Governor Ortom Reacts To Report Of Distributing Wheelbarrows For Youth Empowernment
Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom on Thursday said that his political opponents jealous of his achievements are blackmailing him towards 2019 elections over wheelbarrow distribution in the state.
Briefing State House correspondents at the end of the National Economic Council (NEC) meeting at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, Ortom said that such opponents are latching on rumour in attempt to diminish his rising profile.
He said that it was regrettable that deliberate lies were being told against him by people scheming to gain advantage in the run up to 2019 general election.
On the accusations of disturbing wheelbarrows for empowerment, he said: “That is outright falsehood. There is no iota of truth. It is meant to scandalize, blackmail and to reduce my rising profile in Benue because of achievements we have recorded during these two years.
“When you hear the likes of David Mark, who are supposed to be an elder statesman, go to make false propaganda against people who are supposed to be his subjects, I used to regard him as an elder, but it’s unfortunate he is telling lies.
“Those wheelbarrows were brought to us by National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), to be distributed to displaced people who need them.
“They actually need those wheelbarrows and they were given to the state emergency relief body for onward distribution to the victims. And for whatever reasons, the agency wrote my name that I was distributing it.
“But as soon as that was drawn to my attention, I refuted it and I said this is not my property.
“In empowerment, I have several programmes for the youth and this one is not meant for the youths. It was distributed to displaced people.
“So, it was just meant to blackmail me because PDP in Benue are still dreaming, including David Mark, that I am governor and I won election.
“I left them (PDP) because of the injustice they did to me and I came to APC and found a platform. The people accepted me and I won. They are out to blackmail me and it will not work because there is no iota of truth.”
On the jealous opponents, he said “Of course, they have been propagating that they want to take over the leadership in 2019 but I think they are just dreaming because even when it was pepper, I was able to finish the food, how much more now that it’s with chicken and sesame seed. You know it’s easier to eat and the people we are working with, we have gotten more support.
“More people have decamped from the PDP to the APC. So, where will they go? The local government elections is coming up on June 3. I want them to come up and compete.
“It’s unfortunate that even to present candidates, there are factions and up till today.
“I am told that they have six candidates out of the 23 local governments. It is their problem. They should go and sort out their own problem. All I am concerned is to bring development to my people.” he said
Ortom said that he has invited former Senate President, David Mark, to a meeting where he presented his administration’s second year scorecard but he declined, adding that other Benue citizens however applauded his effort.
He said: “On the 22 May, I invited all Benue stakeholders, David Mark was invited and I was given standing ovation. That alone is an indication that Benue people are pleased with me in all sectors despite all the challenges especially in funding.
“I have cleared arrears of salaries. These people are just jealous, David Mark is jealous and all his cohorts are jealous. They have left Benue State and went to Rivers and met and came and disturb us in Benue State. Let them come to Benue State.” he added
He maintained that his problem with Mark was not about a quarrel but spreading of falsehood, adding however that he would take any opportunity to discuss the issue over with the former Senate president.
He said “I don’t think it’s about quarrel. For a very senior citizen of that level to spread falsehood and tell lies against his governor when I invited them to stakeholders meeting where my two year scorecard was delivered to my people and they accepted it and appreciated what we are doing and he refused to come only to go to Rivers and be telling lies against me, It’s unfortunate.
“Anytime I have the opportunity I think we will discuss things over,” he stated.
It would be recalled that while commissioning some projects executed by Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers state recently, Mark had alluded to the fact that while Wike was commissioning roads, some state governors were busy distributing wheelbarrows to their citizens.