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Ortom: My government Ensured Equity And Fairness In Benue State

The outgoing governor stated that while there were a few hitches, he did not fail to do what was right by the citizens of the state.

Samuel Ortom, the governor of Benue State has said, while putting his tenure in view, that he has done the best that he can for Benue State.

Mr Ortom, who was interviewed by ARISE News on Friday, spoke in response to the newly elected governor, Hyacinth Alia, who accused him of leaving Benue in an indebted situation, where arrears of salaries, pensions and gratuities were still being owed to the workers. To this effect, Ortom said, “Since I came in, the civil service has not been on strike, and there must be a reason for them understanding with me why they should not go on strike, because my government has been transparent and ensured equity and fairness in all things that we do in Benue State” 

The governor then claimed that although he had applied to the Federal Government for the funds to pay off the arrears owed, while he had received approval from the President and the Ministry of Finance, the Central Bank of Nigeria was yet to release the funds to him. He then said that despite this setback, they had been committed to paying the salaries and pensions of the citizens of the state. “When he comes in, it will be his duty to settle all the challenges that he told the people he was going to solve, and I think he should concentrate himself more in attending to those things,” he said regarding Alia.

Ortom then spoke about the economy of Benue State, saying that while the state had tried to improve their Internally Generated Revenue (IGR), the main problem the state faced was security, saying, “We brought people that we felt will be able to add value and make things work for us in Benue state to improve on the IGR, unfortunately… the challenge was the issue of security.” He remarked that out of 23 Local Government Areas, 18 were under the siege of terrorists. He then admitted that it had made it difficult for the state, who is known to be the Food Basket Of The Nation, to generate revenue as there was no stability for the people, who are commonly farmers, to do their jobs and better the economy. 

As regards losing his senatorial bid, he said, “My losing the senatorial bid does not really matter to me.” He then said that although he had a case, he withdrew it, as he was only concerned with peace in Benue State. Ortom said that he was satisfied as long as presidency was shifted from the North to the South, which is what he fought for along with several other governors. He then said that he was working on providing a seamless transition on the 29th of May in order to ensure a peaceful period for the citizens of Benue State.

Ozioma Samuel-Ugwuezi