Ortom decries plan to appoint new first-class chiefs

*Deposed monarch accuses govt of bias

BENUE State Governor-elect, Samuel Ortom is on collision course with Governor Gabriel Suswam administration over the latter’s plan to install first class chiefs before May 29th hand over date, with the governor-elect insisting such last minute appointments would constitute needless financial burden for the incoming government.

Irked by the development, Dr. Ortom addressed a press conference in Makurdi, the state capital, urging the outgoing Governor Gabriel Suswam to stay action on the plan.

Ortom wondered why governor Suswam who is quite aware of the financial crises facing the state, which is owing workers salaries, would rush a law to create 10 first class chiefs in the state. The new law has prompted the Tiv Traditional Council, TTC headed by the Tor Tiv Orchivirgh Alfred Akawe Torkula to begin the process of appointment of six (6) of the first class chiefs with a view to presenting them with staff of office before May 29.

Ortom represented by his deputy, Benson Abounu, appealed to the Tor Tiv and Tiv Traditonal Council to emulate their Idoma counterpart with a view of having a rethink about their involvement in the matter.

“Considering the importance of the traditional institution in our state, it is unacceptable to rush this law. Our state has been literally grounded and the most important objective at the moment should be how to offset salaries and allowances owed workers and stabilize for a smooth take off. We learnt he is planning to do this around 4th, 5th and 6th of May, 2015,” Ortom cautioned.
Meanwhile, Chairman of Gwer-west Traditional Council, Chief Daniel Abomtse has stated that his deposition as Ter Nagi by the Benue State Government yesterday was because he voted for Dr. Samuel Ortom and President-elect, Major General Muhammadu Buhari in the just-concluded general election.

Abomtse, who spoke with The Guardian on the issue, explained that there has been no wrongdoing on his part. He blamed his travails on the fact that he voted for the Governorship candidate of the All Progressive Congress, (APC) as well as the party’s Presidential candidate.
“They decided to deposed me simply because I voted for Dr. Ortom for Governor and General Buhari for president and the votes were huge,” Abomtse stated.

On what would be his next line of action, the deposed chief said he would review and study the issue before taking any decision on the matter.

There was however, protest by youths in Gboko town, the traditional headquarters of the Tiv nation over the sudden deposition of the royal father even as the protesters stormed the palace of the Paramount father of the Tiv nation, Tor Tiv, Alfred Akawe Torkura to register their disapproval to the sack and that of the plans by government to appoints six new first class chiefs in the state.

The protesters that were seen carrying posters with different inscriptions like, Suswam, pay our parents salaries before you create additional traditional tools; we are tired of government nasty policies; our children are out of school etc.

The state government had in a terse letter announced the deposition of Chief Abomtse because of gross misconduct and embarrassment he has caused to the Tiv Traditional Council.

The governor-elect also frowned at the last minute mass recruitment into government ministries, parastatals and agencies as well as indiscriminate promotion and wondered how some of the recruitments are fresh, others are being backdated to 2011 or documented as replacements.

“We want to warn that these recruitments however documented in addition to the promotions are in bad faith and cannot stand. Beneficiaries must be aware and civil servants being used to perpetrate this illegality must be ready to face dire consequences.

Commenting on the issue of the eight (8) SUV vehicles handed over to him and his deputy by the governor; Ortom said the issue has unnecessarily generated a lot of media attention, explaining that the vehicles are government property and not the outgoing governor’s personal donations to him but on behalf of the state government for smooth take-off of the incoming administration.

He said the vehicles would be put to use after his swearing-in. “When we take over, we are going to study the hand-over notes critically. They would not be hanging in the air,” he noted.

At the briefing, Ortom announced his 12-member transition committee, which is headed by a former Head of Service of the State, Hon. Mike Iordye.

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