This was the Presidency lampooning Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, for the financial woes his state has been witnessing, which is reflecting in its inability to meet its obligations including paying its workers.
The Presidency wants the governor to copy President Muhammadu Buhari in solving the current financial crunch in the state, instead of heaping the blames on him.
Ortom had fingered the President for the parlous situation, saying the All Progressive Congress (APC) he ran, had completely ruined Nigeria with virtually all Nigerians regretting voting Buhari him into power.
On Arise TV, Ortom had told his host that he inherited over N70billion arrears of pensions, salaries and gratuities from his predecessor, which accounted for the inability to defray the huge financial burden completely.
But the Presidency laughed off the comment, saying the reason he was voted as governor was to find solutions and not give excuses.
Assailing the governor over the matter, presidential spokesman, Garba Shehu, in a statement on Tuesday, absolved Abuja of blame, saying Ortom’s lack of ideas and propensity for pursuing shadows was responsible for the ugly situation.
He said: “There are two types of politicians — those who offer solutions to challenges facing the country and those that offer excuses “and instead blame others for problems they have either not solved or have themselves created.”
“Ortom is an example of the second class of politicians who blame others for challenges. Ortom inherited unpaid salaries and pension arrears and rather than find a way to raise funds to pay them, he has blamed the President.
“And the President brought forward the first and only plan to address farmer-herder clashes in 100 years, supporting states to rediscover grazing reserves and create ranching lands that have successfully reduced tensions while increasing harmony and saving lives.
“This is a President who has not failed to pay the salary of those working for the federal government and declared the failure of states to do so; a national disaster.
“To avert this, he had, at various times lent money to the states in excess of N1.682 trillion, and Benue, Mr Ortom’s state, did not miss out on all occasions: Salary Bailout, Excess Crude Loan and Budget Support loan, each repayable in 20 years.
“Mr Ortom, an officeholder who collected on all occasions, currently holds the country’s longest record of unpaid salaries and pensions, has no reason, absolutely no reason, to blame President Buhari for the mess in which he put his state and its workers.”
Shehu said since Ortom claimed his predecessors created the arrears, it was his business to prove that he was better by paying salaries promptly.
“Instead of doing that, he joined them! And while he runs up even further salary and pension debts on top of those he was bequeathed, instead of respecting the voters who elected him to office, he publicly attacks them in unprintable words and has raised his own thuggish militia to harass and violate them.
“The Governor now claims the voters wish to be ‘rescued by the PDP’ and ‘regret voting for Buhari.’ The voters, of course, will not be asked to vote for the President again because – as a leader – President Buhari and the All Progressives Congress, APC, respect term limits and the constitution, and will stand down next year at the end of his second democratically elected mandate.
“It seems unlikely, however, that any voter would seriously consider it possible to be ‘rescued’ by a party that would today, allow a politician such as Governor Ortom in its ranks.
“What is certain, however, is that Nigeria has had enough of failed politicians who blame others as a diversion for their inability to improve citizens’ lives.”