In Benue Politics particularly and Nigeria at large, before one is appointed commissioner or minister, one must for sure have a godfather who always makes things happen to his/her favor. The same style is applicable to other sensitive political offices like governors, senators, House of Representatives, house of assembly members and even ‘common’ chairmen.
It is believed that Gov. Ortom’s first victory as governor in 2015 was necessitated by the Godfatherism Syndrome. Oral history has it that kangaroo approach was used in favour of Gov. Ortom to claiming the APC ticket ahead of Barr Emmanuel Jime by his then Godfather Sen. George Akume.
People and Gov. Ortom himself have accused his ex-godfather as a factor why he performed abysmally poor in his first tenure. It was on record that Gov. Ortom was sharing the meager resources of the state with his ex-godfather leaving the whole state in the hands of God.
During Ortom’s first term in office, there were no salaries, no gratuity was paid, employment was dispatched to oblivion and infrastructural development of the state was relegated to the background. Information had it that many lost their lives, and children of salary earners dropped out of school because of non-payment of salary.
It is audible to the deaf and visible to the blind that Gov. Ortom was elected in the just concluded gubernatorial election to pilot the affairs of Benue State because of three cogent reasons despite him owing civil servants salary for many months. Records have it that he won Barr Jime of APC because Benue people were against Sen. Akume and they believed that Akume was the one behind Jime. The people of Benue asked with keen attention why Akume himself preferred Gov. Ortom in 2015 to Jime and why the change of support now?
Another notable reason why Gov. Ortom emerged victorious was the issue of incessant killings in Benue by suspected herdsmen. The All Progressives Congress and all who came under the platform were tagged Miyetti Allah Scholars. According to report Barr Jime was rejected at the poll because of the fear of ZONE A part of Benue that he may insist on going for another two tenures making ZONE B to enjoy 12 years instead of the allotted 8 years by the zoning mantra. Gov. Ortom was elected to complete his four years and allow power to shift to another axis of the state.
The People of Benue were in jubilation when Gov. Ortom won the gubernatorial race thinking that their sufferings have come to an end. Civil servants tagged him as their Moses when he yanked his godfather off from him. Gov. Ortom himself promised that things will return to normal but issues are worsening every day.
No one needs a prophet to know that his godfather was not the problem but Gov. Ortom himself is the problem. Now that Gov. Ortom has no godfather everybody thought he will use this golden opportunity to consolidate his first tenure’s debacle but he prefers flying out for conferences and seminars as well as trips that have no impact on Benue People. Issues of non- payment of workers salary, pensioners gratuity are still calling for attention. No visible project to point at, no employment opportunities and people are killed day in, day out.
Worst of it all pensioners in the state are owed 25 months pension. Of recent they mounted a peaceful protest at the Benue Peoples’ House (renamed version of Government House), they slept outside for days, for many days, they sat in the sun, for many days, they slept in the rain, they got bitten by mosquitoes, they cried for what they labored for, they ask for their right, they fought for food, they fought for their money. Documented evidence has it that three pensioners died in the process. At the End, their lives were threatened and they ended up leaving without any single penny given to them after the usual promise and fail. Social media reported that some youths invaded their protest ground and gave the protesting Benue State Pensioners ultimatum to leave the gate or else they will be beaten, for disgracing the Government of Benue State.
Questions rising now is who sponsored those youths to stop the aggrieved pensioners? Government which has the responsibility of providing for its citizens is now paying them with strokes of cane. Alas! This is a bad omen. Youths are not incorporated in Gov. Ortom’s administration except when there are issues of fighting and thuggery. This prompted Felix Terungwa Dav to write ‘’Yesterday, Governor sent youths to beat up some elders. Same yesterday, 25 elders given appointment. No youth’’ what a shame.
If I were Gov. Ortom, I would use these four years judiciously by giving infrastructural development attention. If I were Gov. Ortom, I would incorporate youths in my administration by creating jobs for them. If I were Gov. Ortom, I would pay workers their salary as well as pensioners their 25 outstanding gratuities in order to save my political career. If I were Gov. Ortom, I would use this last tenure to bridge the gaps I created during my first tenure in office.
Will Gov. Ortom win that senate race when the time comes if he continues like this? If I were Gov. Ortom, I would win my senate race now. Remember the road to Benue Peoples’ hearts is through their pockets and stomachs.