We read with disbelief the statement put out on behalf of the governor of Benue State, Samuel Ortom, by his Adviser on Media, Terver Akase. Instead of addressing issues raised by the Honourable Chairman of the APC, Comrade Austin Agada, it is riddled with cheap insults unbecoming of the governor of Benue State; a symptom of how cheapened the governorship of Benue has become in the hands of the Ortom-led PDP administration. An absolute manifestation of exactly what the chairman complained about in the first place.
We are not pigs. We do not relish swimming in the muddy and smelling waters of gutters as they do, as this would be a disservice to the great people of Benue, instead, we would set the record straight as set out hereunder.
Comrade Austin Agada, the honourable Chairman of our great party, the Benue APC, is a household name in Ogbadibo, nay Benue, and a unionist of repute. He is a man who is loved and widely supported by his people across Ogbadibo and beyond. It is disingenuous for the Governor to claim that such a man could be lynched in his primary constituency, Ogbadibo. We challenge anyone with such evidence of his photo or video to bring it forward. If Agada, who hails from Owukpa in Ogbadibo local government, contested the election in 2019 against 8 sons and a daughter of Otukpa, within their backyard in the headquarters of Ogbadibo(Otukpa), emerged victorious and was widely celebrated by all, why should anyone now thinks or says otherwise? Austin Agada remains a man that has distinguished himself and remains loved by partisans in other political parties, he has never been accosted talkless of beaten, and can not, even in the nearest future. PDP and its rumour-generating machine raked up from their imagination a lynching incident to smear the character of the great people of Ogbadibo by painting them as criminals. An endeavour in which they failed woefully. We are surprised that the Governor took this rumour as facts without evidence. We are even more surprised that he is relishing violence supposedly visited on a person in his state. The governor seems to revel in bilious outbursts of ferity; a measure of how far governance has fallen in Benue.
It is a lesson in mischief for Governor Ortom to compare his servility to Governor Wike of Rivers State to the relationship that blossomed between our revered Aper Aku, Senator George Akume, and their counterparts, Melford Okilo and Dr Peter Odili respectively. Theirs were relationships born of mutual respect and equality, not like the master-servant relationship that we see on display between Governor Ortom and Governor Wike. Some perspective would suffice here.
For one, the Governor has acknowledged on more than one occasion that he belongs to the ‘Wike’s Group”, a rag-tag political group whose directions are dictated according to the whims and caprices of Governor Wike. In not so many words, his political direction is under the control of Wike. He is no longer his own man. This is glaring even to a 10-year-old infant.
For two, Governor Ortom now runs Benue state from Portharcourt. Ortom’s peregrinations to Portharcourt this month alone is more than the number of times Senator Akume ever visited Rivers during his entire term as Governor of Benue State. We have been coerced, as Benue people, to hide our heads in the sand among our peers. It is not a pretty sight seeing the governor of our state carousing in Portharcourt almost daily and taking on the job of a personal Aide to Governor Wike while abandoning his state except to hold partisan meetings at the People’s House to berate his party members for not following him to do Wike’s biddings. It is not surprising that the talk in Portharcourt now is that Governor Ortom has taken over the job of the Chief of Staff to Wike, an opprobrium directed at the people of Benue instigated by Governor Ortom’s shameless turn in Rivers.
But they are not equal, are they? Ortom is a cheap copy vying to rub off the shine of Governor Wike. He seeks to bask in his glory. This is why he has shamelessly forsworn his mandate and transmuted into Wike’s aide. He wants the public to forget that he owns workers, and pensioners, a record 73 months’ wages, pensions, and gratuities. He wants the public to associate him with the infrastructural strides of Wike. That’s why he stood, unabashedly and without a tinge of irony, on a podium in Rivers and claimed that he had been the best infrastructural governor of Benue when he is a total failure. His idea of road construction is spending billions of borrowed naira to pour tar and chippings on roads only for them to be washed away by rain. Ortom failings are so grave in other sectors that it would take a whole treatise to list them. If anything, he has set back Benue for aeons. It will take some doings by his successor to wash this stink away from Benue.
It is true that as a transparent democratic party, we had disagreements arising from primaries which is to be expected of highly competitive races with much at stake. Nevertheless, these issues are being resolved by the courts. So far 8 judgements have been entered in favour of our party, the APC, by courts of competent jurisdiction in the conduct of its primaries thus putting to rest all the lies churned up by the PDP to smear the conduct of our primaries. Indeed it was the best, transparent, opened to every member of the party and done with machine-like efficiency unlike the imposition on the PDP by the estranged chairman from Abuja. No wonder Governor Ortom in fear of candidates that emerged from that process continued to cry over it; nothing more than a meddlesome interloper.
Apart from conducting free and fair primaries, the Agada lead EXCO on the assumption of office embarked on a massive renovation of the state secretariat of the party despite being out of power. He introduced innovations and digitilized the workings of the state EXCO. It’s cynical for a Governor who was unable to renovate the secretariat of the party that brought him into power, during his 3 bumbling years in the APC, much less, to build a new structure to talk down on an achiever like Comrade Austin Agada
Lest we forget, it is on record that Governor Ortom still owes Comrade Austin Agada salaries he earned statutorily as Ortom’s Senior Special Assistant on Administration and has been unable to pay for in the 5 years since he resigned from his appointment. Such is the stink of Ortom’s administration that it would take an ocean of water to clean out the Augean stable.
Luckily we have such a person in Reverend H. I Alia will certainly wash that stink away come election day.
Amb. Martinez, Ibn Tyotsumeh
Director of Media and Publicity
All Progressives Congress (APC) Secretariat
Makurdi, Benue State
5th Dec. 2022