An elder statesman and a former Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Alhaji Abubakar Tsav has again lashed out on the present administration in Benue State led by Governor Samuel Ortom.
In this recent interview with Nigerian Concord, he talks about the government’s policies and more….
You have always been complaining about what you called a Harvest of Looting in Benue state. Can you explain this better sir?
It Is very pathetic because Governor Ortom’s government just started and we are facing these kinds of things under him. There are many cases of looting, some haven’t come to light yet while some are already with the EFCC. And the governor keeps saying that he Is a man of God. He keeps saying anyone who chops money that money will chop him. He is not a consistent man because he says something and does a different thing. You see, what we are facing under Ortom is really very bad. We don’t know what may happen at the end of his tenure because the huge money he is borrowing now, he has not invested it on any meaningful project, and he has borrowed a lot of money. Just recently, the former governor, Dr. Suswam, said that it may take more than three generations of our children to pay the loans which Ortom has borrowed.
(Cuts in) Why are the elders in Benue not advising the governor?
There are elders in the state but most of them aren’t talking. None of them is saying anything against his policies. They just allow him to do whatever he feels like doing and this is killing the state slowly. This man said sometimes that the God Almighty revealed to him 20 years ago that he would be governor. Well, if God revealed to you that you would be a governor, did you not plan how you are going to run your government? If God is so gracious by choosing you as governor, you should have planned on how to run your government. I said this because Ortom is running his government without any plans. His case can be likened with a man who doesn’t know how to swim and you just put him at the middle of a big river and leave him there. What do you think will happen to him? He will just get himself drown inside the river. This is exactly the case in Benue state.
Governor Ortom keeps saying that his predecessor didn’t leave a good legacy behind for him?
(Cuts in)… That is not true and we have advised him (Ortom) many times to shun blame games and deliver his campaign promises to Benue people. I am sure God put Ortom there so that the people of our state can begin to appreciate the government of former Governor Gabriel Suswam. Before now, they did say Suswam didn’t do this or that but now they have brought someone who is always imposing policies that do not have human faces on them. This man says he is a man of God and I haven’t seen a liar like him in my life. He says one thing and does the other. The other day he came to Abuja to see the President, as soon as he came out of the Presidential lodge, the reporters there interviewed him about the arrest of the Speaker of the State House of Assembly and some other principal officers, and he appeared very straight. He said the Speaker and his colleagues were on their own, adding that they had chopped money and money should chop them. That was the language he used and people thought he would allow the rule of law to prevail but when he got home, he changed his tune and started supporting the thieves. He said these people had the right to collect the money and buy the cars by themselves. And now, he is supporting the Speaker, saying that he hasn’t seen anything wrong in the criminal act which the EFCC recently arrested him for. Few weeks ago, a member of the House raised a motion, asking the Speaker to step down and the man was suspended for five months. Doing this shows that these people aren’t ready to fight corruption in Benue state. If they were serious to fight corruption, they should have discussed the car scam instead of suspending someone who was trying to shield light. Even before the man raised the motion, the speaker had brought in some thugs with a clear order that they should attack whoever that raised anything against him (Speaker). So as far as I am concerned, Ortom is a big liability to Benue state because is running a government of criminals.
You said the governor hasn’t performed well but he recently brought in some Chinese to invest in the state?
(Laughs)….. I don’t think he means well for the people of Benue in that regard because I personally listened to him on the Television when he brought in the Chinese. To me, it appears the man doesn’t have any programme because he said the Chinese should carry out any projects that they want without any specification. I think a reasonable man who is bringing in investors must have an agenda for them. You tell them to do this, do that, but Ortom didn’t say that. He only asked them to carry out any project that they like. We are in a mess and I will not blame anybody. I will only blame Akume because he spent eight years as governor, doing nothing. He failed woefully but Suswam was very kind-hearted. He didn’t investigate him (Akume). I reported so many cases against Akume to the EFCC but it was Suswam who came and dropped all the cases. I made eight different statements to the EFCC against Akume about all the allegations of looting but Suswam came and stopped the cases. And again, the man has been in the Senate and this is his Third Term and he has done nothing. In the Senate, you will see him dosing. He is not active in the Senate but you see him getting involved in issues that don’t concern him at home. Akume is very lazy, he has no idea and how do you expect him to perform. He imposed Ortom on us because he contested for the ticket under PDP and lost to Terhemen Tarzoor and after that he ran to APC and Akume imposed him on the party, and the people accepted him as a result of the Change Mantra. Ortom came and said he is a man of God but as far as I am concerned, he is not a man of God but a devil incarnate.
But he recently dedicated the state to God. How come you are now saying that he is not a man of God?
Yes, it happened during the Easter celebration. He prostrated and said he was dedicating Benue state to God because of the sins he claimed to have met when he came in as governor. But this same man is going about doing things that are against what he preached on the day he said he was dedicating Benue to God.
How do you mean sir?
Yes for instance, two weeks ago, some women organized a thanksgiving session in honour of Suswam and his wife, and Ortom sent in some thugs to go and disrupt the event. This has been confirmed because the APC chairman of Ushongo local government area made a clear statement that they truly arranged the boys to go and protest because the other time Suswam came to their place, he made statements that they didn’t like. What we said about the invasion is what the APC chieftain in the local government has just confirmed. He said they sent the thugs to go and disrupt a thanksgiving service which was meant to praise the same God whom Ortom said he had dedicated Benue to. If Ortom truly dedicated Benue to God, would he have paid thugs to go and disrupt a thanksgiving session which was organized to praise and adore that same Almighty God? The unfortunate thing for Ortom is that all the people around him are thugs. You see, Benue has produced a lot of graduates. We have so many academicians, so many professionals but he has decided to bring in thugs and he listens to them.
Can we have your take on the Governor’s Amnesty programme?
That is 100 Per Cent nonsense. The governor organized the Amnesty Programme and failed to involve the police. The Amnesty program which he organized was only meant to give soft landing to one man known as ‘Gana’. This is a notorious criminal who had killed so many policemen, so many soldiers and so many innocent people. This is the man Ortom granted amnesty, and he keeps saying that they have recovered some arms. Look here, in a proper amnesty programme where arms are surrendered to the amnesty group, I expect them to take such arms to the Police so that they would be registered as exhibits. The police will also check if the arms were among the ones used to attack police stations. They will also check if the arms are among the ones that were hijacked from policemen. We expected Ortom to give these arms to the police for a proper investigation but he didn’t. Instead, he kept them in the Government House and he has a lot of thugs around him who can use them to terrorize people and bring them back. They might not even bring them back at all. So ortom’s Amnesty is just to prepare people to cause havoc in the state.
Recently, a security adviser to the governor was killed and arrests were made. Can we have your take on this?
Yes. The man who was killed was a Police Sergeant. How can a sensible governor appoint a Police Sergeant as his security adviser? That is bad. Worse still, some aides of the governor went and killed him. If the governor had wanted to get the right man to be his security adviser, he should have consulted the Commissioner of Police and not hand picking an ordinary police sergeant. We have found ourselves in a great difficulty and my anger is that no elder is talking. Nobody says anything, and our people behave as people whose mothers’ breasts don’t dry. And if your mother’s breast doesn’t dry, you can go anywhere and still come back to suck the breast. What I mean is that these people were with Suswam in the first place. He did everything to encourage them but as soon as he left power, they entered into another relationship with Ortom and they are still with him. And when he goes, they will jump into the ship of another governor that comes in. They do not think about future. They are not people that can be taken serious and that is why our situation is very bad in Benue state today.
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