The APC governorship candidate in Benue State, Chief Dr Samuel Ortom and his campaign team have visited nearly all segments of the state speaking to the good people of the state and assuring them of better days ahead. One of Benue’s best journalists, Tahav Agerzua brought you on board the Ortom train with daily, vivid and professional reports accompanied by images. But what are the core issues and pillars of Ortom’s Message of Hope? Below are excerpts from the speeches and the promises made by Dr Ortom which I find quite interesting and wish to share with you. Take a look:
On why he is in the Race:
“Ladies and Gentlemen, I have prepared for the journey that we have embarked upon. Spiritually, I have prayed and consulted with both laity and clergy. Politically, I have consulted with stakeholders across the state. In terms of executive experience, I have served this nation from the Local Government to the highest level where I resigned a few months ago as Hon. Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investments. I also had a stint as supervising minister of Aviation for about five months.”
“I have a clear idea of the problems of Benue state.”
On the Benue Question:
“Benue now has many development challenges. According to research provided by the British Council, Nigeria Office, rural and urban youths constitute 50-60% of the population of the state. The greatest challenges of Youths in Benue state are poverty and unemployment. At least 75% of Benue youth are poor and 85% are unemployed. This leads to their marginality, alienation, dispossession and exclusion. This scenario is sad and totally unacceptable because high poverty and unemployment among youth threatens social stability.”
And what are Benue’s urgent Needs:
“Benue State needs more entrepreneurs. We need investors, we need capital, we need better schools and roads; we need more health facilities, and we need good water, stable electricity and other infrastructures that make life worth living.”
And what can Ortom’s Government do about these yawning Development Gaps?
“We will design an Integrated Rural Development Plan for implementation. It will involve the review of present rural settlement patterns which are poorly linked, with no infrastructures, poorly serviced with water, electricity, schools and health facilities. Above all, the current rural settlement pattern in our state is not security friendly. I see a new Benue where there will be participatory clustering of villages and there will be no single thatched roofs again. Government will ensure that all Benue citizens are encouraged and empowered to afford zinc -roofed houses.”
“We will overhaul the educational delivery system to ensure that Benue becomes the centre of educational excellence in Nigeria. Mathematics is to be made the centre-piece of our science education. This is because mathematics is the gateway to science and engineering.”
“Teachers will be given their pride of place and there will be training, re-training, as well as re-orientation of teachers at all levels. Shortfall in staff strength in the Benue educational system will be adequately addressed. We will introduce a loan scheme for professional educational development among Benue indigenes. Beside the yearly bursary allowance, we will introduce a Student Loan Scheme for financing education. In addition, we will expand the capacity of Benue State University through the provision of more facilities to support the admission of more students especially in Environmental Sciences, Mathematics, Education and Creative Economics.”
More Work to be Done…
“Health is wealth and we will take this sector with all the seriousness it deserves by first conducting a needs assessment of all government general hospitals to enable us determine which gaps need to be filled. We will continue to support the prevention and treatment of HIV/ AIDS, and address issues of maternal morbidity and mortality, as well as infant and child mortality.
We will institutionalize appropriate deworming of primary school children in line with global best practices. This, we will do to safeguard the health of our children. Infectious Diseases Isolation Wards will be made available in all our hospitals. We will address the welfare of health staff along with continuous education and refresher courses. We will introduce incentives for rural posting of health staff.
Still on Health…
“We will revive and ensure the accreditation of the School of Nursing and Midwifery in Makurdi and expand and strengthen its capacity for increased enrolment. We will support existing private schools of nursing and health technology for effective health care delivery to our people. Health education will be reinvigorated in the state and we will establish and equip a Trauma Centre in Makurdi. We will promote lifestyle and well-being issues amongst our citizens, tackling obesity, conspicuous consumption of alcohol and tobacco while we encourage healthy living through dieting and exercises.
We will float a comprehensive Health Insurance Scheme for all persons living and working in State. This will ensure that persons enrolled in the programme will enjoy health services in hospitals of their choice around Nigeria.”
What about Security?
“Along with all key political office holders, we will organize Town Hall Meetings at least quarterly to keep our constituents adequately informed of Government policies and programmes and to receive feedback from them. We will embark on a Security Ecosystem Mapping with a view to deploying a virile state sponsored Community Policing System will be established to strengthen security and complement the police. A strong Police -Community relations will be encouraged in the State.”
Contract with the People…
“My development agenda is to ensure that Benue people move out of poverty, Benue market women and men generate profit, Benue students have excellent study environment and scholarships, Benue women are politically and economically entrenched in leadership and decision making positions, Benue youths have jobs and are back to work, Benue civil servants are reinvented , Benue teachers are motivated, retirees have their dignity restored with payment of pensions arrears, the poor are made richer, the sick are healed, and minorities are reassured, farmers have fertilizer and other inputs to become the engine of growth.”
“As a governor, I will make sure majority of Benue citizens don’t depend on government for survival”
“If God has brought me out of poverty, yet, a lot of Benue people are still in poverty, then, I am poor. It is this sad reality that has spurred me to run for the governorship of our dear state. I am convinced that together, we can overcome the poverty scare and make Benue greater.”
Taken from the speeches of Dr Samuel Ortom.
Courtesy: Terver Akase