Samuel Ortom, Governor of Benue State, has cleared up his comments on Benue citizens “drinking beer and sleeping all day” and later criticise him over the impact of governance in the state.
Governor Ortom had while speaking at the commissioning of the new building of RCN Embassy Church in Makurdi, Benue State capital, on Friday, apparently blasted residents of the state for criticising him “unfairly” for the sake of politics.
“If you go round Makurdi town, our people start drinking beer from 9 am and some from there, they will go to sleep, and they come back and insult the governor for not helping them to add value to their lives,” the governor had said.
The comment, expectedly, elicited a lot of backlash for the governor, with the citizens of the state questioning him over the basis of the remark.
But reacting, the governor, through a statement issued by his Chief Press Secretary, Nathaniel Ikyur, explained that the comment was aimed at members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Benue.
According to him, the depiction of his comment in the media is a “mischievous misrepresentation”, adding that he spoke to “a few” persons who “have conditioned their minds to malign him”.
The statement read: “We wish to state categorically that the news, especially the caption is a completely mischievous misrepresentation and an attempt to ridicule the person of the governor.
“The Governor was clear that most Benue people know and do appreciate the great developmental strides he is doing for them. He regretted that some of those who insult, blackmail, or castigate him unnecessarily, specifically are a few and from the opposition All Progressives Congress, APC who sit in beer parlours for long hours and have conditioned their minds to malign him no matter how much he has done.
“He was clear how these APC supporters do that without cogent or issue-based criticisms but simply out of mischief. He was also clear that critics of his administration should offer constructive criticisms as he does to the Federal Government.
“At that function in question, which was the Dedication and Inaugural Service of RCN Embassy Church, Makurdi, Governor Ortom specifically asked the people of Benue State and indeed Nigerians to continue to pray for him and other leaders including President Muhammadu Buhari rather than always criticising him. He quoted from the Bible where the scriptures asked Christians to pray for their leaders and all those in authority.”
The statement added that Ortom acknowledges how the people of Benue, in 2015 and 2019, displayed their love for him by electing him governor twice.