Tuesday, December 29, 2015 2:43 pm
Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue state on Tuesday warned former police chief, Alhaji Abubakar Tsav, to stop playing politics with the death of the Tiv paramount ruler, the late Dr Alfred Akawe Torkula, the governor’s senior special assistant on media, Mr Terver Akase said.
Akase was reacting to Tsav, a former Commissioner of Police in Lagos, who condemned the governor on Monday for “lavish Christmas celebration” at his country home while the Tor Tiv was yet be buried. Tsav had also in November criticised Ortom for probing the former governor, Gabriel Suswam.
However, the governor said that Tsav had lost touch with the current happenings in the state and should not be taken seriously as the entire state had officially mourned the late Tiv ruler for three days.
He said that the state government upon the death of the Tiv paramount ruler declared three days of mourning as a mark of respect to the late king, adding that no official function was held by either Ortom or any government official.
“When the news was broken to the governor, who was on official trip away from the state, he rushed back and headed straight to the Tor Tiv’s palace in Gboko where he commiserated with the royal family over the irreparable loss.
“Again, on the day the official announcement of the demise of the Tiv ruler was made, Ortom declared three days of mourning.
“Within the period, the governor did not perform any official function and flags were flown at half staff in the state.”
The statement further disclosed that the state government, in collaboration with the Tiv Traditional Council had already set up a high powered committee for the burial of Tor Tiv, chaired by retired Gen. Atom Kpera.
The late ruler’s son married the daughter of Ortom long before he became the governor and both families had tremendous respect for each other.
He said that the allegation of vindictiveness against the late ruler were baseless, adding that constitutionally and traditionally he had reasons to accord the late Tor Tiv his due respect and entitlement.
He said that Christmas was a day most people return to their communities to join their families, friends, and well wishers to thank God for the gift of the Messiah.
“This year’s Christmas was Governor Ortom’s first in that position and expectedly and rightly too, many of his people within the state and beyond came to mark the Yuletide with him.
“He could not have turned them away.
“Moreover, it is ironical that a Muslim faithful who ought to be used to burying the dead, no matter how highly placed, within hours and in the most natural state would be concerned with whether a funeral is low key or elaborate.
“This clearly indicates that for some, politics can easily overwhelm religion.”
He warned that the burial of the late Tor Tiv should not be used as a platform for cheap political purposes, stressing “the “Tiv Paramount Ruler deserves a peaceful rest”.