Birthdays should ideally be periods of introspection, while been thankful to the creator.
People celebrate their birthdays as they choose, considering the fact that there are no defined standards to copy from.
Neither can one impose a particular celebration-style on anybody.
Particularly, where the celebrant is a public official, it requires a frugal and moderate celebration.
Anyone conversant with Benue State would know that the state is one of the worse hit by the economic misfortune that the entire country has been experiencing in recent times.
Workers have not been paid for several months. Governance is at an abysmally low level.
The hardship experienced by the people is at its peak. In fact, the state has been surviving practically, on borrowed funds. Funds that have hardly be accounted for.
In terms of security, the state has not fared better.
It has experienced it’s fair share of attacks by herdsmen (the nomenclature for the new terrorist organisation terrorising Nigerians).
Thus, leading to loss of lives, leaving thousands of people displaced.
It is in consideration of the plight of the people of Benue state that one is confounded by the recent birthday celebration of the state governor, Dr. Samuel Ortom, in China.
While we thank God for preserving and enabling the governor to witness another birth date, one cannot comprehend his choice of where to celebrate it.
What is the rationale in opting to go to China to celebrate a birth day?
One may be inclined to say the governor had travelled to China on a ‘working'(whatever that means) visit to China.
He didn’t travel there celebrate his birthday. Great argument! But what did he really go there for?
Was he on the entourage of Mr. President? If by chance he was, was his wife also on the entourage of the president?
Hadn’t the president returned to Nigeria by then? What are/were the benefits of that visit to Benue state?
How will it translate into the payment of salaries of workers? Will it reduce the recently increased school fees of Benue State University?
How will the visit transform Benue into a haven for tourist or transform the poor infrastructure that dearth different parts of the state?
Another argument may be proffered that the governor is wealthy and is entitled to celebrate his birth day anywhere he likes.
Agreed. But, is it reasonable to do that, especially when you call yourself the people’s governor?
Are there proofs that he sponsored the China trip from his personal pocket?
Why will one, as governor, spend millions on a trip to China just to cut a birthday cake, when the money can be used to refurbish one of the too many dilapidate schools in the state?
The feeling among the people of Benue about the Ortom administration is one of disappointment and regret, as governance is yet to find its course after almost a year.
The goodwill enjoyed by the governor during the elections, have since evaporated.
A visit to Benue will reveal that nothing has changed. Except of course the name of the government house.
It is now known as the People’s House (don’t ask me if the people have unfettered access to the house or the governor).
That celebration in China tells one thing; the governor is grossly insensitive to the plight of his people.
Those who have the listening ears of the governor are not helping him.
Instead of telling him the truth, they whisper sweet nothing to him and spread lies about perceived opponents.
No individuals in his right senses would oppose a performing leader.
However, when things are at a standstill, people must not just talk, but shout at the top of our voice.
The governor must do recompense to the people of Benue.
The only way he can do this, is through developmental policies that will transform Benue and affect the lives of the people positively.
Anything short of these is unacceptable.
If things remain as they are, the people will not think twice before they send him packing from the People’s House in 2019.
Frank Ijege, Network for Democracy and Human Rights, email@example.com