DAILY FILE – Benue State Governor Samuel Ortom, says there will be increased welfare of staff and salaries will be paid as and when due in his second term.
The governor stressed that, he is determined to do more for the people of the state in his second term.
Ortom, who made the promise during his inaugural address shortly after taking oath of office for his second term as Governor stated that his government, is “determined to do more than ever before to pay back the love and abiding faith which the good people of Benue have shown by giving us a second chance.”
The Governor noted that he will emphasise inclusiveness with regular consultation with stakeholders including farmers, traders, market women, traditional Rulers, religious leaders, student leaders, unions and associations while transparency and accountability will remain the trade mark of his administration.
“There will be increased welfare of staff and salaries will be paid as and when due,” Ortom says, while commending workers, civil servants and pensioners in the state for their understanding, insisting that by the grace of God, the problem of wages, pensions and gratuity will be resolved in his second term.
He is confident that the recently passed New Pension Scheme bill into law by the State Assembly will help in addressing the protracted issue of pensioners and pension arrears.
“We are hopeful that this law and all the necessary ingredients of good governance will be deployed. Our government will be small, smart and prudent,” he insists.
The Governor names other areas of focus in his next four years to include: Reconciliation, peace and security; widen the scope of rural and urban critical infrastructures; revitalization of agricultural industrialization; promotion of human capital development with emphasis on steam based quality education and unveiling the Benue of our dream with can-do spirit.
Ortom, who itemised his achievements in the last four years according to the five thematic areas of his policy direction, informs that “strength does not come from what you can do. Strength comes from overcoming the things you thought you could not do.”
While reiterating his call to those who contested the 2019 Benue Governorship election with him and other political leaders to join hands with him to move Benue forward, Ortom adds that “we have gone past the time for politicking. I assure all of you that by the Grace of God, I remain the governor of those who voted for me. I am the governor of those who did not vote for me. I am the governor of those who did not vote. I am the governor of all.”
Talking about the challenges he faced in his first four years, Ortom notes: “One of the biggest challenges this administration has faced is the threat to security caused by the invasion of our land and killing of hundreds of our people by armed herdsmen militia.
“Between January 2018 and today, armed herdsmen have killed about 700 people in Benue State. There are now about 180,000 Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), in eight IDPs camps located in Guma, Logo, Agatu and Makurdi Local Government Areas. Besides, over 500,000 are living in uncompleted buildings and in host communities.”
Now, he says the challenge is “how to get the displaced persons back to their ancestral homes as there are still sporadic attacks by herdsmen. The situation is also a major threat to food security as we are already in another cropping season.
“In addition, the education of the future generation is also under threat due to the destruction of educational facilities by herdsmen. This situation is also affecting maternal and child health as most of the primary healthcare centers in the affected places has been destroyed by the rampaging herdsmen.”
He however commends President Muhammadu Buhari “for responding to the call of Benue people to launch Operation Whirl Stroke in Benue State. Men and officers of Operation Whirl Stroke are doing a good job in the state. The President also promised to resettle the IDPs.
“However, the Federal Government is yet to fulfill the promise to resettle the IDPs who are going through untold hardships. The capacity of the state to cater for the IDPs is now overstretched. As more rain comes, the situation of IDPs has become urgent and critical that the United Nations and International community should not ignore.”
The Governor therefore, calls “on the national government to urgently attend to this humanitarian crisis” and assures that he will continue to do everything lawfully possible to ensure that peace is maintained in all parts of the state.
“I know that my second tenure in office will be greater than the first because the end of a thing is greater than its beginning,” says the Governor.
Two former Senate Presidents from the State, Senators Iyorchia and David Mark said what the Governor owes Benue people is performance and nothing short of that, stressing that on their part, they owe the Governor support and sincere advice.
Senators-elect for Zones A, B and C, Messrs Gabriel Suswam, Orker Jev and Abba Moro respectively said the last election was an indication that Benue people need to be respected as a people, saying they would better swim or sink together as a people.
Governor Ortom performed his first official assignment at the venue of the inauguration by swearing in Secretary to the State Government, SSG, Prof. Anthony Ijohor and Chief of Staff, Mr. Terwase Orbunde.
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