Ortom Blames Challenges for Poor Delivery of Democratic Dividends

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George Okoh in Makurdi

Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State has blamed the numerous challenges that confronted the state in the last three years as the reason the state is unable to meet all the promises he made during his electioneering campaign.
The governor made the statement recently while briefing reporters in Makurdi, the state capital.

He said in the last three years, he had worked assiduously to keep the contract he had with the people of the state but due to some unforeseen challenges it became difficult to fulfil all the promises.

“Though many challenges and giants have stood in our way to prevent us from delivering on the promises we have tried to provide dividend of democracy to our people.”

He said the State is faced with huge humanitarian crisis as a result of displacement of over 180,000 persons as a result of suspected Fulani herdsmen invasion and appealed for intervention from well-meaning Nigerian to assist them.

He said in three years, his administration has recorded achievements in the area in education in awarding contract for the rehabilitating and furnishing over 740 schools with only 400 completed, noting that those who failed to execute their contract, have had them terminated and asked to make refunds.

The governor said 40 primary health centers have been built through the Sustainable Development Goals programme, adding that 170 doctors whose graduation were stagnated for a long time, succeeded in graduating from the Benue State Medical College just as the School of Nursing and Midwifery has been affiliated to the college of Health to be a degree awarding institute.

“On assumption of office, we inherited 11 road projects; some have been completed while others are at completion stages and would be commissioned soon. We declared amnesty for repentant criminal element in line with international codes, passed and are implementing the anti-open grazing law. We enacted the law banning cultism.”
While answering questions on whether Benue people will vote President Muhammadu Buhari for second term despite the killings by herdsmen, Ortom said “there is no permanent enemy or permanent friend in politics but permanent interest.

According to him, “Buhari will definitely come for campaign; I cannot preempt what he will say, or what Benue people will say. But in politics, there is no permanent enemy or permanent friend but permanent interest.
“If his (Buhari) interest is in line with the interest of people of Benue and he asks them for their vote, they will vote him, likewise my own, if my interest is in line with the people they will vote for me.
“But one thing I want you to know is that the herdsmen/farmers clashes predate this government, so it will be a fallacy to conclude that herdsmen killings in the state be linked to Buhari,” he added.