ADDRESS BY THE GOVERNOR OF BENUE STATE, SAMUEL ORTOM, AT THE INAUGURATION OF THE SECRETARY TO THE STATE GOVERNMENT, CHIEF OF STAFF, HEAD OF SERVICE AND SPECIAL ADVISER ON MEDIA AND ICT AT THE OLD BANQUET HALL, BENUE PEOPLE’S HOUSE, MAKURDI, TUESDAY, 2ND JUNE, 2015
We are gathered here today for the inauguration of four key government officials. The faith which Benue reposed in the All Progressives Congress (APC) when they overwhelmingly voted for us on April 11th has put us in government and in a position to perform this ceremony. This crop of appointees is expected to assist in laying a solid foundation for the smooth takeoff and landing of our administration.
2. Let me formally congratulate Barrister Targema Takema, Secretary to the State Government, Hon. Terwase Orbunde, my Chief of Staff, Mr. Adaikwu Inwata, the Head of Service and Mr. Tahav Agerzua, Special Adviser, Media and Information and Communication Technology, ICT. All the appointees are notable Benue sons that have excelled in their different fields.
3. Briefly, Barrister Takema, the SSG, is a man that is very conversant with the socio-political terrain of this state. Besides, he is a very experienced diplomat who served in the Nigerian Foreign Service in different parts of the globe. Similarly, Hon. Orbunde has served Benue in various capacities including being member of the National Assembly in the Third Republic. His wealth of knowledge and experience is expected to come into good use in his new assignment. Mr. Inwata is a seasoned administrator who served in many ministries, departments and agencies in the State including Government House. Of course, Mr. Agerzua is a versatile media man. He has been deeply rooted in grass roots journalism after serving in national media houses. He had also served as Chief Press Secretary to the former Governor of the state, Senator Dr. George Akume and therefore his competence cannot be called to question.
4. I can say with certainty therefore that all the gentlemen that have been sworn-in to serve are eminently qualified to discharge good service to the State and nation. Their appointments mark a very important phase in the life of this new administration. I must emphasize too that we are coming into government at a time when Benue people are yearning for change which has been clearly demonstrated in our election into office. The election has therefore placed very high expectations on our government and the leadership of the State. Every member of my team must embrace our core values which include transparency, accountability, selflessness, fairness, justice, equity, honesty, discipline, integration, forgiveness, reconciliation and peace which shall make development inevitable. These values are anchored on our underlying philosophy to lead the people with the fear of God. This administration has zero tolerance for corruption. Your appointment is an opportunity to serve, not that of amassing illegal wealth. Anyone who wants to make money can explore opportunities of business in the private sector as any official who misappropriates public funds will be sanctioned.
5. Everyone who is part of this government must be ready to be exemplary, must be ready to be an agent of change and must live up to expectation in our chosen agenda to offer high quality service to Benue people. This is a very serious goal which we must not toy with. The major objectives of our administration are to tackle poverty, ignorance and disease. We intend to partner with the organized private sector to boost the economy of the state by creating the enabling environment for micro, small and medium scale enterprises as well as commercial and investment activities to thrive. These would create jobs, wealth and opportunities for our people.
6. Our immediate challenges include the maintenance of law and order in compliance with the rule of law and due process. We must strive to secure lives and property. Huge debts arising from salary arrears and allowances, retirement benefits, bonds as well as obligations to contractors and other stare us in the face. We must hit the ground running to surmount these challenges.
7. Let me enlist the cooperation, prayers and support of all civil servants, religious as well as traditional leaders, the organized labour, political parties, civil society organizations, the organized private sector, youths and all ethnic nationalities in the State to join hands with us in making Benue a State we will all be proud of. For us, you are all stakeholders and we seek your kind support for the new appointees to succeed.
8. I want to welcome the families, friends and associates of the appointees here present and implore you to pray for them. Similarly, you must avoid the temptation of making unrealistic demands that would cause them to deviate from the rightful course of decency and true service in order to satisfy the selfish wishes of a few.
9. Once more, congratulations and may God bless you all.
10. In God we trust: Thank you.