Samuel Ortom, immediate past Governor of Benue State, has expressed dissatisfaction with how his successor, Governor Hyacinth Alia, is going about soiling his image while handling the State’s affairs.
The former Governor who accused Alia of subjecting him to all manner of persecution and media trial, also claimed that his successor is on a mission to tarnish his reputation by accusing him of looting government assets in collusion with members of his then cabinet.
Ortom’s media aide, Terver Akase made particular reference to the text of Governor Alia’s statement last week when he inaugurated two Assets Recovery Committees for the State and Local Government Councils.
Akase noted that, every step and action his principal took especially the ones that related to sales and ownership of government properties followed the due process.
“Since Governor Hyacinth Alia assumed office, he has subjected his predecessor, Samuel Ortom to all forms of persecution. If he is not accusing the former Governor of looting the state’s treasury and assets, he is blaming him for providing employment to Benue youths.
“Since May 29, 2023, Governor Alia and his team have been intent on tarnishing Ortom’s hard-earned reputation by putting him on trial in the media. Their latest move was the inauguration of the “Assets Recovery Committee”, where they once again accused the former Governor of looting government assets in collusion with members of his former cabinet.
“Governor Alia has become a judge in his own case. He has convicted the immediate past Governor even before the committee on assets recovery would commence its assignment, thereby violating the principle of ‘audi alterem partem’ (“listen to the other side”, or “let the other side be heard as well.”)
“Despite the motive behind the probe, it is important to note that due process was followed by the Ortom administration in all its actions, including the allocation of vehicles to outgoing government officials and the auction of some public property.
“As previously mentioned, the then Benue State Executive Council made the decision to grant waivers to government officials, including the Governor and his Deputy, to allow them to retain their official vehicles. The Council also approved the auction of certain assets that were no longer of value to the government.
“Our advice to Governor Alia remains the same; focus on governance and deliver on the numerous promises he made to the people during the campaigns. Blaming Chief Ortom for the government’s lack of progress in addressing development issues does not lend credibility to the current administration,” the statement read.