From John Shiaondo, Makurdi:
Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue,,North Central geopolitical zone of the country, has advised those calling for devolution of powers and restructuring to channel their proposals to the National Assembly for consideration instead of seeking what he described as cheap popularity in the media.
The Governor who spoke to journalists on resumption from his two-week leave, said both the red and green chambers of the Assembly comprise of elected representatives of all parts of the country , adding that effective discussion on the issue of restructuring of the country cannot take place without the involvement of the National Assembly.
According to him, the National Assembly which is made up of 109 Senators and 360 House of Representatives members, cutting across ethnic, religious, professional and social divides are well experienced and capable of deciding the destiny of the nation.
According to the Governor, “Restructuring mean different things to different people, and in my opinion some of these people agitating for restructuring do not understand what it means, they are just using it for selfish purposes.”
On President Buhari’s health the Benue was among those that initiated prayer for him, noting that some people were rather wishing the President dead instead of praying for his recovery.
The governor, noted that just as the Bible says, it is good to pray for leaders adding, “the leaders are not super humans, they are people like you and they need your prayers. If your President is sick know that the whole country is sick, so it is better praying than insulting him.”
He said, “I feel so sad and I pray that, may God forgive all those that have been saying all kind of things against Mr. President. He is our president, God brought him and he has been doing well.
“Who, ever thought that we could fight corruption to this level?
“All of you know that the problem of Nigeria is nothing but corruption, who was ready to take the bull by the horn other than Buhari, a man of integrity, a man that fought for the unity of this country, he needs that support.”
He urged Benue people to be prayerful, emphasising that he would not arm thugs in the pursuit of election like the previous administration did during the last general elections.
He said the issue of 2019 would not preoccupy his mind at the moment because he was engaged with statecraft pointing out that even if he did not seek reelection he would be fully occupied with other things after the expiration of his first tenure. The governor also said he has directed that a staff audit be carried out at the state-owned university so that staff strength and actual wage bill could be determined.
He stated that the directive became necessary in order to check fraud and ensure prudence in the management of the lean finances of the state, maintaining that the management of the institution has also been directed to use its internally generated revenue to pay earned academic allowances.
According to the governor, the directive was part of the agreement reached between the state government and the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, Benue State University, BSU, chapter.
He said the screening committee led by his deputy, Engr. Benson Abounu, would take the ongoing screening of workers to a logical conclusion adding that the Tertseagh Ikyaabo staff audit committee had earlier discovered massive fraud within the system. On the anti-grazing law, he said: “For us in Benue there is no going back on implementation of the law, we have modalities already set, so if anyone wants to keep animals in Benue state they must seek permission of the authority and ranch their animals, several people have also started cueing into the programme.
“Even Miyyetti Allah knows that ranching of animals is the best practice of animal husbandry, and as I keep saying, it is not about targeting Fulani people, it is about protecting farm crops, so pigs are involved.”