Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom recently clocked one year in office with a very rich scorecard (achievements) on display. Within the same period, Governor Ortom made speeches which shaped policies and have continued to define the present administration.
Find some of the Governor's indelible statements below:
HIS THOUGHTS ABOUT GREATER BENUE...
"We must be willing to endure the discomfort of change in order to achieve a better future for Benue. Our administration has a positive vision of the future founded on the belief that the gap between the promise and reality of Benue State can finally be closed." Governor Ortom at the executive retreat for members of the State Executive Council, July, 2015.
...COMMITMENT TO SERVICE...
"The last one year was busy and fulfilling and a year of uncommon achievements in service delivery. Together with my cabinet, we have carefully focused on my campaign promises, making every effort to translate my blueprint to reality. All I have achieved in 12 months is a result of collective effort and is beyond the expectation of those who laid booby traps for us. Now we can clearly see the hand of God in the governance of this state." Governor Ortom at the dedication of the state to God, May, 2016.
"In those those days when we had the land and the population was less just like I keep emphasizing, people who propose that we should do grazing areas and grazing routes I tell them, yes, it can be done in other states maybe. I don’t know, we are Governors of various states, but in Benue there is no free land.
These people come, they slaughter, they kill, they destroy houses, and they steal properties of our people and go scot free. Now this is cropping period and we have no industries; insufficient money is coming from the federation account to pay salaries. Instead of us living in peace, our people are not allowed to go to their farms. It pains me, I’m no more sleeping. How can I be presiding over a state that every day you wake up, they are talking about burials. Every single day they’re burying people and they are my own people that voted me into office. This is not right, we’ve restrained ourselves, I’ve told my people that as much as it’s possible let no man take laws into his hands because two wrongs cannot make a right. This is what I’ve been preaching but we are being pushed to the wall. We’re really being pushed to the wall." Governor Ortom addressing visiting Governors in Makurdi, May, 2016.
...EDUCATION, A PRIORITY
"Our administration, in partnership with the Universal Basic Education Commission, UBEC, has already secured and set aside N7.6 billion for the upgrading of facilities in over 700 primary schools across the state even as provision has been in the 2016 budget for a similar facelift for 64 secondary schools." At KAOBA Centenary celebration May 7, 2016.
"Premised on our principle of zero tolerance for corruption and waste of resources, government adopted a new strategy for fertilizer sales and distribution in the 2015 Cropping Season. The report from the experiment has indicated that the change and its effect are positive hence the need to sustain it this year. Last year, government promised farmers and the people of the state that liquid fertilizer would be made available during the 2016 Cropping Season. Accordingly, Government has approved that 5,100 metric tons, an equivalent of 170 trucks of assorted brands of fertilizer and 10,000 litres of liquid fertilizer be supplied directly to farmers by selected genuine and competent fertilizer vendors at 38% subsidy."
...STILL ON AGRICULTURE
"In line with the aforementioned, the state’s farmers are to visit stores nearest to them in any of the 23 Divisional Agriculture Offices across the State and pay N4,000.00 only per 50kg bag of fertilizer or N2,000.00 per litre of liquid fertilizer. The fertilizer vendors are expected to work under the strict supervision of the staff of the Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources for the distribution of these critical farm inputs. The Ministry is to also monitor and keep records of the transactions between the farmers and the fertilizer vendors for the purpose of validation of the vendors’ records for proper accountability. Government will only pay the vendors the subsidy component of the total number of bags and litres of fertilizer verified by the Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources as having been redeemed by genuine farmers." Governor Ortom at the flag-off of the 2016 cropping season, May, 2016.
... FINANCIAL SITUATION OF THE STATE
As you all know today, a state that used to earn from the federation account over N7 billion, from August 2015 to about February 2016 all that came from the federation account to the state each month was an average of N2 billion but in March, we noticed a drop to N1.8 billion and in April it went further down to N1.7 billion but this was because Mr. President intervened that deductions should not be made. It was going to N1.3 billion and just yesterday for May, my Commissioner for Finance told me what they got from the federation account was N1.3 billion. So it’s further going down. Now, the state wage bill is over N3 billion. When you add pension which is over N500 million and when you add overhead of over N500 million it goes to N4 billion." Governor Ortom adressing journalists in Abjua, June, 2016
...FEELING FOR WORKERS
"May I seize this opportunity to appreciate Benue workers for their patience, cooperation and understanding in these trying times and to assure them that Government is leaving no stone unturned to source for funds to meet her obligation of paying staff salaries." Governor Ortom at the swearing in of new permanent secretaries, June, 2016.