Our attention has been drawn to allegations of massive diversion of public funds to the purchase of private property levelled against Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, and key officials of his administration as well as the Speaker of the State Assembly, Honourable Terkimbi Ikyange.
A social media platform, Zebra Reporters, claimed to have authored the report with purported pictures of the acquired property.
Media activists sponsored by the old order in Benue State have since been circulating the dirt with relish.
But no person has appended his or her name to the obvious concoction ostensibly for fear of litigation for the false, libelous, defamatory, mischievous, and gutter report calculated to portray the Governor and the officials mentioned as corrupt and tainted.
It is instructive that the report is coming on the heels of the release of the White Paper on the Justice Elizabeth Kpojime Commission of Inquiry which has indicted key players in the last administration for massive plunder and looting of the commonwealth of the people of Benue State.
The Commission headed by a judge acknowledged for integrity had conducted its painstaking work in full public glare before arriving at conclusions and submitting the report.
The group of 52 conspirators who robbed the people blind and inflicted the current agony that has enveloped the state has set about to cause further confusion by diverting attention from their evil activities that have brought Benue to the brink.
The allegation that over N20 billion has been diverted from the bailout and other loans is blatantly false, crude, primitive, unsubstantiated, unfounded and untenable, to say the least.
So are the other allegations that Governor Ortom recently acquired land to build Oracle University and numerous other property within and outside the state.
It is laughable to allege that part of the diverted funds were used to influence judges to give Governor Ortom justice when everybody in Benue knows that he won his election overwhelmingly by popular vote through divine intervention.
Let me state with no fear of contradiction whatsoever that except for his personal appearance at the Supreme Court once, Governor Ortom, before then, never saw any of the judges who handled the election petition against him.
He did not bribe any of them.
Close observers of events in the state know that Governor Ortom has involved union leaders in the disbursement of state funds in a transparent manner on a monthly basis such that the workers know exactly how much is being received and expended.
The leaders would be the first to blow the whistle if they notice any diversion whatsoever.
Sponsors of the blatant falsehood whose penchant for greed and ostentatious living knew no bounds when they were in charge themselves acquired property of unimaginable number and proportions within and outside the state with the commonwealth of the people which they had diverted so they imagine that others with public trust would inevitably follow their dishonourable path.
Both the philosophy of the new order and the declining financial fortunes of the state make this behaviour and inclination untenable.
Governor Ortom has openly challenged anyone with any proof of his ever embezzling any public funds at any point in his public or private careers to take it to any of the anti-graft agencies or make it public.
He has equally challenged people to also blow the whistle on any of his appointees or officials who divert public funds into private use.
Yet sweeping, false, unfounded and unsubstantiated allegations, like the current report, sponsored by indicted and corrupt people who betrayed public trust can never stand the test of scrutiny.
The inclusion of my name as one of the officials in the Ortom administration who have diverted public funds to buy private property has further destroyed the credibility of the report as I do not have any posh hotel complex anywhere in the world.
If the small house I live in which I completed in 2001 and have not even renovated since then and the media centre I have been struggling to put up in Makurdi since 2002 qualify to be choice residences, I love the categorization.
But I certainly own no property in Gboko as alleged.
I think that if anyone has any proof that I or any public official mentioned has corruptly enriched himself and used the proceeds to acquire property anywhere, that proof should be made public and petitions against such conduct should be forwarded to anti-graft agencies for investigation.
In the absence of such, the current campaign is an indication of corruption attempting to fight back.
Such a feeble attempt will surely not serve those indicted any useful purpose as they must inevitably face the consequences of their actions against the people of Benue State.
Special Adviser, Media and ICT.