By Adah Samson Ocholi,
It is not news that Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom has sacked the Caretaker Chairmen of Okpokwu and Ogbadibo Local Governments, Barrister Chris Idu and Mr Paul Adoyi respectively.
Even though the government has remained silent over the incident, details of the political powerplay that forced the Governors hand have begun to emerge.
Barrister Idu’s travails started when early into his tenure, he was dragged unto the floor of the Benue State Assembly by the Deputy Speaker, Hon. James Okefe after it became public that the Deputy Speaker who also hails from Okpokwu Local Government, together with the Governors Special Adviser on Ethics and Value Orientation, Dr Godwin Ameh Idoko, were making monetary demands of the Chairman to the tune of one million naira monthly from the meagre allocation to the Local Government.
Even as that move failed, a public outcry for Hon. Okefe to be investigated over the allegations fell on deaf ears as he is believed to have had the support of the Governor, the Deputy Governor and even the First Lady having handled the 700 million Naira contract for the supply of cars to State Assembly members and principal government officers on her behalf.
The aforementioned laid the foundation for the sacking of the embattled Chairman even though he was rated the best performing Local Government Caretaker Chairman after commissioning over 22kms of roads and renovation of the council headquarters and Ugbokolo Market in the last five months.
Following his sack, the Deputy Speaker has, by the request of the Governor, submitted the name of one Mr Innocent Omale as replacement.
On the other hand, now former Ogbadibo Caretaker Chairman, Mr Paul Adoyi was never the choice candidate of the Honourable Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh. His fate was however sealed when he fell out with other elder statesmen in the Local Government and also the All Progressives Congress, APC candidate in the forthcoming Benue-South senatorial rerun elections, Comrade Daniel Onjeh.
Coupled with a poor outing since assuming office, Mr Adoyi was shown the door by Governor Ortom to save the party from embarrassment ahead of the rerun elections.
This makes it three Local Government Chairmen that Governor Ortom has fired in the last six months, the first being that of Gwer-East, Mr Dele Uzuku.