On Tuesday 4th June 2019, six days after taking the oath of office for his 2nd term as the elected governor of Benue state, His Excellency Samuel Ortom was on a live Radio Benue current affairs programme for about 2hrs, between 8.00am – 10.00am.
The governor talked on a wide range of issues and here are 15 major takeaways we learnt from the Governor:
- I was over-seeing a government full of ‘wheelbarrow assistants’.
- Money meant for the development of Benue state was diverted.
- I spent my first term as Governor servicing individuals rather than the development needs of the citizens.
- We are a country govern by the rule of law and the NFIU proposed guidelines on LGA financial autonomy is an illegality and Benue state under me will not be part of such illegality.
- I never involved myself in how the LGA allocations are spent; the local government chairmen were the ones spending their monies.
- I cannot explain why ‘dead people’ were still collecting salaries in Benue state
- The state wage bill is still above N7bn and there is a cartel behind it. We have been tracking and looking for ways to deal with the situation.
- If I have the resources, I will pay the 30k minimum wage and even more.
- I came to the conclusion that the Chinese-Igumale cement factory business deal was nothing more than a 419.
- We will reorganize the BIRS for efficient service delivery
- We are looking for ‘friendly financially institutions’ to borrow money so that we can pay outstanding salaries and pensions arrears.
- I will undertake a tour of the 23 LGAs to appreciate the people and interact with them on their community development priorities
- Insecurity in the state is a major reason why investors shun the state
- The over N7bn accessed from UBEC has been judiciously used in the development of primary schools in the state.
- We have collapsed the mythical godfather phenomenon in the state and anyone coming after me will not have to worry of an over bearing god father
Does the governor’s admission in the 2 hour long interview validates
the squandering of over N460bn of monies accrued to the state?