Rose Ejembi, Makurdi
Benue State Governor Samuel Ortom on Tuesday said he will not be distracted by antics of the Minister of Special Duties and Intergovernmental Affairs, George Akume.
Ortom, in a statement signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Terver Akase, stated that the former governor had vowed to make Benue State ungovernable for him and has gone ahead to recruit foot soldiers to help him accomplish his mission.
The Governor was reacting to a statement by the media aide to the Minister, Aondona Mkor, where he sought to drag him into his principal’s response to the Benue State Caucus in the National Assembly who recently condemned the Minister’s alleged verbal abuse of the Tor Tiv, His Royal Majesty, James Ayatse.
In the statement, Akume’s media aide blamed Governor Ortom for the barrage of condemnations trailing his principal’s insults on the Tiv paramount ruler who doubles as Chairman, Benue State Council of Chiefs.
The said statement also suggested that Governor Ortom should have been invited by the Tiv Area Traditional Council to give explanations on his performance as Governor, issues of salaries and pensions as well as the construction of a new palace for Tor Tiv.
Reacting, Governor Ortom, saying he does not intend to join issues with Akume, however, noted that at the appropriate time the Minister would be invited to give an account of his stewardship between 1999 and 2007 when he ruled the state as Governor.
“We state that Governor Ortom did not advise Senator Akume to insult the Tor Tiv. It, therefore, amounts to misplaced aggression for Senator Akume’s media aide to blame the Governor over the negative reactions from Benue people regarding his derogatory comments against the Tor Tiv.
“The Special Duties and Inter-Governmental Affairs Minister ought to face the consequences of his public conduct and spare Governor Ortom of any blame.
“As a prominent son of Benue who has occupied top positions, including that of Governor, Senator Akume didn’t need anyone to counsel him on the etiquettes of showing respect for the royal fathers.
“Akume is visibly angry with every Benue person since he lost the 2019 senatorial election and has raised a red flag against his imaginary adversaries.
“He has on several occasions called Governor Ortom unprintable names, but the Governor has chosen not to join the Minister to dance naked. Akume’s recent attack on the Tor Tiv, which has justifiably drawn the ire of the people, only took his plane of insults to a higher altitude.
“The Minister is expected to be busy with his new role and do less of the blame game. It was an insult on members of the Benue State Caucus in National Assembly which comprises a former Governor, former Minister and reputed legislators when Akume insinuated that the lawmakers were sponsored by the Governor to condemn his uncomplimentary statements on the Chairman, Benue State Council of Chiefs,” the statement read in part.