Pita Agbese warned on criticism against Ortom, Suswam, as activists threaten to expose Akume’s maladministration


Nigerian Concord Newspaper

Arise Nigeria,an Abuja-based activists group, on Tuesday cautioned US-based Professor Pita Agbese over his persistent social media attacks on the governor of Benue state, Dr. Samuel Ortom, and his predecessor, Senator Gabriel Suswam.

The group equally threatened to expose the frauds and maladministration that took place under Senator George Akume when he was governor of Benue state between 1999 and 2007 if the Special Duties minister who reportedly hired Agbese to blackmail Ortom fails to stop him from further media attacks.

Recall that Agbese, an indigene of Benue state, was hired by the leaders of APC in the state few months ago to blackmail the Samuel Ortom-led administration.

In a swift reaction to a social media post made by Agbese two days ago where he described the governor as “a sadist and a wicked man”, Arise Nigeria warned that Agbese is doing Ortom more good than harm as every Benue indigene is aware that he is being hired to discredit the performance of the government.

The activists group which spoke in a press statement signed by its Secretary-General, Barriser James Ogbuche, explained that Agbese was wrong to have described Ortom as a sadist who failed to pay workers and pensioners for twenty five months despite the fact that the governor has been able to clear all the salaries and pensions he was owing during the time he was not allowed by ‘the leader’ to function well as the chief executive officer of Benue state.

Arise Nigeria pressed further that the allegation and lies that Ortom is owing twenty five months salaries is just a way to call him a dog so that it can be hanged.

According to the activists group, it is wrong for the Benue APC and the Presidency under Chief of Staff Abba Kyari to sponsor a ” media thug” (Agbese)to accuse Ortom of non payment of salaries even when all the APC governors including President Buhari himself are owing salaries and pensions to the tune of about twelve months.

The statement reads in parts: “There are reports that Senator Akume is the one behind all the media attacks which Professor Pita Agbese has been launching on Governor Ortom for over three months despite that the governor has been doing all his best to make life bearable for everyone in Benue state since he left APC for the PDP.

” Benue people are aware that all the allegations and media attacks against Ortom by the frustrated professor are maliciously carried out to undermine his person and to also discredit his government but, we are appealing to our father, Senator Akume, to sheath his swords and allow Ortom to reign in peace.

“Elections had been won and lost, and we plead with Akume to stop Agbese from causing confusion in Benue state with his alarming and fake reports against Samuel Ortom,his administration and the PDP in the state.

” Ortom is one of the very few governors in Nigeria today that are paying workers salaries, teachers salaries and pensions as and when due so Akume should warn his media attackers under the leadership of Pita Agbese to let him govern in peace.

” However, we shall have no choice than to demand a full report of the frauds that took place under him (Akume) when he was governor between 1999 and 2007, and then expose them to the public.

“We are aware of how Governor Ortom covered and is still covering the financial misappropriations running to N14 billion which were perpetrated by Senator Akume between 1999 and 2007, and we will not hesitate to expose all these if his ” media thug” (Agbese) continues to cause tension in the state with his needless propaganda.

“We shall also join the governor himself in our petition to the EFCC against Akume if he (Ortom) fails to release the reports of the 1999 to 2007 frauds to us”

Arise Nigeria challenged Pita Agbese who has written in his last media post that, Ortom has not been able to do any infrastructural development project for four and half years to point at one single achievement recorded by Akume as Benue governor between 1999 and 2007 other than the few “cosmetic projects he did in Makurdi despite the huge funds he realised for the eight years.

The group said: ” If Prof. Agbese claimed that Governor Ortom has failed to do any infrastructural development projects for four and half years, then what of all the roads that he has built between 2015 and now.

“If Agbese accused Ortom of non performance, then who constructed and completed all the major roads in Makurdi, Otukpo, Gboko, Gbajimba, Naka, Gwer East and West and other towns in the state between 2015 and now?

” We do not support Agbese’s claim that Governor Ortom is a wicked man because the governor who they called a wicked man is one of the best that Benue state has had. How can you call a man who staked his own life as well as his second tenure to ensure that Benue people were free from fulani killers that were being backed by the APC and the FG in the build up to the last general elections.

“He has done well in the areas of road construction both rural and urban, agriculture, health, education, security, investment, youth and women empowerments, water and sanitation, commerce and industry, partnership with international development agencies, skill acquisition, developing traditional institution, labour relations, tackling salaries challenges, cost saving measures, and several others so calling him a wicked man is just a way to undermine his administration”

Arise Nigeria also urged Prof. Agbese to withdraw his statement where he accused both Governor Ortom and Senator Suswam of burying Benue state. The group added that it is only a blind man that will claim ignorance for the way both PDP leaders have been salvaging the state since the governor returned back to the PDP last year.

The group said: “Records are there that Akume and other APC leaders in Benue were responsible for the governor’s avoidable failures between 2015 and 2018. There are also records that the governor was able to make it up to the people of Benue immediately he left the APC and joined the PDP. His achievements between the time he left the APC and the election period were the reasons Benue people voted for him overwhelmingly at the poll.

” Ortom’s laudable achievements when he left the APC last year together with his productive relationship with Suswam made it clear to Benue people that he really meant well for the state in his first term but he was arm-twisted Akume and other APC leaders in the state who were collecting Benue allocations and IGRs from him”