From Uche Nnorom, Makurdi
Minister of State, Trade and Investment, Dr. Samuel Ortom, has denied insinuations making the rounds in some quarters that he has a frosty relationship with Benue state governor, Gabriel Suswam.
Ortom, who has declared his intention to contest the governorship seat of the State in 2015, told newsmen yesterday in his Makurdi residence that he enjoys tremendous cordial relationship with the incumbent governor, intimating that Suswam has been very instrumental in his political and entrepreneurial growth.
“It was Suswam, as a member of the House of Representative, who gave me N1 million in my life which I invested into my printing business. It was from the proceeds of the business that I built this house. Suswam again nominated me as a national auditor of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP and then, he also did so in making me minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. So, for a man who has done all these, how would one say he does not like me? he queried.
While describing the rumors as a creation of some politicians who are out to deceive gullible Benue people, the minister lauded the Suswam government for the much he has been able to achieve with the meager resources, pledging that if elected, he will improve the fortunes of the state.
He promised to bring his vast experience acquired at both the state and national levels to bear in improving the socio-economic development of the State.
“Having served at the local and national levels, I have garnered enough experience to govern the state. If given the opportunity, I will serve with the fear of God. There will be selflessness, genuine reconciliation, goodwill, peace, humility and unity in the state. I will add value to all sectors of the state. I know the challenges we are facing in this state. The most notorious one is unemployment which is causing a great set back to the state. I will encourage industrialization. I will identify areas of comparative advantages especially in solid minerals and agriculture. My government will encourage commercial agriculture.
“I will encourage private sector partnership in governance. Government will create an enabling environment as well as support the private sector to strive. We shall go beyond the shores of the state and country to source for assistance. We will seek foreign investment to the boost economy of the State. Within 4 years, I will do a turn-around of the state. I own an enterprise that has engaged over 400 people and the multiplier effects have been witnessed by all; so I will translate this to the entire state. I have done wide consultation and have received endorsement from the people” Ortom said.
He further added that his administration will have zero tolerance for corruption, averring that anyone found to be corrupt would be dealt with in accordance with the law.