Benue Flood: Those criticising Buhari are ignorant – Governor Ortom

Benue flood. [Photo credit: Bella Naija]
Benue flood. [Photo credit: Bella Naija]

Governor Samuel Ortom has described Nigerians who slammed President Muhammadu Buhari for failing to visit Benue State following the August 27 flood disaster in the state as ‘ignorant,” adding that they lacked basic knowledge of how government runs.

“Those people who are criticising are completely ignorant of what governance is,” Mr. Ortom told PREMIUM TIMES in an exclusive interview at his official residence in Makurdi Thursday.

Mr. Ortom said the president acted promptly after receiving news of the development, a gesture he believed was sufficient.

“Immediately after the thing happened, I instructed the Director General of National Emergency Management Agency who then informed the president,” he explained.

“As soon as the president got the message, he directed the DG to move to Benue and the next day the DG arrived with relief materials.”

The governor said the criticism was misplaced, given that Vice President Yemi Osinbajo had also visited the state to identify with the victims and assured them of federal government’s support.

“Those who are criticising are not from Benue State,” he added.

Mr. Buhari was at the receiving end of some social media outrage throughout last week, after failing to visit the state days after the August 27 flood which displaced an estimated 110,000 people in 46,000 households.

The attacks intensified after reports emerged that Mr. Buhari would be travelling to the United States to honour an invitation extended to him by President Donald Trump in February.

The report, which was never carried by PREMIUM TIMES, later turned out to be inaccurate as the president returned to Abuja from his hometown in Daura, Katsina State, Thursday after spending the Sallah holidays there.

Presidential spokesperson, Garba Shehu, also absolved Mr. Buhari or any wrong, saying disaster management in the country is gradually being ceded to the federal government by other tiers of government.

“Whenever there is an emergency from natural or man-made disasters, all you hear is ‘where is Buhari, what is he doing? What happens with the other tiers of government?” Mr. Shehu said in an interview with Radio Nigeria, Kaduna.

He admonished states to take responsibility for emergencies within their respective boundaries because they receive more share of the ecological fund than federal government.

“Nigerians, at the state and local governments, should demand transparency and accountability in the management of ecological funds by their Governors and local government chairmen.

“Without accountability by local political leaders, the federal government would continue to be the scapegoat for the failure of states and local governments to use ecological funds for the purposes they were released.”

“The largest chunk of the fund goes to the states and local governments. Every month, states and local governments receive 1.4 per cent from the federation account as ecological fund, compared to the federal government’s share of one per cent,” he said.


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  • born Great

    We done Mr Ortom Sir, you are the only one that knows governance. I think you should export that your knowledge to America also, so that president Trump shouldn’t waste his time again going to disaster areas. Not paying workers salary, and distributing wheelbarrows to your citizens, are part of that esoteric knowledge of governance you have?. What a country, what a people.

    • MilitaryPolice01

      The wheelbarrow labelling governor should hide his face in shame – running to DG NEMA for help when you had ecological funds specifically meant for mitigating or preventing such cases like flooding.

  • AryLoyds

    Oga Gov , dont worry we get the message . Buhari is more in tune with his brothers from Niger Republic than his citizens in benue.Have you ever seen Buhari critic his fulani herdsmen brothers for all the atrocities. An attack on boko harm is an attack on the north !

  • Ken

    Apc lacks the tenet of governance. It is a sad reality. Nigerians have been scammed because of ethnicity

  • Johnson

    Now you know

  • Frank Bassey

    That is Gov. Samuel Ortom for you. Those familiar with my posts, will recall my consternation against this lilly-livered governor. Ortom fears Buhari that he fears Hell Fire. Look at what he is saying. When Fulani herdsmen engaged in serial killings of his people, he kept mum, afraid of offending Buhari. It took the intervention of Govs. Ayo Fayose (Ekiti) and Nyesom Wike (Rivers) for Otorm to muster the courage to mummur over the tragic incident. Hem later managed to introduce Anti-grazing bill which implementation is delayed till November. If President Donald Trump of US and his Vice could abandon all they are doing to visit the flood victims in parts of the country, what lesson is bemused Ortom teaching us about the workings of government in Nigeria? What crime will PMB be committing if he takes a flight to Benue to commiserate with the victims. Do you know the far-reaching positive effects of such a body language? Otorm’s comment smacks of perpetual nightmare. This is not only irritating but senseless.