Ortom, Rivers PDP bicker over calls for probe of Paris Club refund

Samuel Ortom

Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Rivers State are bickering over calls for the probe of Paris Club refund.Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Terver Akase, in a statement described Rivers State governor, Nyesom Wike’s call for probe of Ortom as not only laughable but also diversionary.

He said Wike was apparently trying to divert attention from the gross failure of governance and stinking corruption being witnessed in Rivers State.“Governor Wike’s call for the probe of last December’s Paris Club refund to Benue is a poor diversionary tactic. It is on record that Governor Samuel Ortom was the first to declare the Paris Club refund to Benue and stated specifically how much the state was expecting many weeks before the funds came in. When the N12.7 billion was released, the governor made it public including the disbursement for workers’ salaries. Governor Wike on the other hand has not made known to Rivers people the amount the state received as the first tranche of the refund.

But the PDP chairman in Rivers, Felix Obuah, has extended invitation to Governor Ortom to come and assess the developmental projects of the Wike’s administration.Obuah maintained that infrastructural, human capacity and institutional development have been top priorities of the Wike administration for which Rivers people, residents and business operators in the state are happy about.

He expressed grave concern over the insecurity leading to continued loss of lives of innocent citizens in Benue State under the watch of Mr. Ortom,
noting that any government worth its salt should be able to provide security for its citizens, a great feat that the Wike administration has achieved.

The PDP chairman regretted that Benue State governor, was unable to pay monthly salaries of civil servants running into several months, after borrowing over N60 billion in seven months.

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  • Lemmuel Odjay

    Governor Ortom: I thought the question asked you should have been: “As in the fashion of JAMB and WAEC, we urge you to please publish the names of those Benue State civil servants whose salaries you claimed to have paid from the Paris Club refund and then provide a verifiable balance sheet assessment to back it up.” Is that too difficult to achieve? What say ye?

    I paid a visit to Oju a couple of weeks ago and, brother, the town was not better than it used to be decades ago, while Makurdi, the state capital, remains much like a town fit only for retirees who would love to settle there and spend long evenings on reclining chairs whistling to the tune: “All I Have To Do Is Dream.”

    Thanks to guys like the late Aper Aku, who rebuilt the town and breathed the air of modernity into what used to be a gigantic ghetto. But that’s a long while ago and modernity, like every living thing needs to be fed or it’d fall apart with time. You have done nothing much in this direction, and the Makurdi I saw was one that betrayed the symptoms of anaemic anoxia. Your recent predecessors did even worse than you are doing. Street people in your state are beginning to say, and I believe, that “Ortom only talks.” So stop complaining and start working. We are watching you, sire…

    P.H., Port Harcourt. Some Nigerians love to call it “Pitakwa” or “Garden City” or recently, “Silver Acid Rain.”
    Governor Wike, the new sheriff in town, I salute! Here comes Wike the Johnny-be-good, so be good! But, is Johnny himself really good? Time will tell.

    To be fair to Wike, Port Harcourt, after Lagos, is Nigeria’s most challenging city in terms of management and system controllability. Like Lagos, it has very limited space for expansion, no thanks to the constraints posed by the presence of the Atlantic, or lagoon, largely in the case of Lagos. But P.H. is the Oil and Gas capital of Nigeria, and the nation’s second highest recipient of internally generated revenue. This has attracted negatives one of which is cultism, a menace that is defying even Wike’s dogged approach to Change and development. I will rate him at the end of his tenure by how much he has done to dislodge cultism in Rivers State.
    The crime of kidnapping is also rife in his state, not to mention its laissez-faire society that tends to encourage gun-totting cowboys who roam unhindered. To embark on wide scale road construction yet ignore the provision of workable solutions to the pressing issues of cultism, kidnapping and political rascality in the state is, in my opinion, a dent in Governor Wike’s reputation. My advice to Rivers State PDP’s Governor Wike as he resumes the middle stanza of his four-year term in office is, to ensure that he keeps a verifiable account of public monies spent by the state. He should, as a matter of integrity, avoid the urge to seek a senatorial seat just after serving out his term(s) as governor, as some ex governors are in the habit of doing – a move many Nigerians now consider as attempting to hide under the immunity clause in a bid to avoid prosecution for misdemeanours. There will be dozens of petitions and accusations levied against him in relation to financial misappropriations etc. at the end of his tenure. His ability to stay and deflect such accusations by showing credible proof will stand him out as a man with the character of steel which he has always claimed to be.

    In my opinion, there is nothing wrong in Governor Wike’s Rivers State’s PDP chapter calling for a probe of the way money from the Paris Club refund was spent by Governor Ortom of Benue State. We should separate the politics from the real issues in this matter in order to see things with clarity and perception. Governor Ortom’s response should have been to publicize the financial account of the spending before all and sundry, if only to prove his “detractors” wrong. We are waiting for this report, complete with all the details. Failure could only mean one thing: the possibility that money from the Paris Club refund that was received by Benue State Governor Ortom was misappropriated. Over to you, Governor Ortom and fellow Nigerians.