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6 Oct 2016


By Tracy Comfort

As Nigeria marked 56 years, October 1, having gained independence from British rule in 1960.
Sequel to the inception of the present administration, it was very glaring that the nation and Benue state was indeed suffering from high-levels of poverty, corruption, poor governance and insurgency caused by the previous administration, and a lot of people wondered why the celebration when there was so much hardship.
However, in Benue today, one could say the Independence is worth celebrating considering the steps Governor Samuel Ortom has taken to overcome the challenges the state is facing and to bring development closer to the people.
In his one year and four months in office, Gov Ortom has touched every sector among which includes; education, security, health, agriculture among others.
Many people in the state marveled how the governor has been able to apply the mean resources accruing to the state to achieve the success recorded within his two Independent anniversaries celebrations as the governor of Benue state.
In the last 16 months, the governor has fulfilled within the shortest possible time uncommon achievements in service delivery for people of the state.
Governor Ortom's administration has flagged off several roads projects and ordered the completion of other few roads initiated by the previous administration
Another major achievement of the administration was the granting of amnesty to all possessors of illegal weapons whom were encouraged to surrender arms in their possession and in turn offered incentives.
Assorted arms and ammunition were recovered from over 700 youths at the end of the programme, which he tagged 'carrot approach'. The government on its part instituted a rehabilitation programme for the hundreds of youths who willingly heeded to the call to turn a new leaf.
The government has also paid billions as counterpart funding to international organizations for the development of critical infrastructure in the health and education sector.
In education, the governor has been able to inject billions including counterpart funding to State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB), for the construction and rehabilitation of over 700 primary schools across the state.
The Schools of Nursing and Midwifery, Makurdi, which hitherto was abandoned and its accreditation withdrawn due to lack of facilities has been given a facelift by the government preparatory to the restoration of the institution’s accreditation.
All the necessary payments were also made by the administration to meet all the conditions required to effect the accreditation of the courses at the Benue State University Teaching Hospital, (BSUTH) to enable the medical students who were stagnated for 12 years as neglected by the previous administration. It is worthy to note that with the effort of the governor, already three sets of doctors have been graduated from the Benue state university.
In the area of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Benue state was rated as the best and has become a model for states to follow because of the projects implemented by Gov Ortom across the three senatorial zones of the state which promptly earned him International recognition as he was recently invited to present a paper at the UN Assembly in New York.
The governor has within this period cleared salary arrears owed state and local government staff by the past administration with the bailout he secured from the federal government.
Although Benue, just like other States in Nigeria has been facing some financial challenges which had resulted to accumulation of salary arrears for months, Ortom’s prudence in managing resources and transparency in handling finances has set him a good footing with workers in the state.
Together with his cabinet, the governor has carefully focused on his campaign promises, making every effort to translate his blueprint tagged, 'Our Benue, Our Collective Vision' to reality.
What the governor has achieved in 16 months is as result of collective efforts and is beyond the expectation of those who wanted to see him fail as governor.
Similarly, the wife of the governor Dr. Eunice Ortom, is also not relenting in her effort to compliment the achievements of her husband through her NGO Eunice Spring of Life Foundation (ESLF) which has outlined several people oriented programmes in health, education and sports.
Touched by the plight of the under privileged especially the girl child, who is vulnerable and denied her right to education, wife of the Executive Governor of Benue State, Dr. Eunice Ortom recently offered scholarship to orphans comprising of fifteen girls and ten boys at St Mark Secondary School, Apir.
Performing the ceremony during the commissioning of the girls hostel constructed by the proprietor of the school, Rev. Fr. Amos Mbachie, the Wife of the Governor noted that the society needed to priorities the education of the girl child which according to her remains unparalleled, adding that the vulnerability to attack in form of rape and insecurity cannot be underrated.
Through the NGO, Dr. Ortom undertook a sensitization campaign on prevention of HIV/AIDS transmission among adolescents and young people across the twenty three LGA in the state.
She organized sports training programs to harness talents in the various areas which she noted was aimed at engaging children in productive activities that will give them a better sense of direction during the holidays, capable of equally providing opportunities for them to engage in valuable and positive relationships rather than engaging in idleness that can lead them to perpetrate social vices and jeopardize their future.
As the Mother Theresa of Benue state, Mrs. Ortom effectively mobilized women of strong faith who collectively stood by her husband to dedicate the state to God as well as a monthly prayer session tagged: ‘’Benue Women in Prayer’’ in keeping faith with God to effectively deliver more social amenities to the people.
Dr. Ortom’s strides needed to be fully supported by all to enable both her husband and her pet project to cushion the pangs of economic recession biting the state.
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