The Tiv Youth Council Worldwide (TYCW) has demanded an apology from the Benue State governor, Samuel Ortom for “referring to Benue indigens as a people who only drink alcohol all day without any work but yet insult him for not helping them.
Although the governor had denied that his comment was directed at the entire Benue’s citizens but critics from the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC) members in the state, the TYCW however said Ortom’s comment was derogatory.
The TYCW in a statement signed by its President, Hon. Mike Msuaan and made available to news men in Abuja explained that “it was regrettable that a governor who has not been able to initiate any meaning development nor pay basic salaries of workers, pension and gratuity of retirees would use such derogatory words on a people who are surviving on self help projects.”
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Recall that the governor was quoted to have
accused his critics of “drinking beer from 9am” and sleeping all day while commissioning the new building of RCN Embassy Church in Makurdi, Benue state capital.
According to TYCW, the governor has consistently ignored it’s counsel to partner with relevant Federal Government agencies to attract development to the state rather than dishing out verbal insult to perceived enemies and now the people that he is expected to govern.
“We have severally appealed to Governor Ortom to please concentrate on governance and entrench good governance and responsible leadership in the state.
“We have wondered why development has continued to elude us under Governor Samuel Ortom especially at a time states created several years after Benue have moved with the speed of light.
“Today, we are sad that the governor has moved from from lack of development to verbally dishing out insults. We have listened to an audio recording, read in some National Dailies and online media that while commissioning a Church recently in Makurdi, The governor said that “Our people start drinking from 9AM, some from there go to sleep and from there they will insult the governor.”
“So far, there has been no rebuttal from the government. The response from the CPS was a face saving and damage control blunder, in which, he accepted that Governor Ortom made the comment but it was targeted at APC members.
“Also, Not too long ago, the governor was quoted in the leadership Newspaper and other National dailies as saying that ” IDPs where he hailed from had been stealing from his rice, yam and cassava farms as well as other people’s farms to survive hunger”
“This has generated a lot of comments and condemnation across the country and beyond. Most commentators have opined that it was completely wrong for the governor to describe his people in that light.
“We join well meaning Nigerians to strongly condemn such use of derogatory words on the the good people of Benue state and demand an immediate and unreserved apology from the Governor.
“Such demeaning reference to a people must be condemned by all well meaning people. We call on the Benue state Traditional Council and Religious institutions to call Governor Samuel Ortom to Order.
“We have consistently tasked Governor Ortom to develop the state, create an enabling environment for the people of Benue State to excel.
“The comment is very painful because, the Governor has not conducted any employment exercise since he took over power in 2015. During the 2019, he promised to employ 5000 teachers, lately he reduced the number to 2000, but this has remained in the realm of the wishful thinking.
“The Governor has refused to pay workers and pensioners in the state for several months.
“In addition since he was elected Governor, he has not built any industry to meaningfully employ the people of Benue State. To refer to people in such demeaning diction is reminding our people the pains they have endured for a long time.
“We have continuously appealed to Governor Ortom to liase with the relevant federal government institutions to rebuild, resettle and return the IDPs back to their ancestral home. This appeal falls on deaf ears as the governor prefers to make frivolous statements in the media and fight imagined enemies. We have consistently reminded him that that even in Borno which is almost a war zone, Governor Zulum is resettling his people”, the statement added.