By Solomon Semaka Coordinator, Central Civil Society Organizations in Nigeria. Benue state.
There was a time in this country that we had surplus; and monies were shared left, right and center from the excess crude account to ecological funds and the rest across state governments…
This was the same time that my boss, was busy selling government shares at Julius Berger, BCC, BBL, Taraku Mills, etc… Against all good advice.
This was a time that activities of local governments were privatized by some privileged few who know themselves…. Which led to the mismanagement of teachers salaries and local government personel emolument..
This was a time that SURE P funds were misappropriated with reckless abandon and pension funds pilfered beyond imagination..
This was a time that permanent secretaries all became rich to contest for Governorship elections.. This was a time, one character was building international conglomerates.. This was a time that normal people became demi gods based on exposure to illegitimate and unmerited wealth… This was a time that young ladies who stumbled into the people in power were sent abroad for higher degrees and bought cars, while others got houses and businesses… Just for being pretty and loose…. BECAUSE there was enough… money!!! Perhaps only not enough for legitimate obligations.. (salaries and pensions inclusive)
Yet…Yet…..salaries and pensions and gratuity of our parents were not cleared… This continued up to the last year of the last administration. (2015).
If my boss had left government on a clean slate, we wouldn’t have to mention his name no matter what he did….
Now, having sold almost everything without clearing issues… Samuel Ortom took over with a team that lacks sincerity and capacity and genuine love for service to Benue people, they have succeeded in creating so many troubles for him in two years more than former cabal did in eight years.
Now, I understand that Ortom has borrowed and received billions in loans, and bailout packages and all that without finding his feet in government. With salaries being a major set back for the government…
Today, I heard he has proposed to seek an advance of N30B from the financial market.
Now, the people are trying to oppose it but I think to be fair to the suffering masses it’s important that the money is received and salaries cleared so that we can prepare for the future… To pay back through our industry as a people instead of continued suffering via non payment of legitimate entitlements.
However, I want to tell the governor that he needs a total overhaul in the cabinet in order to achieve the above goal… The current cabinet is grossly incompetent and fundamentally anti- people and quite frankly bereft of the what is needed to salvage the situation that we have found ourselves in.
I understand that the continued taking of loans is dangerous to the future of the state but of course, Akume And Gabriel Suswam started the culture, so it can not be jettisoned now.. Especially as our parents are already bearing the brunt.
I just only hope, that loan would be used to totally offset all salaries and pending pensions and gratuity issues…
Anything short of this would equal to final internment for this administration.
Finally, I want to correct the impression that it’s only Ortom that borrows, Suswam too sold our future to only God knows where and why….
We pray these guys in power show us some mercy for once…
His Excellency please take the loan…. I endorse it.
The civil society in Benue endorses it too.