is clear that
this impunity with illegality is dead on arrival. You can see the wide
spread condemnations, from President Muhammadu Buhari, right across
the country and beyond.

Having failed to achieve their anti-Benue objectives so far, the next
phase is likely to be the unleashing of massive Fulani militia to
embark on more devastating attacks and killings in the state. The most
unfortunate aspect is that some sons of the state including a serving
senator have been recruited and mobilized to lead this phase.

As I earlier alerted the people, EFCC is now probing the state
Security vote. So far, I am the only governor in Nigeria whose
Security vote is being investigated by EFCC. Recently, the
Presidential spokesman Mr. Femi Adesina, said on Channels Television
and I quote "I doubt, world over, if any government would come to say
this is how much we have spent on security, because can you quantify
the amount of one life? It is not something that any government will
begin to disclose".

Why should Benue case be different if not persecution? If the EFCC
wanted a genuine investigation of security vote spending they should
have started from the Presidency right across the 36 States. If their
focus was on Benue State they should have started from 1999. But this
is not the case.

With the enormous security challenges in the State since my assumption
of office it is surprising that any one would expect me to do nothing
but keep the security vote in the safe. The security vote spending
being investigated spans from 2015 to 2018, a period of grave security
challenges in the State. I reiterate that the investigation is a clear
case of persecution. I have not misappropriated, diverted or stolen
any money. I have nothing to hide. I assure that the investigators can
find nothing incriminating against me.

My dear Benue people, as your Governor, I swore to respect and protect
the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and that is what
I have been doing. Needless to say I have been performing my role
creditably well as governor. In spite of our challenges especially
insecurity instigated by Fulani herdsmen invasion and financial
crunch, we have constructed roads and bridges across the state. We
have mobilized Contractors to site on 11 roads, two of which have been
completed.

These are Oshigbudu-Obagaji and Zaki- Biam- Gbeji Roads. There is
ongoing work on several other roads including Origbo-Imande
Akpu-Gbajimba and Mobile Barracks-Yaikyo Roads. We have over 100
ongoing rural access roads with many of them completed, and 43
completed electricity projects with several still ongoing. We have 740
primary school projects with 60 percent completion. We have renovated
Secondary schools including Government Girls Secondary School and
GovernmentCollege both in Makurdi.

We have improved the facilities at the College of Health Sciences of
the Benue State University, Makurdi which led to the graduation of
five sets of 175 doctors after 12 years of stagnation. We have
renovated and re-opened the School of Nursing and Midwifery as well as
College of Health Technology Agasha which have now received full
accreditation and resumed academic activities.
In addition, it is worthy of note that our School of Nursing is now
affiliated to Benue State University as a degree awarding institution.
We have constructed 42 Primary Health Care Centres fully equipped and
handed over to communities and you are using them in your various
communities. Similarly, we have constructed Enterprise Development and
Innovation centers popularly called Skills Acquisition centers in
Gbajimba, Apa, Agila and Makurdi. All these are completed.

An ultra-modern Deputy Governor's Office has been completed and is
being occupied. In Partnership with International Development agencies
we have over 800 water schemes providing water in Benue communities.
In the area of education, health, poverty alleviation and
infrastructure, we have done well and it is left for you to judge.

In Agriculture and agro allied industries we have also performed
creditably well. We have made fertilizer easily available at
subsidized prices. We have renovated and equipped laboratories at
Akperan Orshi College of Agricuture, Yandev. Agricultural productivity
has improved. In partnership with the International Fund for
Agricultural Development (IFAD) we have developed 35 kilometres of
access roads in Five Local Governments and four Aggregation centres in
Logo, Guma, Gwer East and Ogbadibo.
We have completed Rice Processing Centres in Gwer East and Otukpo
Local Government Areas. We have also completed Garri Processing and
Packaging plants in Agatu and Ohimini Local Government Areas. We have
Sesame Seed Cleaning and Packaging plant in Oju, and we completed the
one in Daudu which was inherited from the past Adminstration. We have
Soyabean Cleaning and Packaging Plant in Wannune, Orange Cleaning,
Packaging and Juice making Factory in Ushongo and Yandev, Gboko. How
can anyone say we have not performed given our enormous challenges?

My challenge has been payment of salaries which is a result of the N69
Billion I inherited as arrears of salaries, pensions and gratuities as
well as another N70 Billion commitment on contracts and other
obligations. Benue State also has very low Internally Generated
Revenue (IGR) but has the third highest salary bill in the country.

It is surpassed by only Lagos and Rivers States. During the recession
we used two months allocation to pay one month. However, from January
this year, we have faithfully paid each month up to June and by next
week, July salaries will be paid. But for Benue State University
staff, their salaries are paid up to date. We have repeatedly assured
the Benue people that we are sourcing funds to pay arrears of
salaries, pensions and gratuity.
I will continue to do my best to pay because I know that a worker
deserves his wage. I have also directed the reinstatement of workers
who were wrongly included on the list of ghost workers. I am totally
committed to meeting the yearnings and aspirations of my people.
Democracy is nothing more than doing what majority of people want
their leaders to do.

May I call on all of you to resist any attempt by any person or group
of persons to destabilize our State. How can eight opposition members,
including the suspended former Speaker of the State House of Assembly,
suspend 22 members? Does this make sense? This is pure illegality and
impunity which must not be allowed. Yesterday, the police, acting on
"directives from above" also chased away staff of the Assembly who
reported for work. The action is flagrant flouting of a subsisting
court order. This is unacceptable.

I am calling on His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari, to protect
the democracy that brought him to power by directing the Police and
other security agencies to respect the rule of law for the survival of
democracy in Nigeria.

I say this because the President is the ultimate head of all security
agencies in the country. I call on our traditional and religious
leaders, civil society organizations, Mass media, Unions and all
people of conscience, who love democracy to help avert the emerging
impunity in our beloved state. Impunity is dangerous and destructive.
Its negative effects on people and institutions can be very far
reaching. If unchecked, its unexpected consequences will consume all,
including those deploying it as an instrument of power.

My fellow patriots. I have committed no crime. Today I am facing
persecution just because I love my people. I am being persecuted
because I am a true democrat. I am giving you concrete dividends of
democracy. You asked for the Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranches
Establishment Law 2017 to regulate the relationship between farmers
and herders in the State which I obliged.

Now that the Ranching Law is in place, the enemies of our State are
out to harass and blackmail us. I assure you that we will not be
deterred. What exactly is wrong in asking the people of Benue to ranch
their cattle? The world is not waiting for us. If we don't ranch now,
we will be forced to do so soon because there will be no land to
practice open grazing anywhere in Nigeria.

What is wrong in changing party? When I left PDP some years ago to
join APC, I was exercising my democratic rights. I have left APC back
to PDP where I served for over 12 years at various times as executive
committee member. I left as a Minister in the PDP government and
joined APC but I was not persecuted.

Permit me to call on you, my dear people of Benue state to remain
prayerful, calm, and law abiding. As I have always told you "Though
the giants may be on the way to hinder, God will surely give us
victory".

Long live the Federal Republic of Nigeria,
Long Live Benue State,
Long live the good people of Benue State.

Thank you.

No comments

Disclaimer: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the comment writers alone and does not reflect or represent the views of TITOPE BLOG.

Powered by Blogger.