By Peter Duru – Makurdi
The Benue Youth Forum, BYF, has urged the presidency to stop denigrating the person of Governor Samuel Ortom for speaking out against the maladministration of the All Progressive Congress, APC, led Federal Government and respond to issues raised by the Governor in his media outings and the recent Arise TV interview.
Governor Ortom in the said interview had raised issues of bad governance as well as the failure of the Federal Government to guarantee the safety and well being of Nigerians.
However, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu had countered the Governor in a statement, claiming that the Governor was diverting attention from his inability to deliver in his responsibilities.
But in a statement Thursday in Makurdi captioned, ‘again, presidency fails to address issues Governor Ortom raised’, the President of BYF, Terrence Kuanum maintained that Governor Ortom remained one of the strong voices of helpless Nigerians in the face of impunity, marginalization and injustice being perpetrated in the country.
According to Kuanum, “he is a true patriot who has constantly challenged the Federal Government to fulfill its promises to provide security for the people, end corruption and fix the economy.
“Instead of responding to the burning issues of national interest raised by the Governor, the Presidency through Mallam Garba Shehu elects to attack his person.
“Why has the Presidency not responded to Governor Ortom on the fact that under its watch, Nigeria is witnessing the highest level of corruption in the country’s history? Why has the Presidency not faulted Governor Ortom on his statement that the nation is experiencing the worst spate of insecurity since its independence?
“Why has the Presidency not proven Governor Ortom wrong on the glaring reality that the economy has collapsed with inflation, unemployment and poverty hitting an all-time high with millions of Nigerians rendered destitute?
“Why has the Presidency not countered Governor Ortom that under Buhari, Nigerians are more divided than at any other time in the history of the country with nepotism elevated and the people told to go to hell?
“Why has the Presidency not proven the Benue State Governor wrong on his statement that it accords preference to cattle over human life? Has President Buhari not gone on national television many times to insist that cattle routes must be created in parts of the country to grant easy passage to the animals?
“The above are only a few of the issues Governor Samuel Ortom has constantly raised on behalf of millions of Nigerians who do not have a voice. We therefore expected the Presidency to respond specifically to those issues and not castigate the Governor.
“We advise the Presidency to leave Governor Ortom alone. The Governor is not responsible for the failure of the present government at the centre. The Presidency has the option of apologizing to Nigerians for its inability and deception.
“In the meantime, we restate our solid stand behind our Governor in his unmistakable presentations on national issues and the recommendations he often makes for the way forward.
“This is democracy anchored on constitutional laws and no longer military decrees. The Federal Government must allow Nigerians the freedom to express their views on issues affecting them.
“We call on all patriots to caution the Presidency to desist from attacking those who make their opinions public on issues. President Buhari was elected to serve the entire country not only the interest of a few.
“We wish to remind Garba Shehu and others that posterity is the judge. They should remember the evergreen words of the late renowned journalist Dele Giwa when he said in 1984 that: ‘Any evil done by man to man will be redressed, if not now, then certainly later, if not by man, then certainly by God, for the victory of evil over good can only be temporary’, he said.