The Benue Youths Forum, BYF has urged the All Progressives Congress,APC to allow Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State embark on developmental projects in the state rather than castigating him.
The youths said it has read with utter dismay and nausea, the text of a press conference by a group of misguided individuals who described as “suspicious” the recent five billion (#5,000,000,000) naira overdraft obtained by the Benue Government from a commercial bank to fund some government expenditures.
The BYF in a statement iissued by its President, Terrence Kuanum said it is funny that the disgruntled elements claimed that the money was diverted to other parochial political interests of Governor Samuel Ortom and not payment of “outstanding salaries and other urgent expenditure obligations” as stated in the request for the overdraft.
“While we are not worried with the obsession of some failed politicians to distract Governor Ortom as exhibited in that unfortunate and sponsored press conference, we wish to inform those pseudo Benue Citizens that overdraft is one of the funding sources available to any organisation including Federal and State Governments. And for Benue State, the overdraft is used from time to time to reduce the funding gap created by the prevailing economic reality and there’s nothing untoward about this as brandished by those lackeys looking for a meal ticket.
“It is only individuals or groups bereft of the knowledge of elementary economics, such as this faceless ‘Concerned Group’ would question a government’s right to collect overdraft for the purposes of settling its financial obligations.
“It is even more curious that this group of people sponsored by some failed politicians in the All Progressives Congress, APC, a party that has made borrowing a state policy due to lack of ideas to create revenue. As we speak, the APC led federal government has driven Nigeria into a terriblepoint by borrowing heavily to pay salaries. The sacked Acting Accountant General of the Federation, Chief Anamekwe Nwabuoku, disclosed this recently in Abuja.
“In his words “We have to borrow to augment payment of salaries and wages. This shows we are in very difficult times. Government income is highly challenged.”
“In case this ‘Concerned Benue Citizens’ are not aware, the Punch newspaper reported in June this year that the Federal Government’s total borrowing from the Central Bank of Nigeria alone has risen to N19.01 trillion as at April 2022. This represents an increase of N1.55tn within the first four months of 2022.
“According to the Debt Management Office, even the N19.01tn owed the apex bank by the Federal Government is not part of the country’s total public debt stock, which stood at N41.60tn as at March 2022.
“It is obvious these characters are totally ignorant of what the APC led federal government has indulged in against the collective interest of the Nigerian people.
“It is also worrisome that people who want to be seen as right-thinking expect a state government that has been starved of funds by the Federal Government to fold its arms and wait without hope for the monies that may never come to meet its obligations. That the group feign ignorance of the fact that the APC-led administration has frustrated the NNPC to the extent that it is unable to remit revenue to the federation account for over six months also goes to show how shameful their sponsored outing was.
“The group also needs to be reminded that even when the Benue State House of Assembly approved the request by the executive to obtain a loan to augment is revenue and alleviate the suffering of the Benue people, the move to access the loan has been frustrated by the Federal Government through the Debt Management Office.
“The desperation to always go all out to make life miserable against the Benue people in the guise of fighting Governor Ortom is what has become the trademark of the APC led federal government.
“We are not unaware of the obsession with Governor Ortom for his constant refusal to bend to the whims of those who wield power at the centre just for political survival or correctness. But they must live with the reality that no amount of blackmail, bad blood and ill-intentioned moves would ever prevent Governor Ortom from upholding his oath of office and allegiance to the people of Benue.
“While we advise those hired for that infamous hatchet job to distract Governor Ortom, we call on their well known sponsor, Senator George Akume to first go to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission to answer the questions bothering on his stewardship while he held sway as Benue State Governor between 1999 and 2007” he said
Kuanum urged the Minister who has squandered his political capital and mortgaged his public perception due to constant betrayal of his people should leave Governor Ortom alone to continue providing purposeful leadership for the Benue people.
“As for us, the Benue Youth Forum and the generality of the Benue population, we will stop at nothing to keep standing by the dogged and charismatic leader of the state, Samuel Ortom as he leads us through the challenges we are facing, some of which are inflicted by the inefficiency of the APC-led federal government who have mortgaged the sovereignty of this nation to terrorists” he said