Since former Senate President David Alechenu Mark won the Benue South rerun election to reaffirm his popularity in the Zone ‘C’ senatorial district of Benue State, it has become clear that the powers that be at the Benue Government House, Makurdi, have not been happy with majority of the people in the zone.
To Governor Samuel Ortom and few others, since they had made it clear that they had wanted to do the bidding of the former governor of the state and see to the extension of the animosity he bears towards mark, who had subtly clipped his political wings at the national level, the Idoma as a whole must be punished for not toeing their line.
Those in the Benue Government House refused to admit the fact in elections, it is virtually impossible to get hundred percent in any given constituency as some are bound to willingly go against popular norm to act according to their wishes.
It is true that the people of Benue South voted overwhelmingly for Mark but it is also true that quite a sizeable number also expressed a different wish that many considered it pure luck for Mark to have breasted the tape with the margin he did.
But because Ortom is not happy with the overall results of the election and would have preferred that all in Zone ‘C’ do only as he says since he is the one in the saddle, he has moved with vengeance to punish the entire Idoma nation for what was clearly his failing in lining up behind a candidate whose trump card was an abandoned ticket of a political party that people were not sure would make any head way.
But in the classical case political myopia, the hype sustained by the euphoria of having a former number three citizens recontest his seat was misconstrued as an act of popularity for the other candidate and so much of Benue money was pumped into it only for the entire project to crash like a pack of cards and a deeply bruised ego.
And for that, the two Igede local governments of Oju and Obi which were cajoled into taking a different cause from the rest of the zone must take precedence over anything due to Zone ‘C’ since the Igede behaved as expected.
But it is unfortunate that Ortom who ran away from injustice and imposition in the PDP and owed his ascendancy to fate should be the one that should be trying play God in the life of an entire nation.
As an acclaimed man of God, one is aghast at how short his memory had served him in that respect and how his actions would prove antithetical to the basics of this appellation he so much cherishes to the extent that every of his action is spurred by the desperation to draw blood.
But it is too late in the day as that phase is over and no matter the sentiment there are certain things that cannot be changed.
Shortly after the Benue South rerun election, when Agatu land was invaded by murderous herdsmen and many including women and children were sent to early graves, Ortom betrayed the vilest feeling towards a people when as the people ran to him for succor and protection, it was reported that the governor responded by saying that they should go and meet their senator- referring to Mark.
Lately, he was said to have ceded part of Agatuland to the herdsmen apparently in the bid to drive further the stakes into the heart of Idoma simply because they chose to be independent minded.
The unofficial position of the Ortom administration today seems to be that anything due to Idoma land which has 9 local governments should first be given to the Igede who control just 2 out of the 9 local governments before consideration is reluctantly given to the other seven.
Ortom forgets that the bid to marginalize the Idoma did not start with him and his antics and that much as they are not original, they do not disturb any right thinking person from Zone ‘C’ even though the few who have found themselves in his government may want to shout others down for purely selfish gains.
It is not for fancy that the Idoma started their agitation for a state decades ago and it is not without basis.
If the governor wants to learn from history he should ask questions and he would see that such clamp down had never dampened the spirit of the Idoma but has only pushed them to aim higher and to succeed.
Other more accommodating political leaders like Aper Aku and Gabriel Suswam have tried to be fair to all citizens of the state but what is happening now is an attempt to revisit with stiffer measures what Akume had tried to do in his first tenure.
It is clear with the benefit of hindlsight, that what Akume had tried to do was to split Zone ‘C’ into two such that if he cannot have the entire zone leaking his boots at least he could control a half or something close to that.
The Idoma did not begrudge Akume when he chose the late Ogiri Ajene who was the son of the first Och’Idoma the great Ajene Okpaji as his deputy then because we had always believed that we were one and due to the respect for his father.
It was later that the intention of Akume became clear when he succeeded in manipulating the APC to surrender its ticket to Ortom who has since then been behaving like a godson in a hurry to repay the favour done to him.
With the benefit of hindsight we are happy that the Benue South rerun election which Mark won was annulled and a fresh election ordered because if that had not happened we would not have known early enough the true wishes of Akume for Idoma.
This wish, clearly spelt out by his recent engagement is that any Idoma man that aims for a higher political office either at the state or national level should be hunted down.
That the Idoma should accept their ‘fate’ merely due to population issued as second class citizens and that any attempt to act independently would be termed an unforgiveable offence by the powers that be In Benue.
This was further demonstrated with the appointment of audu Ogbe as minister which attracted further opposition from the Benue Government House.
During Suwam, the Idoma produced ministers without the Government House betraying any sense of loss or bereavement but under Ortom it became a development that the Benue Government house cannot stand.
The end of year event sponsored by Senator Mark which he brings all Idoma sons and daughters together was punctuated out of sheer envy.
I would round up this piece by calling on Ortom to show more understanding and tolerance as he governs Benue.
It is bad enough that he has to operate under a shadow but inventing an enemy for the sake of pleasing a godfather to me is the height of stupidity and the consequence has manifested in so many other ways for instance his inability to pay salaries and do laudable projects so much so that he has become the laughing stock of his colleague governors who openly use him as an example of failure in governance and the butt of political ridicule as we have seen lately.
If Ortom wants to make enemy of a people why can’t he wait till the people genuinely offend him? Why should he just adopt an enemy simply because a certain figure who helped him with an election does not like them?
There is everything absolutely wrong with this approach to governance as he would soon find out that in leadership, as Richard Nixon once noted, it is possible to make the wrong mistake.