BY CHRIS OCHAPA





In furtherance to his promise to implement the recommendations of the 46-member Senator Iyorchia Ayu led transition committee, Benue State Governor, Dr. Samuel Ortom had on the 15th of July, 2019 transmitted a memo consisting the name of fifteen commissioner nominees to the State House of Assembly.





Consequently, on the 18th
of July, clearly three days after acknowledging receipt of the memo, the hallowed
chamber of the State House of Assembly played host to the Governor’s nominees who
were drawn from various critical sectors of the Nigerian Socio Political and
Economic galaxy.





Views earlier canvassed by some home
grown political pundits suggested that the Governor may resort to picking most
of his cabinet members from geopolitical zones that had contributed more to his
electoral victory in the State. But to the chagrin of many, the Governor, in a
deliberate move to shove aside politics and unite the Benue people, selected
five nominees each from the three senatorial zones of the state.





Although, Governor Ortom threw the
lid open a week earlier when in an expanded party caucus meeting held at the
Benue Peoples House, Makurdi insisted that he would personally select his
cabinet members, five from each of the three geopolitical zones in the State without
input from stakeholders.





According to Hule Godwin, a Ph.D
research fellow at the Department of Political Science, Benue State University
Makurdi, the Governor’s approach in constituting his new cabinet portends a new
positive dawn in the Benue project, “It marks a total departure from the past
where a few individuals would sit-down in the comfort of their homes and write,
as well as recommend people who were not abreast with the workings of
government”, which as he puts it, had been in contrast to the idea of
generating sharp and appropriate economic and socio political imperatives that
could engender speedy infrastructural development in the state.





The Governor’s memo which was also described
in some clime as broad based, bore names of seven returnee commissioners, these
include: Michael Gusa, a lawyer and the Commissioner of Justice and Attorney General
of the State, Mr. David Olofu , an Agric Economist and Commissioner for
Finance, Professor Dennis Ityavyar, a university Don and consultant. Others are
Mr. Unenge Bernard, a Civil and Building Technology Engineer who is back to
oversee the Ministry of Lands and Survey, a terrain he has shown much
commitment and expertise; Dennis Ekpe Ogbu, a seasoned administrator and public
servant, an expert in human resource development, he is returned as
Commissioner in charge of Housing and Urban Development, and he is expected to
facilitate the much needed urban renewal policy thrust of Governor Ortom’s
second term mandate.





Governor Samuel Ortom congratulation Prof. Dennis Ityavyar




Mr. Merga Kachina, a lawyer has the Trade
and Investment Ministry, which is another key area of interest to the present
administration. Mrs. Ladi Isegbe, an administrator was deployed from the
Ministry of Women Affairs to Youths and Sports.





The new entrants in the broad based
and re-jigged Governor Samuel Ortom’s new cabinets include: Mrs. Ngunan Addingi,
a member of the 8thBenue Assembly who singlehandedly sponsored the
most celebrated and successful child right bill in the wake of Late 13 year old
Ochanya Ogbanje’s gruesome death. Mrs. Addingi holds a Masters in Media Arts
from the University of Abuja, she is expected to close rank with media
practitioners in the State while promoting government policies and programmes as
the new Commissioner for Information and Orientation. Dr. Ongbabo Sunday, a
surgeon and general medicine practitioner is also a public health expert, he is
the new Commissioner for Health and Human Services. His experiences span over
three decade of medical practice.





Governor Samuel Ortom congratulating Barr. Michael Gusa




Engineer Alexander Shaapera is an
experienced technocrat and civil engineer. He is respected as an old order in
the engineering cycle, a long standing member of the Council for Engineering Regulations
in Nigeria (COREN). He is expected to speed up works on the nearly two billion
naira township roads reconstruction and rehabilitation contracts recently awarded
by the State Government to Messers P.W. Nigerian Limited for Otukpo township
road, Zateco Construction Company for Gboko township, Prevent Construction
Company for Makurdi township road and Gas Integrated Nigeria Limited for
Katsina Ala Township Road Network. As a former employee of the government,
Engineer Shaapera is also expected to re-energize the Ministry of Works and
Energy through thick synergy with other professionals and directors in the
ministry in order toforestall infrastructural decay in the state.





Timothy Ijir, and Oyiwona Godwin are
both Ph.D holders, the duo are said to be highly versatile in comparative human
and material resource development, they are therefore expected among other
things to revolutionalize the Agriculture and Agro Allied industries as well as
embark on ICT driven development of human capital in terms of personnel who
will actualize government programmes as it relates to services.





New appointed Commissioners taking their Oath of Office.




Engineer Joshua Ahire is a technocrat,
a seasoned engineer whose capacity to reawaken the advocacy against ecological
threat to the state is not in doubt. He is a diehard professional who is ever
ready to assert his statecraftship at any given opportunity. He is the new
Commissioner for Water Resources.





Similarly, Mrs. Igirigi Nyiazungwe, a
Mobilizer and renown mentorship expert is to take charge of the Women Affairs Ministry
while Mr. Victor Ukaha was assigned Culture and Tourism.





Already, activities are steadily
picking up progressively in all the Ministries as the newly sworn in Commissioners
seem to know exactly what they were called upon to offer the Benue populace.





No wonder, in his inaugural speech at
the IBB Square on May 29, 2019 in Makurdi, Governor Ortom did not mince words
when he stated unequivocally that the State would witness unprecedented
transformation in every sector. And it is in pursuit of these all encompassing and
holistic approach that the Governor opted for core professional, experts,
technocrats, and visioners to manage the intricate and complex affairs of the State
thus putting square pegs in square holes.


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