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Benue: One Year After, In God We Trust

Written By Idoma Television on Monday, May 30, 2016 | 2:36:00 AM

By Iorkegh Donatus 

Exactly one year ago, the new crop of leaders were inaugurated. History indeed was made. The election that brought them on seat was also interesting. It was the first time in Nigeria that the opposition defeated an incumbent government. 

APC wrestled power from PDP. This has not taken place before. APC of course after being an opposition for a very long time understood the game so well that the referee too could not manipulate.

In Benue State, the story was the same, as the opposition APC then was sure of victory. As a matter of fact, they held primaries for the governorship election but were not satisfied with the candidate that would have emerged. However, the Messiah Ortom appeared from the blues and snatched the ticket away. A lot of people became so pugnacious at the man of God’s extempore emergence. This was never to deter him from clinching the governorship that saw him battle ‘’The Man Wey Sabi’’ of the PDP in a rather pyrrhic victory. 

The chagrin now is that, it appears ‘’The Man of God’’ wasn’t fully ready to face the challenges of the day, or simply put, was ill-prepared for the task. He has resorted into cheap propaganda with social media watchdogs that scores the administration high and hype ordinary payment of salaries. They have become professionals in punching those that criticise the government. But the truth is, you cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong. 

In its one year’s life, the government lacks a vision. It has put the Benue debt profile to over N40 billion. The government on assumption of office shocked the Benue masses when it used billions to buy exotic cars for government officials amidst none payment of salaries, diminishing the trust of the people in the government and the ‘’In God We Trust’’ slogan. 

The clamping down on those who have opposite views about the government is evident that the government does not want to take anyone criticising it very likely, as it arrested and harassed one opposition member in March this year, and the comments which were made by a senior government official Mr. Titus Zam that ‘’Nobody should test the goodwill of this government. We will deploy all legal tools to quash undue antagonism, blackmail, and name calling’’, further illustrates the return to military rule in Benue State. 

One would only expect that the name ‘’Samuel Ortom’’ should bring good tidings to Benue. like the Biblical Samuel, which means (I asked the Lord for him) was conceived miraculously by his mother Hannah, who suffered a lot of humiliation in Elkanal’s house (Samuel’s father), because of her child bearing issues. Samuel grew up to become a great servant of God and he blessed him. 

Ortom on the other hand means ‘’Workman’’. But what went wrong with the Benue workman for a complete year? After borrowing money close to Suswam’s 2011 budget which was (69 billion), the money was first used to purchase cars for government appointees – 13 Toyota Prado SUVs (N240.5 million), 43 Toyota corolla cars (N318.3 million). Price check revealed that the cars were bought at exorbitant prices without due consideration to the plight of Benue workers who are owed backlog of salaries. 

This one year has also passed with Benue people’s lips sealed because they has crossed the Rubicon and so would wait until another election year. Gov. Ortom hurriedly awarded contracts on paper for the construction of 12 roads to cover his shame of none performance, with inflated rates considering the smooth topography of the areas. 

It is high time this government started thinking of building a more robust economy that would accommodates both the poor and the rich alike, digging into the major problems of the people and embarking on massive people oriented projects – roads, water,  education, agriculture, and an all inclusive youth empowerment scheme for young graduates,  rather than settling their masters and enriching their goons and cohorts. 

Finally, a man on a mission without a vision will end in misery. Gov. Ortom should not deviate from his blue print that attracted commendations because of its open door policies. But as it is right now, one would only hope that things get better and the government works harder to alleviate the sufferings of Benue masses. 

As it is said ‘’in all things, it is better to hope than to despair’’. Again, one is tempted to asked the question “who killed this change?”.
In God We Trust.

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