A former governor of Benue State, Gabriel Suswam, and his successor, Samuel Ortom, have differed over the N28bn bailout funds the state government obtained from the Federal Government for the payment of arrears of salaries to civil servants and local government workers.
While Suswam has accused Ortom of misapplying the bailout funds, Ortom says Suswam has no moral right to take a position on how the money has been spent because he caused the predicament the state has faced with finances.
Suswam, who spoke during the extraordinary meeting of the Peoples Democratic Party members from Benue North-West and Benue North-East Senatorial Districts in Makurdi recently, said the state government had tried to pull him down by setting up panels to probe his administration.
He accused his successor of not managing the bailout well.
Ortom, on his part, said during an interactive session with journalists on Thursday in Makurdi, that Suswam was responsible for the precarious financial position the state had found itself.
The governor asked Suswam to explain to Benue people how the ex-governor and 51 other persons mismanaged N107bn as contained in the report of the Justice Kpojime Judicial Commission of Enquiry.
Suswam had said at the PDP meeting that arrears of salaries of workers had not been cleared with the bailout but Ortom stated at the interactive session that the mess Suswam created could not have been cleared with the bailout.
Ortom noted that he had not started prosecuting the former governor for his alleged financial misdeeds.
He said it was the EFCC that had dragged the former governor to court for alleged diversion of N3bn from the sale of Benue State’s shares from Dangote Cement Company in Gboko.
The governor added that in spite of the over $15m dollar shares Suswam sold and allegedly diverted, 200 medical students of the Benue State University could not proceed with their studies as the institution was shut for months over non-payment of salaries to lecturers.
Ortom urged Suswam to publicly explain to Benue people why he left the School of Nursing and Midwifery to be closed down for four years because of bad structures, lack of facilities and accreditation and maintained that Suswam left behind shameful financial records at the end of his tenure.