In a significant development, the Benue State Government has announced its plan to officially hand over power to the incoming administration on Sunday, May 28, 2023. The decision aims to streamline the transition process and avoid any prolongation of events on Monday, May 29. Governor Samuel Ortom emphasized the importance of the incoming administration judiciously utilizing the N62 billion Federal Government funds, intended for the payment of salaries, pensions, and gratuities, to settle all outstanding bills and arrears.
During a briefing with journalists after the State Executive Council Meeting, Commissioner for Information, Micheal Inalegwu, expressed lamentation over the denial of the funds to Governor Ortom for political reasons. The funds were allocated to all states for the purpose of addressing salary, pension, and gratuity obligations. Governor Ortom urged the incoming administration to leverage these funds to alleviate the financial burdens faced by workers and pensioners in the state.
Governor Ortom further affirmed his commitment to facilitating a smooth transition by establishing an atmosphere of cordiality with the incoming administration. He expressed his intention to remain available for five months after the official handover and Democracy Day before considering any other endeavors.
Regarding the allocated funds, it was revealed that N42 billion was designated to settle arrears owed to workers and pensioners. Unfortunately, due to political obstacles, Governor Ortom was unable to access the funds. Additionally, N20 billion was intended for rural infrastructure development, specifically the construction of rural roads. However, Benue State was excluded from receiving these funds due to the governor’s vocal stance on the issue of herdsmen killings, which was not well-received by the Federal Government.
In another distressing development, Dr. Etito Obediah Idiriakpo, a medical practitioner attached to the Federal Medical Centre Makurdi, was kidnapped by unidentified gunmen in the capital city of Benue State. Governor Ortom urgently called upon security agencies to ensure the safe and unhurt release of Dr. Etito.
Furthermore, the State Government has announced plans to honor one of its illustrious sons, Maj. Gideon Orkar, by naming a 9.7-kilometer road after him. Maj. Gideon Orkar, who was killed after a failed coup during the administration of Gen. Ibrahim Babangida in 1990, will be recognized for his significant contributions to the development of the state and for the accuracy of his prophetic statements that have come to pass, making him a hero in the eyes of the state.
As the transition of power approaches, the people of Benue State eagerly anticipate a smooth transfer of leadership and the effective utilization of allocated funds to address pressing issues within the state