Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State has stated that sychophamts within the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) have continued to misinform and deceive President Muhammadu Buhari on the current state of the nation
Governor Ortom, who described the Christmas Day message by Bishop Matthew Kukah as the true reflection of the current situation in Nigeria urged the President not to listen to sycophants who will always be comfortable to tell him that all is well with the country.
He described as unfair and repressive, Federal Government’s reaction to the message of the cleric whom the government accused of stirring hatred against the President.
Governor Ortom in a statement issued Wednesday by his Chief Press Secretary, Terver Akase in Makurdi appealed to the Federal Government to listen to comments from “patriotic Nigerians who are raising genuine concerns over the worsening security situation in the country because all is not well.”
He said, “Bishop Kukah is a selfless Nigerian who only seeks to unite the nation and speaks his mind frankly on national issues calling on the government to serve the people.”
The Governor suggested that instead of politicizing the views of the Bishop and castigating him, the Federal Government should take a second look at the things he raised in the message to avoid throwing the baby out with the bathwater.
According to him, “Nigeria is practising democracy which guarantees the freedom of speech to all citizens and not a military regime which suppresses the right of the people to voice their opinions on challenges facing their country.
“It is incumbent on the Federal Government to listen to the views of the people and take steps to address the worrisome security situation and other problems confronting the country rather than combatively engaging anyone who dares to hold an alternative opinion.”
He stressed that at this challenging time in the country’s history, the people expected their leaders to be tolerant, patient, humane, sincere, and always seek to address the issues that affect shared interests of citizens. Governor Ortom stated that Bishop Kukah was not the first to say that hundreds of innocent Nigerians were being killed in cold blood by bandits, kidnappers, armed herdsmen and other terrorists.
“Many other Nigerians have been making the same call on a daily basis. He was not the first to suggest that the President should be the father of all and not of only a section of the country or a particular ethnic group,” he said.
The Governor pointed out that “even under the worst dictatorships, courageous citizens expressed their views on issues of national interest. Nigeria which is a democratic nation cannot be an exception.
“So whipping into silence, men and women of honour who speak against injustice will not take the country to greater heights. The government needs critics who make constructive observations and recommendations for it to work in the interest of the people.