THE cold war between Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State and his predecessor, Gabriel Suswam, deepened on Tuesday, as they engaged in a war of words over governance.
Suswan served the first salvo on Monday when he accused the governor of undermining due process in taking some steps in his official capacity, citing the appointment of sole administrators for local governments in the state.
Speaking at the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) caucus meeting at party secretariat in Makurdi, the former governor accused his successor as running a government of deceit.
He alleged that the appointment of sole administrator s for the local governments in a democratic system undermined due process as outlined by law.
“Benue belongs to everyone of us; it is not an individual’s estate. So, we should not fold our hands and allow things to go the wrong way, or how will a government cancel plans to hold a local government election, when many people had spent money to purchase forms? “When we were in government, we ensured that democracy was operated down to the third tier of government. We conducted a free and fair election that did not attract dissenting voice,” Suswam said.
Suswam also accused Ortom of introducing hate and bitterness in the state through his style of governance, a situation he claimed had created “a big mess” in the state.
He stated: “Benue is in a big mess. We must stand up and speak loudly against this government, even if it means going to jail. I cannot chicken out because someone is threatening to take me to jail. We must fight for the future of our children. This government has introduced hate and bitterness.
“At the right time, we will expose them. We must remain resolute and remove this deceitful government in 2019.”
But in sharp reaction, Ortom condemned Suswam over his comments describing his action as the ranting of a man that is bereft of ideas.
He maintained that as a lawyer, the erstwhile governor should know that the constitution of the country allows states to make laws for the local governments.
Ortom said the appointment of sole administrators by the present administration followed due process of legislation from the state House of Assembly, with a preponderance of PDP members.