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Lawrence Onoja insults David Mark

Written By Idoma Television on Saturday, April 15, 2017 | 4:53:00 AM

The Benue State Commissioner for Information, Lawrence Onoja has slammed former Senate President, David Mark, describing him as a liar.

The commissioner in a statement issued on Friday tagged David Mark an unrepentant liar for refusing to tell his people the truth that he has failed them.
The recent so-called stakeholders meeting of an illegal faction of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP in Benue state calls for setting the records straight to the members of the public. It has become necessary to present facts in their proper and objective perspective in order to prevent a section of the populace from being deceived with outright falsehood, fabricated lies and negative propaganda that emanated from this set of people who have since lost relevance and the confidence of the people.

The former Senate President, Senator David Mark informed his factional party members that he has deliberately refrained from making statements about the security situation in Benue state so as not to inflame passions. When has it amounted to inflaming passions for an elder and a former number three citizen to render constructive advice to government either at the state or federal level? Senator David Mark forgot to inform the gathering that herdsmen attacks on some local governments in Benue state predates this present administration and in fact parts of the local government of the immediate past governor was overrun by militant herdsmen. The former Senate President chose not to inform his audience that due to Governor Samuel Ortom’s proactive response and reaching out to the federal government, Mr. President ordered the immediate deployment of a Police Special Tactical Team to Benue state to tackle criminal elements at the heat of the unfortunate attacks on some Benue communities. The team in collaboration with other security agencies have since made many arrests with large cache of arms seized. The Senator when he occupied the important number 3 post as the Senate President could not use his influential position then to draw the attention of the then PDP led federal government to the menace of herdsmen attacks in Benue communities. He also failed to tell his party faithful that the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar recently visited Governor Ortom in Makurdi to reassure the governor and the people that they have the orders and support of Mr President to tackle criminals and restore peace in troubled parts of the state. These are just some of the many initiatives of the Governor in restoring peace which has since been yielding positive results.

On his statement that his faction of the PDP would not rig and that they would not allow anyone to rig the forthcoming local government election is at best preempting the outcome of an election which has not even taken place yet. It is curious that the same party that was rejected massively by the people in the last election largely on account of their inability to rig the elections as usual would now be prematurely warning about election rigging when the people know too clearly that the PDP had survived in office all these years having perfected the art of rigging and intimidation of the electorates. The Senator sought to encourage his people to ignore rumours of people sitting down to write election results away from the electoral empire headquarters. That practice was in the last era.

The PDP having lost power in the last election to the All Progressives Congress APC, the former number three man admonished the rapidly dwindling members of his party not to defect to the All Progressives Congress, APC which clearly offers better alternative. This is a confirmation that the APC is clearly a more responsible political party that adhere to the rule of law as well as a party that offers a level playing field to its teeming membership by the practice of internal democracy which is a fundamental principle of a responsible political party.

Abba Moro, the former Minister of Interior who has been battling with a moral burden on account of his tenure in office as a Minister has clearly not learnt from his misadventure in office. He was less that truthful when he informed his factional party members that all the founding members of the PDP are still in the party. Nothing can be further from the truth as the PDP’s entrenched culture of imposition of candidates and narrowing of the democratic space as well as unleashing violence on perceived opponents during elections contributed largely to the exodus of some of the finest members of the party whose conscience could not allow them to continue to mingle with a group of people who have become a moral liability to the state and the nation.

On his ill-advised view that no politician of serious standing had not been to jail and back is at best dragging in the mud the hard earned reputations of all the decent, incorruptible and patriotic political leaders of Nigeria especially those who courageously rescue power on behalf of the people from PDP in 2015. Since when has going to jail for murder, corruption, and other criminal acts become a standard by which a serious politician is rated? The people of Benue State should please take note of this immoral celebration of those who had justifiably been guests in the nation’s prisons on account of their indictment.

Abba Moro’s unbelievable outbursts that no day passes in Benue State without about two people being killed is a great disservice to decent minded citizens of the state and the hardworking administration of Governor Samuel Ortom. This is far from the truth and it merely exposes his dark desires of celebrating bloodshed of innocent people. The former Interior Minister is the least qualified to comment on murder of innocent people having supervised the shambolic Nigeria Immigration recruitment scandal where no fewer than 20 young and promising Nigerians sadly lost their lives in March 2014. The Immigration recruitment exercise constituted a dark period in the history of our nation especially given the fact that Abba Moro was also accused of swindling the innocent and desperate Nigerian job seekers collectively of over N700 million via a dubious online application procedure. Till date, the former Minister is battling unsuccessfully to clear his name in the court having been a guest at Kuje prisons. At least Abba Moro was honest for once in admitting that the PDP administration of Gabriel Suswam owed many months of civil servants salaries and pension as well as gratuities. This was at a time the government was earning bumper revenue from high crude oil sales in the last PDP era. The Ortom led administration had been working steadily to gradually offset these huge liabilities especially now that the federal allocation has dropped by more than 45%.

