Benue State Governor, Dr. Samuel Ortom, has denied borrowing money from his former Chief of Staff, Hon. Terwase Orbunde to prosecute his 2015 governorship elections.
Orbunde had in a letter dated 16th April, 2022, requested that the Governor reimbursed him to the tune of N160m, which he claimed he “invested” in Ortom’s governorship campaign in All Progressives Congress (APC) in 2014.
According to him, the amount was proceeds of his property in Wuye, Abuja which he allegedly sold at that time; adding that, he would be needing the money to move his family out of the official apartments given to him in Commissioner’s Quarters, Makurdi.
But Ortom, via his reply dated 23rd April, 2022, denied knowledge of any “investment” in his 2015 campaigns to the tune of N160m from his erstwhile Chief of Staff, even though he obliged to offer any kind of help to Orbunde, just as he has always been doing.
“The fact that we worked together in 2014 to realize my Governorship ambition cannot be over-emphasised. However, as the Chief Visioner, I was always aware and in control of all the interventions from friends and associates aimed at prosecuting my elections and such were always acknowledged. I really cannot recall when we discussed and you made available or invested the sum of One Hundred and Sixty Million Naira (N160,000,000.00) in my campaign or election in 2015 or at any other time at all.
“As my political ally, if this request is coming from you for assistance, it would be understood and I can always assist as usual to the best of my ability. I am rather surprised that this appeal for reimbursement is coming after seven (7) years of my becoming Governor of Benue State and therefore, I consider same as made in bad faith, to say the least”, Ortom said in his reply.
It would be recalled that, Orbunde, a native of Kwande Local Government Area, after resigning his appointment as Ortom’s Chief of Staff late last year, went into the contest for Benue State Governorship in the 2023 elections.
He was, however, not favoured in the just concluded consensus arrangements by the Tiv stakeholders, as the position was rather zoned to the neighbouring Vandeikya Local Government Area, with the Speaker of Benue House of Assembly, RT. Hon. Titus Uba emerging from the area.