For the umpteenth time, the Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom has asked the Federal Government to urgently review the cashless policy to assuage the untold hardship Nigerians are passing through.
He also advised President Muhammadu Buhari to revisit the naira redesign policy before it taints his integrity for the rest of his political career.
Governor Ortom barred his mind Wednesday, February 15th, 2023 at the stakeholders’ meeting on the 2023 general election organised by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC in Benue State.
The Governor insisted that the policy, if not reversed had thrown Nigerians in pains and would ruin the administration of President Buhari, pointing that other countries have changed currency but there was a transition period.
In his words, “This is the worst policy that the President has brought at a time that he is about to leave office. Nigerians are suffering and some are dying.
“I have said it before and let me repeat it again. The people who are advising the President do not mean well for him. He will remain a pain in the neck of Nigerians if he doesn’t reverse this policy. This is not right. Our people are suffering, now you have money in the bank, you cannot spend it, go to the banks and see the queues.”
He went on, “This policy will eliminate his name from being an honourable man of integrity. This policy will ruin him, because the man out there that I represent, the woman, the children are crying, they are feeling the pains,” the Governor stated.
Governor Ortom decried the lawlessness of certain officials of government in the country, stating that if not checked it could lead to anarchy as “democracy is anchored on the rule of law.”
The Governor charged well meaning Nigerians to rise up, emphasising that “Anarchy is looming in this country, a time will come that nobody will respect the Government. Nobody will respect the police, everybody will be on his own and that will be too dangerous and it will be late and there will be monumental losses that will come.”
Governor Ortom reaffirmed his commitment to peaceful elections in the state, noting that everyone can pursue his interest without being violent, killing people or destroying properties.
He particularly commended INEC for the initiative of BVAS and expressed optimism that it will help to lay a foundation for electronic voting in the future and urged the Commission to continue to do its best to improve the electoral system.
Governor Ortom also commended security agencies in the state for putting themselves together in preparation for the elections, warning that the elections must be peaceful and those without Permanent Voters Card must stay away from the polling units on the day of the elections.
The INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner in Benue State, Prof. Sam Egwu in his address commended Governor Ortom for rising above partisanship to participate in the Commission’s programmes.
He disclosed that the State office of the Commission has taken delivery of all BVAS machines for the conduct of elections in the state, which he stated have been subjected to functionality tests and ad-hoc staff for the elections will be given practical training on its usage.
He said the Commission was adequately prepared for the elections in terms of logistics, stressing that the BVAS was not a voting machine but for the purpose of accreditation and voter authentication only.
According to him, the total registered voters in the state was 2,777,727, stating that out of a total of 5,102 polling units in the state, polls will only be conducted in 5,092 polling units considering that of the 1,414 newly created polling units in 2021.
He however announced that elections will not hold in 10 units spread across Buruku, Gboko, Kwande, Makurdi and Okpokwu LGAs because the units had no registered voters.
In his remarks, the Commissioner of Police, Benue State Command, CP Wale Abass lauded Governor Ortom’s none interference in handling security issues and creating enabling environment for sister security agencies in the state to operate seamlessly.
The Police boss emphasised that the police had done threat analysis across the three senatorial zones in the state and were prepared to provide adequate security for the elections.
The PDP governorship candidate in the state, Engr. Titus Uba who also participated in the stakeholders meeting commended INEC for the initiative of bringing all political stakeholders together, emphasising that “after these elections, Benue State will become a reference point for peaceful elections in the country.”
The Tor Tiv, represented by the Tor Lobi, His Royal Highness Moses Anageende as well as the State Chairman of Inter Party Advisory Council, IPAC, Idoko Otene gave goodwill messages during the stakeholders engagement and commended INEC.