The issue of salary arrears has been of great concern to the Ortom led administration, as part of his efforts to carry the civil servants along, he has been periodically inviting the organized labour to agree on modalities for payment of salaries whenever funds becomes available. The recession as everybody knows is affecting virtually most states of the federation as delays in salaries payment is not applicable to Benue state alone. But the government is working round the clock to remedy the situation gradually. The Governor has also improved the Internally Generated Revenue, IGR of the State and introduced reforms through the reconstituted board to plug revenue leakages. This was unlike in the immediate past where the BIRS was turned into a private ATM of some discredited people. The administration of Governor Samuel Ortom has taken various innovative steps to reposition the State by leveraging on agriculture to make dry season farming possible, work on mechanized agriculture as well as improved fertilizer and other farming inputs to farmers. He has also been actively engaged in wooing private investors to the state with appreciable results amongst other initiatives too numerous to mention here. It is on record that the Governor has drastically reduce waste and promoted prudent financial management all in a bid to manage the lean resources of the state transparently.

The former Minister contradicted himself when in a curious twist said that nothing happening in Benue state including security challenges has not happened in another state before and even in a bigger dimension. This goes to show his ignorance of the true state of things in Benue or he has chosen to mischievously malign the purposeful administration of Governor Samuel Ortom which has made the respect for the rule of law part of his administration and has prevented people from taking the law into their hands and also made government officials operate on the same page with him. Governor Ortom has been known not to shield anyone indicted from facing justice.

In a shameful celebration of graft, the former Interior Minister excitedly told his surprised listeners that even though former governor Gabriel Suswam is a guest of the Department of State Services for weeks now, he is with them in spirit. This has been the hallmark of Abba Moro and his likes, they celebrate those with moral and criminal burden hanging on their necks. He should have educated his listeners that former Governor Gabriel Suswam was arrested with sophisticated weapons in his possession in Abuja. He should also have informed the rapidly disenchanted factional members of his party that Suswam has been indicted by the Justice Elizabeth Kpojime Panel of Inquiry along with a group of 52 others of siphoning a whopping N107 billion naira from the Benue State treasury, failure to disclose about $24 million dollars of Paris/London Club debt refund when he was the executive governor as revealed by documents at our disposal. The people of Benue State would want Abba Moro to ask his former Governor what he did with over N3 billion naira been proceeds from the illegal sales of the Benue State shares in Julius Berger.

Abba Moro exposed his disrespect to constituted authority by describing the present administration of Samuel Ortom as an aberration when he knew quite well that the people freely gave him their mandate in April 2015 and the Governor also defeated the PDP candidate, Terhemen Tarzoor via the ballot box, the Election Petition Tribunal, the Appeal Court and ultimately at the Apex court where the Supreme Court finally laid to rest the unsuccessful bid by the PDP to snatch victory outside the ballot box. But thank God for the judiciary, the last hope of the common man stood firm in support of justice and legality and dismissed Terheman Tarzoor’s case.

The factional PDP chairman, John Ngbede, appears to still be in shock over his party’s rejection at the 2015 polls by the people. Obviously he believes in rented crowd to boost his party’s public image. This much was confirmed by his ill-advised statement that his faction brought a small crowd of people to show the APC that they are on ground and that if they wanted they could still bring a bigger crowd to intimidate people. This is not surprising as people like him believe in intimidation, harassment and renting of crowds to deceive people especially during electioneering period. His faction should instead resort to respect the law and should rather focus its energy in resolving their differences with the Ali Modu Sheriff faction of the PDP which has been declared by a court as the authentic national chairman of his party. The PDP are clearly travelling the same path again which led them to losing power in an embarrassing fashion at the federal level and many states of the federation in 2015. The APC is set to repeat this feat again only that this time the defeat of the PDP will be total considering the battered and divisive image and credibility crisis the party has been grappling with.

It is surprising that a supposed stakeholders meeting of a factional PDP in Benue state that ordinarily should have seen the party engage in fence mending and uniting its fast dwindling membership was turned into an event of show of force and use of crude and intimidating language which should no longer be allowed in a peaceful political environment. Speaker after speaker including Mrs Margaret Icheen, John Ngbede, Terhemen Tarzoor and other leaders were not doing the needful to foster a peaceful democratic environment which the Ortom administration had worked hard to build in the State. It is left for the people of the state to clearly see the difference.

The administration of Governor Samuel Ortom remains deeply appreciative of the support of the people despite the prevailing economic recession with assurances that better days are coming gradually with the fruitful efforts of the Governor Samuel Ortom people oriented government and the federal government.

God bless you all

Hon. Lawrence Onoja
Hon. Commissioner for Information and Orientation


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