Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, has described the performance of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in last Saturday’s governorship election in Anambra State as part of its re-strategising and re-engineering towards 2023
He stated: “Right here in Benue, we have 70 per cent control, which is a clear sign that the party is ready for the 2023 election.”
With 53,807 votes, PDP’s candidate in the Anambra election, Valentine Ozigbo, came second behind Prof. Chukwuma Soludo of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) who polled 112,229 to emerge winner.
On the amended Electoral Act awaiting assent by President Muhammadu Buhari, the governor said he had never supported direct primaries because “it is expensive; but if it becomes law, the PDP will adjust and use it as launch pad to re-stratigise and win election in 2023.”
Speaking on the ultimatum labour gave his government to clear five months’ salaries owed state workers, 34 months pension arrears owed retirees and 74 months owed local council pensioners, the governor said he had always carried labour at the state and local council along, intimating that he inherited N70 billion debt in salaries, pensions and gratuities.
His words: “It is something we have to look at better ways of earning money to pay. Benue is paying one of the highest salaries. Notwithstanding, we will engage them and resolve the issues.
“It is on this note that the Internally-generated Revenue (IGR) of the state needs to be improved upon to complement what comes as federal allocation. The processes of even borrowing or collecting loans are very cumbersome; so borrowing becomes a very difficult thing. Before a state borrows, the Federal Government must give approval.”
He, however, said the issue of irregular payment of salary predated his administration, that he would do everything possible to handle the payment of workers’ salaries and other entitlements in a record time.