The Presidency yesterday evening described Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue as a failed politician who apportions blame for his inability to perform.
It, however, lauded President Muhammadu Buhari for being a leader who, in over six years, had succeeded in repatriating billions of dollars stolen by past administrations from overseas.
In a statement, ‘The Incongruence of Governor Samuel Ortom on ARISE TV’, signed by presidential media aide Garba Shehu, the Presidency stated that Ortom was fond of blaming Buhari for failing to deliver democracy dividends to Benue people.
The Presidency said in comparison, Buhari as a leader, rather than blaming past administrations, swung into action recovering stolen funds stashed overseas and streamlining the several public accounts into one Treasury Single Account (TSA).
“There are two types of politicians in Nigeria today. The first are politicians who are leaders that offer solutions to the challenges facing the voters and the country. They bring forward policies, and implement them, to improve the lives of others,” explained the statement. “The second, politicians who offer excuses for the challenges voters face. They avoid ideas and instead blame others for problems they have either not solved or have themselves created.”
The Presidency concluded that the Benue governor belonged to the second group of politicians.
Explaining why, it noted that Ortom “inherited unpaid salaries and pension arrears – and rather than find a way” to raise funds to pay them, he blamed Buhari.
“This is a president who has not failed to pay the salary of those working for the federal government and declared the failure of states to do so “a national disaster,” the Presidency pointed out. “To avert this, he had, at various times, lent money to the states in excess of N1.682 trillion, and Benue, Mr Ortom’s state did not miss out on all occasions: Salary Bailout, Excess Crude Loan and Budget Support loan, each repayable in 20 years.”
It accused Ortom, “who collected on all occasions,” as currently holding the “country’s longest record of unpaid salaries and pensions, has no reason, absolutely no reason, to blame President Buhari for the mess in which he put his state and its workers.”
The Presidency also reasoned that “having first come claiming that his predecessors created the arrears,” it was Ortom’s “business to prove that he was better by paying.”
“Instead of doing that,” noted the statement, Ortom “joined them (politicians bad-mouthing the president)!” The Presidency stressed that “while he (Ortom) runs up even further salary and pension debts on top of those he was bequeathed, instead of respecting the voters who elected him to office, he publicly attacks them in unprintable words and has raised his own thuggish militia to harass and violate them.”
In addition, the statement mentioned that the Benue governor “now claims the voters wish to be ‘rescued by the PDP’ and ‘regret voting for Buhari’. The voters, of course, will not be asked to vote for the president again because – as a leader – – President Buhari and the All Progressives Congress, APC respect term limits and the constitution, and will stand down next year at the end of his second democratically elected mandate.”
According to the Presidency, it “seems unlikely, however, that any voter would seriously consider it possible to be ‘rescued’ by a party that would today, allow a politician such as Governor Ortom in its ranks,” adding that “what is certain, however, is that Nigeria has had enough of failed politicians who blame others as a diversion for their inability to improve citizens’ lives.”
Further contrasting the president with Ortom, the statement recalled how Buhari “inherited a treasury” that successive previous administrations had emptied and Buhari “sought and succeeded in repatriating billions of dollars of stolen funds from overseas.”
It disclosed that Buhari’s administration discovered more than 500,000 bank accounts operated by ministries, agencies, and departments, claiming that funds belonging to the Nigerian government were hidden in the accounts.
Continuing, the Presidency disclosed that the same government agencies went to the banks to borrow money kept by sister agencies at exorbitant interest rates.
“What is more, some of the signatories had left the service or were ‘unknown’, and so no one had access to the funds,” it said, adding that the MDAs “are now compelled to use the Treasury Single Account, TSA, domiciled in the Central Bank of Nigeria.”
“The president brought forward the first and only plan to address farmer-herder clashes in 100 years, supporting states to rediscover grazing reserves and create ranching lands that have successfully reduced tensions while increasing harmony and saving lives,” the Presidency further stated.