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Ortom, what would you (want to) be remembered for? (Open Letter)

By Simon Imobo-Tswam on 26/03/2017

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•Governor Samuel Ortom.
•Governor Samuel Ortom.

Your Excellency, Chief (Dr.) Samuel Ioraer(nyi) Ortom, good day, sir.

This is another Open Letter, from your friend, brother, loyal subject and dedicated party man, Citizen Simon Imobo-Tswam. So, since I am a Family Member, I mean no harm. 

Sir, since we are in mourning because of Fulani killings and betrayal from our so-called leaders, permit me if I skip vain pleasantries, and go to the meat of the matter.

I desire to know what would you would want to be remembered for when your tenure is over in 2019? What? What is your real mission in Government House, Makurdi (GHM)? What is your vision as a governor? I ask all these because of the many ugly skeletons that are walking out of GHM, and are introducing themselves to shocked Benue residents as: "Mr. Fraud. Chief Betrayal. Hon. Hypocrisy, Dr. Traitor, High-Chief Samaila etc, etc.

It seems because you wanted to prepare the ground to carve out Benue to Fulani people, you set out early to condition our minds for this morbid eventuality. You accordingly started calling them “Indigenous” Fulanis! 

And you proceeded, thence, to execute the biggest betrayal against the people you swore to defend and protect - a betrayal so unfathomably vile that until now, no Benue man thought that it was within the realms of possibility to imagine that it could enter the heart of a native to think it was possible to sell his people to strangers. But this is what you have done.

Sir, you assured us that Benue doesn't have land for cattle-grazing, but you quietly sent a Fulani/Cow Protection bill to the House of Assembly and withdrew the Prohibition of Open Grazing bill you had earlier sent there. This is a bill that seeks to legally transfer our Commonwealth to strangers! And you did it while mouthing your slogan: “In God we trust!”

The common name for this kind of immoral, hypocritical and sinful act is 419! But who am I to suggest that my governor, a pastor, is a 419 kingpin? Let those who were not raised or properly brought up use that type of coarse word on their governor: not me. I will simply say: your action, sir, has left much to be desired. In other words, you are consolidating your standing in Benue state as: Another Hope Betrayed!

Benue people are not cattle-farmers. The very few inductees into Fulani aristocracy via Fulani cows, like you and our distinguished leaders, have ranched their cattle. So, if you turn Benue, as you plan, into a big grazing reserve, would Fulani people give your people farmlands in Sokoto, Kano, Katsina, Kebbi, etc? 

Why, sir, are you even over-concerned about giving lands to Fulani people more  than even their governors in their home-states? Why are you more concerned about “Livestock protection and promotion” and not “Crop Protection and promotion” when your people are majorly farmers?

Is this grand betrayal part of the pre-condition for pre-election support from Abuja or elsewhere? Who has turned you against your people? What do you want to be remembered for? What?

I knew you were running your government on three gears: the Blame-gear; the Excuse-gear; and the Slogans-gear! Today, you have given me cause to hesitatingly add the Fourth-gear: Grand-Betrayal! I want to weep, but even my tears are frozen in my lachrymal glands – too shocked to flow!

Your Excellency, Sir, you have thoroughly abused Alh. Abubakar Tsav, on a number of occasions, for being a “stranger” . . . from Kano! And two things have qualified him for such executive excoriation: his faith and name: Alhaji . . . Abubakar . . . .

Flowing from the above, I find it most strange that you would see strangers from Kano, with the same “strange” names: Abubakar, Ahidjo, Ahmadu, Abdulrahman, Abdullahi, Sorondinki . . ., and proceed to enthusiastically make them “Indigenous” Benue state indigenes!

Your Excellency, some of these Abubakars that you have “indigenously” indigenised while simultaneously disowning the native Abubakar, they are not even Nigerians from Kano or Kebbi or Sokoto – they are from Niger, Mali, Senegal, etc (Source: NGF)!

When these “indigenous” strangers kill Benue people, you call for prayers! When survivors run to an IDP camp, you go there with photographers to make speeches and give them Indomie! And when you go to Abuja, you downplay the on-going genocide against your people as “herdsmen/farmers’ clashes!”

Sir, Benue doesn’t share any boundary with Fulani people! We are not neighbours with them. So, when people leave Sokoto, Kano and Kebbi or even Mali and the Sahara, and they come and  attack us in our state . . . in our local governments . . . on our ancestral “steal, kill and destroy! (your own words) and, consequently dispossess us – is the appropriate word “clashes” or  genocide?

In another place, where public officers have more honour than shame; where integrity counts over and above ambition, you all would have resigned by now i.e. you and your commissioner for justice; you and your fellow-conspirators in the House of Assembly – conspirators against Benue state and all the ethnic nationalities that share in the Benue Commonwealth!

But I don’t kid myself: there is no honour among public officers in Nigeria; and government is increasingly looking more like organised crime, where “the best lack all conviction while the worst are full of passionate intensity!”

Meaning? You will not resign. You will not even think about it – that would be asking too much!

But, sir, I ask what is within the realm of possibility.

Are you going to address the Benue people on this monumental scandal, this grand betrayal, this abuse of office and this hypocritical/sanctimonious posturing – a quatro-liability that is bound to echo or reverberate for a long time to come?

Would you confess your sin, ask for forgiveness tomorrow (Saturday) so you can go to church on Sunday with the weight of this grand-betrayal lessened or would you just “bone face” as the acclaimed Tse-pati and carry on in the spirit of an executive governor? Or would you keep quiet and add this heavy burden, this Fulani-gate, to your inverted pyramid of burdens: gross under-performance, the salary albatross, the wage bill padding, the contract scandals, Gana-gate, Ikyange-gate, the Okefe-gate, the bailout-gate, Agatu-gate, etc?

If you choose not to address us or ask for our forgiveness, what can we, the people, do? NOTHING! After all, is that not your name: IORAERNYI? (Translation: What can the people do?)! But, Your Excellency, Sir, THERE IS GOD! And He rules in the affairs of men!

Lastly, what would you would want to be remembered for, Sir? Gov. Aper Aku gave us Lobi Bank, Makurdi Modern Market, Taraku Mills, Otukpo Burnt Bricks, Idah Sanitary Wares, Benue Breweries, Aper Aku Stadium, State Secretariat . . . Fada Moses Adasu gave us Benue State University (BSU) in his interrupted tenure of less than two years! And while Gov. Akume gave us the College of Health Sciences as well as Judges Quarters, Dr. Gabriel Suswam’s bold legacy stands him out as Mr. Infrastructure!

Your Excellency, Sir, you are completing your second year shortly, with nothing on the ground to show that you are in office. Do you desire to make up this deficiency by entering history as the governor who sold his people and their Commonwealth to agents of native imperialism?

Chief (Dr.) Samuel Ioraernyi Ortom, the choice is yours. But as the Owelle of Onitsha, Chief (Dr.) Rt. Hon. Nnamdi Azikiwe, once said: “History will vindicate the just, but God will punish the wicked!”

Thank you, Sir.

Imobo-Tswam, a pastor and public affairs analyst, writes from Abuja. He can be reached @ 


Source News Express

Posted 26/03/2017 8:18:16 PM





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