2nd Term Declaration: The Ground Swell Of Support For The Open Grazing Prohibition Law Is Not The Same As The Voice Of God


By Chris Tion

On the warm beautiful Thursday morning of 9th November 2017, several gaily dressed people, most of them in branded attires, trooped to the Benue State Government House, ok, Benue People’s House, to keep an appointment with the Benue State Governor, His Excellency, Dr Samuel Ortom.

The sole purpose of the appointment was to endorse him for a second term in office. After warmly receiving them and listening to their “request”, Ortom obliged them and went further to tell them that his second term ambition is divinely ordained.

The timing of this spectacle was deliberate. It was meant to ride on the crest of an elixir of positive press that the Ortom administration has enjoyed following the take-off of the Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranches Establishment Law.

To the casual onlooker, it seems proper, even a political masterstroke of sorts, that the governor, who has had to endure a torrid time in the court of public opinion, due to several unforced gaffes of his, would for once revel, in what is arguably his brightest moment in office thus far.

A closer look, however, shows the hollowness of this line of thought. It is fraught with several negatives, and it leaves much to be desired.

For one, it smacks of crass opportunism. Grabbing the glory of the law which was forged with the blood of several sons, daughters and children of Benue is cheap, even immoral. Don’t forget that the initial proponents of this law were not welcomed by this government. It took a lot of pressure following the incessant shedding of innocent Benue blood for the government to succumb. Now, instead of nursing the law’s implementation at this teething stage, the governor has jumped to the gallery celebrating the passage of the law as the very end to the travails of the Benue people, rather than a means to the end.

Again, by clinging to the success of the implementation of the law as his ticket to a second term, the Governor is politicizing an innocuous situation which could end up jeopardizing the very lives of the millions of indigenes the law seeks to protect. This is because, in a bid to show off the implementation of the law as successful, negatives that could likely emanate from it (nothing is ever perfect) will be hushed up to portray a picture of perfection. Propaganda, cover-ups, etc, such as currently obtains at the national level regarding Boko Haram, will be in play and the innocent Benue people would be the worst for it.

Finally, officially kicking off the campaign for the 2019 elections (that is what the rally was about) at the time and manner in which the governor did, simply means that the affairs of government which have been at the nadir, will yet be relegated in favour of political wheeling and dealing, to the detriment of the already pulverized populace. On Thursday many commissioners and several senior civil servants abandoned their offices to be part of the endorsement rally. You may count the cost.

Your Excellency sir now is the time for governing a people in dire need of the basic necessities of life that keeps eluding them. This is not the time to keep governance in abeyance. By doing so you are arresting our development.

You heard God’s divine “call,” but you have hardened your heart to the cries of your people. There is still a lot of work you should rather be doing than campaigning for a second term. Ecclesiastes 3:1 is unequivocal; “There is a time for everything and a season for every activity under the heavens.”

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