A concerned Benue indigene, Mr Awunah Pius Terwase, has written to express concern that Governor Samuel Ortom may disappoint citizens of the state.
His reason is that the Governor is “lackadaisical” and “careless about critical and relevant issues like education.”
“Samuel Ortom is now the governor, he met with the striking lecturers twice and told them clearly that there is no money, adding that he will pay them June’s salary after which he would see what he can do. He never assured them of paying their outstanding salaries and allowances,” Mr Terwase wrote.
His write up appeared on page 11 of Sunday Sun of June 14, 2015.
We appreciate the concern of Mr Terwase whose claim that he supported Ortom’s governorship aspiration through his newspaper articles we also believe.
We are also convinced that he wishes that Governor Ortom would deliver on his mandate with resounding success and quickly too hence his expression of concern.
However, his claims are not true and his conclusions are wrong.
Governor Ortom who is barely two weeks in office has met five times with various unions from the Benue State University.
Even before his inauguration he met with the Academic Staff Union of Universities at the institution and since assuming office Governor Ortom met twice with its members.
Thereafter, he met with other union leaders including students and resident doctors of the university’s teaching hospital.
In all the meetings he took time to explain the financial status of the state and appeal for the striking unions to call off their strike and give him time to tackle their challenges.
In the last series of meetings he pledged to get approval from the Benue State House of Assembly to secure a loan to pay June salary as an indication of his seriousness so that the striking lecturers could resume.
He said the loan would also help in addressing urgent accreditation issues.
The Governor informed the unions that All Progressives Congress, APC, Governors had explained the salary situation in the states in a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari and requested a bailout which the President promised to look into.
He expressed hope that with the bailout he could handle arrears and allowances.
Mr Terwase stated that the Benue State Governor should have slashed his salary by half as his counterpart elsewhere to indicate his seriousness in offsetting salary and other debts.
To Ortom the issue of slashing salary does not arise because there is nothing at all on ground for anyone to begin to think of his salary.
He would have wished that Mr Terwase had pointed out sources from which he could draw to sort out the striking teachers instantly.
In the absence of such Governor Ortom has done his best in the circumstances and therefore deserved support and encouragement rather than censure.
Perhaps it might be necessary to assure Benue citizens that Samuel Ortom has never ever disappointed the people in previous assignments whether as council chairman, party administrator at the state and federal levels, Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria or private businessman. He will surely not disappoint as Governor because in God we trust.
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