By Ajama John Audu
Why does Gov. Samuel Ortom use every available opportunity to assure Benue sons and daughters that Uba, his political protégé and puppet candidate, is good enough to succeed him? Is a good product not supposed to sell itself? I mean, was he being questioned about Uba’s capacity
or the lack thereof at the latter’s wedding reception? Or is the wedding only a symbolic political statement reechoed through the godfather?
These are some of the endless questions I have had to ask myself after reading Ortom’s comment that “Uba has the capacity to govern Benue” at Uba’s wedding last week. In the final analysis, I came to the conclusion that even Ortom himself is aware that Uba is an unsellable product, conspicuously and strategically placed on the Benue PDP shelf to attract patronage from Benue masses. Thus, without conscientious persuasion of the masses, as Ortom does at every given opportunity, Uba’s acceptability is will-o-the-wisp.
One of the reasons I believe strongly that Ortom knows Uba is not suitable to succeed him inheres in his acknowledgment of his own failure. As the governor of Benue State for the past 7 years and counting, no one needs clairvoyance to know that Ortom’s administration is a monumental fiasco, characterized by poverty, hunger, non-payment of workers’ and pensioners’ salaries, unemployment, infrastructural deficit, and a cornucopia of everything else except good governance. In fact, any book written about Otorm’s administration without its title or thematic preoccupations reflecting the scourge of hunger and penury, orchestrated by grand malfeasance and egoism is a poorly written claptrap not worth reading. Ortom is not unaware of this and he also knows this will affect the acceptability of Uba’s candidature by Benue people. This is why he has made selling Uba to Benue people a part of his executive duties.
Consequently, the thought of Uba succeeding Ortom sends shivers down the spines of the good people of Benue State. This is because Uba can only be better than Ortom in greater degrees of failure and ineptitude. Succinctly put, Uba will be very good at everything else except administrative excellence and efficacy. I need not allude to biblical or historical precedence to substantiate this claim. It is a well-settled and time-tested truth that bad/weak leaders with vested interests in the succession plans are intrinsically wont to attract worse and weaker successors. Unlike the theory of electromagnetic force that establishes the behavior of similar magnetic poles in the opposite directions, in politics, like poles attract; unlike poles repel. This explains why honest, intelligent, and the most efficient people are outmaneuvered out of political contests for fear of not being able to keep them under control. In essence, Ortom wants a subservient and docile successor who not only does not possess the grits, guts, and guiles to hold up the failings of his administration to public ridicule but is also willing to build on his negative legacies. By so doing, under the burden of suffering, Ortom would be revered for being better than his successor. He finds that figure in Uba and this is why he is trying his best to sell him to the populace.
Finally, every executive faux pas that is allowed to go without scrutiny has the absolute imprimatur of the legislature. As the speaker, Benue State House of Assembly, Uba was complicit in the failure of Governor Samuel Ortom and as such has shown himself to be an ineffective leader, incapable of making wise independent decisions on his own.
This means that Ortom’s decision to scheme out other worthy contenders is to enable him to find a subservient governor through whom he would rule Benue, as stated earlier, the third time by proxy. This was what endeared Uba to him. In essence, the candidature of Uba is actually the third coming of Ortom to finally destroy Benue. This is why Benue sons and daughters must come together to consign the tragedy that is about to befall Benue to the trash can of political history by massively voting against Titus Uba come 2023. This is the only way to move Benue forward.