Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom has warned his critics to stop extending attacks against him and his administration to the incoming government of Fr Hyacinth Alia.
The governor spoke Tuesday during a farewell interface he had with the Tiv Area Traditional Council at the Tor Tiv Palace in Gboko to formally inform them about his exit from office in a few days.
Ortom also urged the Tiv Traditional Council not to allow partisan politics ruin the collective interest of the Tiv nation.
The governor told the traditional rulers that as custodians of the land, they should not allow destructive tenets from their subjects to consume the people in the name of politics, saying politics of bitterness and acrimony must be eschewed to give peace a chance.
He charged the traditional rulers to prevail on their subjects to shun the culture of casting aspersions on their leaders, saying it must stop with his administration and encouraged the people to adopt collective bargaining for the development of the Tiv nation.
“Let the insults, blackmail and lies peddled against me and other leaders end with my administration. Let a line be drawn and should not be transferred to the next administration because it is unhealthy for development,” Ortom stressed, stating that the unity and peace of Tivland must be upheld at all times devoid of partisanship.
Governor Ortom who holds the honorific chieftaincy title of “Nyamkyume i Tiv”, told the traditional rulers that after his exit from office, he would take a back stage however, pledged his allegiance to any noble cause that would advance the interest of the State.
He assured them that even though he was exiting from office, he remained firmly committed to any initiative that was capable of bringing development to Tivland and Benue State in general.
Governor Ortom expressed appreciation to the traditional rulers for always supporting his administration in the past eight years, stating that despite the turbulent moments, they stood by him and he drew strength and inspiration from their counsel and encouragement.
In his response on behalf of the Council, the Tor Tiv and Chairman of Tiv Area Traditional Council, His Royal Majesty, Prof. James Iorzua Ayatse acknowledged how Governor Ortom has stood firm for the protection of his people.
He expressed delight that the governor did not succumb to intimidation, victimisation or blackmail from high quarters, saying that posterity will positively judge the governor for all the sacrifices he has made for his people.
According to him, Governor Ortom was concluding his tenure on a sound footing and was only taking a deserved rest, noting that the Governor will remain relevant in the socio-political affairs of the country and will be needed in future by his people for other responsibilities and encouraged him to remain focused.
The paramount ruler commended the governor for introducing reforms in the traditional institution as well as giving priority to the welfare of traditional rulers, pointing out the construction of ultra modern palaces for the Tor Tiv and Och’Idoma as well as the provision of vehicles, among others.
The Tor Tiv led other traditional rulers to adorn the governor in a Tiv traditional regalia and prayed to God to continue to protect and shield him from aggressors and anyone who plans evil against him, assuring that the blessings of the Tiv traditional Council will accompany the governor in all his endeavors.
Governor Ortom, who later presided over the 10th State Executive Council meeting in 2023 at the Benue Peoples House, Makurdi, said in his opening remarks that he remained grateful to the Benue people for the mandate they gave him to serve.
He emphasised that he committed no crime during his tenure, but simply executed the mandate of the people and would not be afraid to defend his actions, stressing that he has been prudent in the utilization of state resources.
He particularly commended civil servants in the state for their tolerance, stating that “I have been denied resources to clear arrears of salary and pension so that in doing so, the civil servants should rise against me, but I am grateful to them for their understanding,” Governor Ortom added.