Minister of State, Industry, Trade and Investment, Chief Dr. Samuel Ortom, has described the petition written to President Goodluck Jonathan by the Nigerian United For Transparent Transformation against him as baseless, false and at best a piece of mischievous blackmail.
According to publications in a section of the local and national media the petition was signed by one Comrade Ibrahim Abubakar, so-called President of the hitherto unknown and even faceless group.
It alleged that Chief Dr Ortom who also supervises the Aviation Ministry had levied agencies under the ministry to fund his governorship campaign, was taking gratification and vehicles from local vehicle manufacturers, had unjustly taken an agric loan; and also received flood relief funds which he failed to disburse.
The Minister categorically denied all the allegations saying they were false and baseless and demanded proof not just from the group but anyone who has it.
In a statement he personally signed earlier in the week when part of the allegations appeared in some national dailies he refuted the reports and stated that some desperate people had embarked on a smear campaign against him on account of his rising political profile.
He denied taking any gratification or vehicles from manufacturers, local or foreign pointing out that most of the vehicles being branded with his pictures were old ones donated by friends and associates.
Chief Dr. Ortom stated that the N50 million loan mentioned was taken by Oracle Farms Limited which is a corporate legal entity, separate from his person,which has been engaged in large scale mechanized farming in Benue State for years, having met the conditions stipulated by the disbursing authorities adding that there was nothing unjust about it.
On the Flood Relief Funds he denied collecting any money from government, any individual or group for himself or others even though he was a victim who personally lost hundreds of hectares of cultivated farms.
He said all the monies he spent in providing succor to fellow victims was from personal resources.
Chief Dr Ortom assured that he was a practicing Christian and a man of conscience and due proccess who does not believe in cutting corners because even if no human being knew he would have to give account to an omniscient God.
He said those who wrote the petition have not given him a copy and he has not seen it even at the moment saying their aim was to embark on a continuous smear campaign of mischief, calumny and blackmail in the media which he said would surely fail by the grace of God. He enjoined members of the public to disregard them.
The minister appealed to the people of Benue Statet to be wary of sinister individuals or groups who embark on baseless smear campaigns against their leaders adding that what they were actually doing amounted to a destructive agenda against the entire State and urged the people to reject their antics. He said he had referred the publication of the baseless petition to his lawyers for advice on the appropriate measures.
Tahav Agerzua, Media Adviser, Ortom Governorship Organization.
14th June, 2014