Samuel Ortom, the Benue state Governor, has been accused of denying Rev. Fr. Hyacinth Alia, the traditional compliments due to a Governor-elect.
Dr. Mkor Aondona, Coordinator of Door-to-Door and neighbour-to-neighbour network for Fr. Alia/Ode 2023, made the accusation in a statement issued in Makurdi on Wednesday.
Dr. Aondona said that immediately Rev. Fr. Alia was declared elected as the Governor-Elect of Benue State, four compliments were supposed to have been provided to him by the outgoing government. He listed them to include provision of official accommodation and security; provision of official vehicles, fueling and maintenance; provision for feeding for him and his guests; as well as briefing the Governor-elect on sensitive decisions by the outgoing government.
Aondona explained: “The Governor-Elect was to be relocated from his private residence to a government lodge with government security provided for him. But up to this moment, this has deliberately not been done by the Samuel Ortom outgoing government.
“Immediately Rev. Fr. Dr. Hyacinth Alia was declared elected as the Governor-Elect, the outgoing state government was to take over the responsibility of his feeding, including his guests as well as the provision of his personal effects. But up to this moment, this has deliberately not been done by the Samuel Ortom outgoing government.
“Immediately Rev. Fr. Hyacinth Alia was declared elected as the Governor-Elect, the state government was to make provision for his mobility, fueling and maintenance of vehicles attached to him. But up to this moment, this has deliberately not been done by the Samuel Ortom outgoing government.
“Immediately Rev. Fr. Hyacinth Alia was declared elected as the Governor-Elect, the outgoing state government was to take cognizance that there is an incoming government which ordinarily they should sit together and look at certain last minute policy issues and programmes together, with a view to assessing whether the incoming government was at home with such last minute decisions, policies and programmes. But up to this moment, this has deliberately not been done by the Samuel Ortom outgoing government. Rather, the outgoing government feels more at home by ignoring the significance of the incoming government.”
Aondona’s statement came as a rejoinder to another statement issued by Professor Tony Ijohor, Secretary to the State Government and Chairman of the State Transition Committee in which he accused Rev. Fr. Alia of trying to run a parallel Government in the state. Prof. Ijohor’s statement was also sequel to an earlier letter from the Governor-elect’s Transition Committee accusing the outgoing government of delay in submitting hand over notes and demanding for some specific information.
In his response to Prof. Ijohor’s accusations and counter accusations, Aondona said that the Benue State Governor-Elect’sTransition Committee was, by the instrumentality of delegated authority, entitled to make demands of all or any relevant issues, documents, briefs and notes from the State Transition Committee set up Governor Samuel Ortom, which is equally acting through the instrumentality of delegated authority on behalf of the outgoing government. “Without prejudices, it must be noted that the State Transition Committee is expected not to withhold any relevant information, statistics and documents that would facilitate the handing over, taking over and seamless take off of the incoming government. To this extent, the idea of Professor Tony Ijohor bringing in the argument that Governor Ortom still remains the Governor up to 29th of May, and hence certain information cannot be given to the Benue State Governor-Elect Transition Committee is incredibly ridiculous, totally diversionary and stupendously suspicious of the activities of the outgoing government, as it can also be viewed as a deliberate attempt to frustrate the assignment of the Benue State Governor-Elect Transition Committee set up by His Excellency, Rev. Fr. Hyacinth Alia and the smooth take off of his administration.”
He said that the Governor-Elect has not constituted any parallel State Executive Council or made executive pronouncements both in writing and otherwise to warrant such a false alarm or headline as contained in his wordings that ‘Benue does not have a parallel Government.’
He reiterated that “in the entire history of political transitions in Benue State, this is the first time an outgoing government is deeply entrenched in suspicious secrecy, intentional negligence and bitter denial of issues pertaining to seamless transition to an incoming government.”
Based on the above submissions, Aondona said it was not certain whether the outgoing government was serious about a seamless transition of power to the incoming government of Fr. Alia and urged members of the public to disregard the press statement of Professor Ijohor. “But for sure, power must change hands and God will guide and protect Rev. Fr. Dr. Hyacinth Alia in carrying out the task ahead, and for the greatness of the Benue people.”