Tiv Youth Council Worldwide (TYCW), a Benue-based socio-cultural group have demanded an apology from Governor Samuel Ortom for referring to Benue indigenes as drunks.
While inaugurating the new building of RCN Embassy Church in Makurdi, the governor was quoted to have accused his critics of drinking beer from 9a.m. and sleeping all-day long.
The youth group, in a statement issued in Abuja by its president, Mr Mike Msuaan, said it was regrettable that the governor made such derogatory remark on a people surviving on self-help.
It noted that it was disheartening that Governor Ortom who had neither been able to initiate any development project nor pay basic salaries and pensions and gratuities of retirees could make such a remark.
TYCW alleged that the governor has consistently ignored counsel to partner with relevant Federal Government agencies to attract development to the state rather than dishing out verbal insults to perceived enemies.
“We have appealed to Gov. Ortom several times to please concentrate on governance and entrench good governance and responsible leadership in the state.
“We have wondered why development has continued to elude us under his leadership, especially at a time states created several years after Benue have moved with the speed of light.”
It maintained that such demeaning reference to a people should be condemned by all well-meaning people and called on the Benue Traditional Council and religion institutions to call the governor to order.
It stated also that since he was elected governor, Ortom had not built any industry to meaningfully employ the people of Benue.
“We have continuously appealed to him, to liaise with relevant Federal Government institutions to rebuild, resettle and return Internally-Displaced People to their ancestral homes.”
Reacting to the demand for an apology, Nathaniel Kyur, chief press secretary to the governor said Ortom would not apologise over statements that were clearly products of mischief by a news hound.
Kyur claimed the reporter who wrote the “mischievous story has already tendered an apology to the governor, hence there was no point demanding an apology from Ortom.
“Our earlier statement on the matter suffices. If anybody has an audio clip of the message, let him tender it and he will be made to present the original in court. Ortom will not apologise for what he did not say,’’ Kyur insisted.