The Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom has asked the Federal Government to listen to the words of wisdom and disregard sycophants who might tell him that everything is well in the country.
Ortom was reacting to the Christmas Day message by Bishop Matthew Kukah of the Catholic Diocese of Sokoto who accused Buhari of nepotism in his statement on the state of the nation.
The PDP governor, on Wednesday, said that Bishop Kukah gave a true reflection of the current situation in the country.
In a statement made through his Chief Press Secretary, Terver Akase expressed how unfair and repressive the way the Federal Government reacted to the message of the cleric whom they accused of stirring hatred against President.
Ortom enjoined the Federal Government not to muzzle what he called “patriotic Nigerians who are raising genuine concerns over the worsening security situation in the country because all is not well”.
He said that Bishop Kukah is a selfless Nigerian who only seeks to unite the nation and speaks his mind frankly on national issues calling on the government to serve the people.
The Benue State governor advised that instead of politicizing the views of the Bishop and castigating him, the Federal Government should take a second look at the things he raised in the message to avoid throwing the baby out with the bathwater.
He noted that Nigeria is practising democracy which guarantees the freedom of speech to all citizens and not a military regime that suppresses the right of the people to voice their opinions on challenges facing their country.
According to him, it is incumbent on the Federal Government to listen to the views of the people and take steps to address the worrisome security situation and other problems confronting the country rather than combatively engaging anyone who dares to hold an alternative opinion.
The Governor is of the opinion that at this challenging time in the country’s history, the people expected their leaders to be tolerant, patient, humane, sincere, and always seek to address the issues that affect shared interests of citizens.
Ortom noted that many Nigerians have given their views on the situation in the country, stressing that Bishop Kukah was not the first to say that hundreds of innocent Nigerians were being killed in cold blood by bandits, kidnappers, armed herdsmen and other terrorists.
Also, he pointed out that even under the worst dictatorships, courageous citizens expressed their views on issues of national interest, stating that Nigeria which is a democratic nation cannot be an exception.
He stated that whipping into silence, men and women of honour who speak against injustice would not take the country to greater heights, stressing that the government needs critics who make constructive observations and recommendations for it to work in the interest of the people.
Ortom noted that great nations of the world got to their enviable heights by harnessing and utilizing the ideas of their citizens, not by discouraging those who made bold submissions on the development of their countries.
He, therefore, expressed his conviction in the unity, growth, and potential of Nigeria to overcome its current economic and security challenges and live up the true meaning of its title as the Giant of Africa.
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