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Nigeria: Help, Benue State is sinking

Written By Idoma Television on Monday, December 21, 2015 | 8:37:00 AM

Makurdi — When I first raised the alarm that Benue State was in dire straits and in need of a saviour, some people rushed to their systems to lampoon me, but just seven months down the line, the scale appears to be falling from the eyes of those who had any iota of doubt that all is not well with our dear state.

It is a truism that a physician who with all the required medicaments to alleviate the discomforts of a patient and shillyshallies in doing so either is deliberately prolonging the anguish of the subject or lacks in the skills to save the patient such pains. I think the present travails of our state is seriously bordering on lack of capacity or low esteem. I will address this is issue later.

I dare say that the essence of this is to interrogate issues and in the end, ensure that the best is got for our state instead of the"kinsman oppressor" principle in politics which leans heavily and precariously too, on preference for someone closer to you holding a position than a competent person even if the holder of the office might not favour you. That accentuates the "we and them" feeling to the suffering of all.

Exactly three months into the life of the present administration, I looked at all the indices of governance and tottering of Governor Samuel Ortom and immediately surmised that there was need for action and prayers if Benue State would break the surface from the depth it was sinking. Today, with the events fast unfolding, many friends that tagged me as impatient and unfair to the administration are coming back agreeing with me. Our governor is actually groping in the dark and appears confused, forget about those toothy smiles.

Now we overhear that the only thriving aspect of the administration is rushing to mortgage the future of the state through borrowings. Let me make myself clear here that there is nothing wrong in borrowing; but simple economic sense show that if you borrow to engage in a venture that does not recreate or multiply the capital, repayment would become a problem. When a borrower can no longer repay, the future of that arrangement would take the pressure and therefore, faces dire economic consequences.

Just seven months into his regime, the state Assembly has approved Ortom's request to borrow another N12 billion from a commercial bank and this brings the total debt he has foisted on the state to over N55 billion. This is in addition to the N28 billion bailout funds which has been converted to a loan that would be repaid. I agree that federal allocations to states have been dwindling since the tumbling of oil prices in the international market, but inflows from that source have been steady.

Now the bailout funds has been frittered away, the loans are increasing while services are shrinking. While other scales of human development are pointing in the negative, it is only those in the cabinet or their lackeys that are appreciating; every other Benue man is depreciating. It has never been this bad in decision making in governance for us.
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