Tension in Benue over First Class Chieftains

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Last minute moves by outgoing Governor of Benue State to impose First Class Chiefs before leaving office on May 29th is causing a stir in government house. FREDDIE ADAMGBE reports from Makurdi.

 

Palpable tension has enveloped Benue State over the planned imposition of First Class Chiefs in the state by the outgoing administration of Governor Gabriel Suswam. The alarm which was raised yesterday by the Benue State Governor-elect, Chief Samuel Ortom, indicated that the outgoing administration has prompted the traditional institution to rush into the appointment of First Class Chiefs.

Suswam’s intention, it was revealed is to present them with the staff of office before May 29th 2015 handover which the incoming government considered unacceptable on the grounds that the state is at the moment in huge debt and budget deficit. According to the Governor-elect, whose speech was presented during a media briefing by the Deputy Governor Elect, Engr Benson Abounu, ”there is ongoing massive recruitment in government ministries, parastatals and agencies with indiscriminate promotions going on with backdated or documented as replacement warning that beneficiaries of the fraud or those used to perpetrate the illegality will have to face the consequences when the new government takes off.”

The Governor Elect reasoned that the primary objective at the moment should have been to offset salaries and allowances owed the civil servants to stabilise for a smooth take over, but the Suswam led administration has rather resulted to compound the problem after literally grounding the state. According to Chief Ortom, ”the outgoing Governor had agreed to stay action on the conduct of local government elections, put aside the idea of recruitment into the public service and discontinue the process of appointing more traditional rulers because of the huge financial implication; but instead he reneged on the same issue days later.” While warning officials used in perpetrating the evil as well as beneficiaries of the fraud to be cautious, Chief Ortom appealed that all matters that can possibly implicate the outgoing government in financial terms should be put on hold even though the incoming government holds the traditional institution in high esteem.

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