By Yinka Adeniran, Ibadan
Benue State Governor Samuel Ortom has said all those who are seeking to shut him up from speaking out his mind in criticizing the ruling government, especially on issues that affect the country, should ensure that they serve the people of the country justice, fairness and equity.
Describing himself as a man who stands and seek justice, equity and fairness in all things, Ortom challenged the All Progressive Congress (APC) led Federal Government to provide the needed leadership for the country, saying “our people are in pains.”
The Benue governor spoke on Thursday at the commissioning ceremony of the 65km Moniya-Ijaiye-Iseyin which held at Akinyele local government secretariat, Moniya, Ibadan.
He said “Oyo and indeed the Yoruba nation have always stood with and supported the oppressed and have always been the voice of the oppressed in the country right from the inception.
“That is what I stand for. I seek for justice, equity and fairness. For those who feel that Samuel Ortom is talking too much, I want to appeal to them, to give me justice, give our people justice, give our people fairness and ensure equity. I promise you that I will never say anything again.”
He called on the APC led federal government to rise up and give leadership to the country noting that the situation of things was not as bad as it is today when the party took over reigns of affairs in 2015.
“Let me once again call on the APC led Federal Government to rise up and give leadership. Our people are in pains.
“From the North-East, North Central, North-West, South-South, South East and Southwest, everyone is faced with security challenges. Without security, there can be no meaningful development except in PDP controlled states.
“I want to challenge the APC in this country because they have failed. Economically, security wise, socially and politically, the APC government is in deficit.
“Government is all about providing security for lives and property. Government is about providing infrastructure like the one we are doing here today.
“Today, I am here in Oyo state, my brother (Makinde) was in Adamawa; a PDP controlled state earlier to commission project and lay foundation. Go to Rivers state, everyday what you see is laying of projects or commissioning of project, the same thing in Bauchi state, go to Sokoto and other PDP controlled states, you will see development. That is what leadership is and that is what the people of Nigeria are yarning for,” he said.
While commending the host Governor Seyi Makinde on his efforts, he urged him never to contemplate leaving the people but work with them and do what they want to feel their pains.
He added “I commend my brother, that within the spate of two years, we are here to commission among others, a 65km of roads duly asphaltic with a guarantee of 20 years. I congratulate you my brother.
“And I believe and trust that he will do more for the people of the state. I commend Oyo people for giving him the backing and support.
“Don’t ever contemplate on leaving your people, work with them, do what they want, feel their pains, share their pains and also give them leadership that will lead them out of their pains.”
Earlier in his remark, Governor Makinde accused the immediate past administration of using jargon to deceive the people all in their effort to embezzle funds.
He recounted that the project was earlier awarded at a cost of N7billion by the immediate past administration who also paid N2billion to the control that could not do anything about the road for about two years.
He said he had to terminate the contract and re-awarded at a higher cost because of some other things factored into the construction.
He also disclosed that he had succeeded in recovering N1billion from the initial contractor, threatening that he would likewise recover the huge amount of money spent on the Ologuneru-Eruwa road.
Makinde said “Although a contract for rehabilitation of this road was awarded by the previous administration, our initial inspection visits in 2019 revealed that the contractors had not even done 5 percent of the work here before abandoning it. We therefore had to revoke and re-award the contract.
“Well, the immediate past administration, they had a language they use when they want to embezzle money, they use the word ‘limited rehabilitation’, so a contract was awarded for the limited rehabilitation of this road for N7billion.
“Before we came, they already paid N2billion and they gave the contract to one Oladiran Associate. They didn’t do anything serious for over two years and they collected N2billion but I recovered N1billion from the money.
“So, when we awarded the road for N9billion, they accused us that the road they approved for N7billion, we awarded for N9billion that we don’t know what we are doing.
“In the same manner, they awarded Ologuneru-Eruwa road for N10billion on Limited Rehabilitation. You all can go there to see the level of work done. They already paid N6billion out of the N10billion but as I have recovered N1billion on this Moniya-Iseyin road, I will also recover the money on the Ologuneru-Eruwa road too.”
The event was attended by top government functionaries.
Highpoint of the event was the cutting of the tape of the road by Governor Ortom, cultural presentation by dancers both from Benue and Oyo among other things.