Hon. Chabo Terhemba, is a two term member representing Gboko West Constituency at the Benue State House of Assembly under the platform of All Progressives Congress, APC. In this interview in Kaduna with AZA MSUE, he accuses former governor Gabriel Suswam’s administration of milking the state dry and declares that it will be impossible to stop Benue State governor, Dr. Samuel Ortom from seeking a second term in 2019.
What is your take on the recent success of the governor Ortom led administration amnesty to criminals in Benue state?
The truth is this, a Christian is a Christian. Ortom has a lot of experience. He has been in politics for long; he was a chairman of a local government, party official at the grassroots. He has been a minister of this country and has headed two ministries and all these are history. Having acquired all these experience that was why it was easy for him to win the election. What he has done, he knows the problem of these bad boys then, he knows that they were hungry and that was why they were fighting the common man and he felt that if he gives them that opportunity to repent because that is what Christianity preaches; when you repent, you would be forgiven and that is what he has introduced they should repent because they have been used for many bad reasons and because of the hunger introduced by the PDP in Benue state, they were bitter and doing whatever they can to survive. With the coming of governor Ortom, he felt that these boys are also human beings and that once they repent, they should be forgiven. So that was why he introduced amnesty. There was an encouraging response and they are doing well now.
They are some allegations and counter allegations in Benue State that under Ortom there is serious hunger and starvation among citizens. What is your position on this issue?
There is a saying that nothing good comes easy. You know what PDP did after former President Olusegun Obasanjo, during Jonathan’s regime, they were just packing money like water and even Obasanjo regretted handling over to that government. Even of recent, Ibrahim Mantu regretted that he should used his last blood to make sure Obasanjo got his third term because of what Jonathan did. Jonathan might be a different person but he lieutenants were just packing money like anything and they have spent a lot of money in this country and as you can see, the country is broke and not Benue State alone. President Muhammadu Buhari is just trying to make things work and because of his personality, the international community is trying to assist and that is why in Benue State no matter what Governor Ortom is trying to do, people would look at it as if he is not trying but with time, this is less than a year but he has done well. As an accountant, an economist and also a manager, you can see that Ortom has tried very well. Within a little time you would see that the state would be taking another shape and level. So I am only praying and wishing that people should be patient, yes there are pains but after the tunnel, the light will be seen.
There are some alleged plots going on in Benue to stop Ortom’s second term ambition, which he is yet to declare because it is too early. How do you view this kind of politics?
Quote me anywhere, it is impossible. What I am telling you is that God brought this government and God knows why Governor Ortom and President Buhari are here at this particular time. If they are not here, the country would have collapsed and that same God would sustain this system and this government. I am telling you, PDP is using every means to discredit APC and the truth will surface. They had the money and the power but God did his work. They have never won an election. PDP, I am saying this, with card reader you saw what happened. With all their stealing, they were exposed. The hardship we are having now is all temporary. We are just less than a year now. In Benue state, within two months, you will see the difference. For four years we didn’t see SUBEB. SUBEB has advertised work of 2011-2014 because Ortom has paid his counterpart funding. MDGs have not advertised any work for quite some time now but Ortom is giving out jobs and I believe that with a little time, Benue State will be a different place.
There is ongoing probe of the former governor Gabriel Suswam but some people are calling it witch-hunt. What is your take on this issue?
It is politics, they are not been sincere. There are some people that could not have even a house but they had mansions. Some people who had not gone to school, they have investment they should not have had. Where did they get the money? that PDP government was too corrupt, they were just packing the money. Sure-P money where is it? Ecological money where is it? There are so many things that needs to be mentioned. They sold shares, BCC shares and so many shares but where is the money? So what I am trying to tell you is that they are just blackmailing. Ortom will succeed. That former governor was a wicked governor. I am saying this because I was part of that government at that time. My first time in the state assembly I knew how the man treated the assembly at that time. We expected that being a legislature, he will treat us well. He was just packing money for himself, he is a wicked man.
Benue State has been in the news for killings here and there in the recent time, would you want to tell us what is responsible for the killings?
The truth is that the way I see it as an individual and not a House of Assembly member, Benue State is a religious state and they are harmless. Most of the killings are carried out at night, the Fulanis come at night. This is because they are not ready, they forgive and they feel that their place is peaceful but it may be seen that Boko Haram is coming to Benue state in a different dimension but we don’t know but I have a feeling that there is satanic reasons behind it.
So what is the State Assembly doing to stop these killing?
I must be very frank, several motions have been made and advises have been given to the state government that no matter what they are doing we cannot say let’s mobilize people to carry out counter attacks but we have to go through the law and that is what we are doing.
So what action would you advise the governor to take at this point in time?
Well the governor already knows what to do, I told you earlier that the man is full of experience. He is meeting with the Fulani people and also discussing with the people that are concern and if they reason well, all will be well very soon.
Some people accused Senator George Akume whom you described as APC leader in Benue State of indirectly ruling the state using Governor Samuel Ortom as front . What will you say about this?
PDP wants to be recognized by all means. Whatever happens in Benue State is Senator Akume. The man has been away for some months and they say the man died but he came back healthy and is in Abuja doing his legislative work effectively. Whatever that is happening that they refused to do which is right; they would say it is Akume. Why would they not leave Akume as a person? Who is in that PDP now that Akume didn’t help? Are you talking of senator from zone C, David Mark, former minister Abba Moro, former governor Gabriel Suswam. Who made them to be what they are today but because they feel the man is a great man and helps everybody, they just accuse him.
There was this cement factory planned by the previous government but with the coming on board of Ortom government, how is the situation of that factory project now?
Ortom is a businessman and the first thing he wants Benue people to feel is impact and that is what he is doing. He is reviving the agricultural sector then he will move on with other things. So it is a matter of patience.
You are second term member of the Benue state House of Assembly representing Gboko West constituency, how did you retain your seat?
First and foremost, my God made everything possible for me. Secondly, my leader in person of Senator George Akume and my elders who saw that I have done a good job and that I should go back there and thirdly the people that voted me into the system. They so agreed in what the elders were telling them. That is why they allowed me to come back for the second time.
Here again, you have been honoured by the Tiv community cooperative society in Kaduna state. How do you feel?
I feel so great. I left this state 14 years ago and Kaduna has been my home; I was here and also interacted with everybody. The formation of this organization, I was part of it at the beginning and I was shocked after 14 years that I left this place, I was called to be honoured. I appreciate them so much.
Benue State would have collapsed if PDP was voted in last year – Terhemba Reviewed by Link Naija on 23:16 Rating: