Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State addressed the controversy surrounding the appointment of Pastor John Inalegwu Odogbo as the new paramount ruler of the Idoma nation on Monday.

Last week, Elaigwu, a pastor with the Deeper Christian Life Ministry, was elected as the new Och’Idoma by the Selection Committee, which consisted of 32 chiefs.

Following the death of His Royal Highness, Agabaidu Elias Ikoyi Obekpa, who went on a hunting expedition on October 10, the 52-year-old clergy defeated Andrew Idakwu and Sunday Echono to become the new king of Idoma land.

The Ochetoha K’Idoma National Forum, on the other hand, rejected the Och’Idoma-elect, accusing the state governor of interfering with the selection process.

Governor Ortom responded to the group’s report, which was signed by one Toni Adokwu, in a statement released on Monday by his Chief Press Secretary, Nathaniel Ikyur, saying he had no role in the selection process.

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In a statement, he stated that the selection process was conducted in accordance with the Benue State Council of Chiefs and Traditional Councils Law 2016.

“For the avoidance of doubt, Governor Samuel Ortom has no hand in the selection of any traditional ruler or Chiefs, either in the Idoma Traditional Area or the Tiv Traditional Area,” the statement reads. And the Governor never invited any traditional ruler of Idoma descent from any part of the world to Government House for the purpose of selecting a new traditional ruler for the Idoma nation. The new Och’Idoma was chosen according to the legal procedure outlined in Benue State’s Chieftaincy laws.

“Contrary to their false claims, the selection process was conducted in accordance with the Benue State Council of Chiefs and Traditional Councils Law of 2016.” The Och’Idoma shall be chosen rotationally by a Selection Committee from among the Components of Agatu and Apa; Otukpo and Ohimini; Ado Enone (Ado, Ogbadibo, and Okpokwu); Igede, according to the provisions (Oju and Obi). And, according to history as told by members of the Selection, it was Agatu and Apa’s turn to produce the next Och’Idoma.

The Selection Committee is made up of the following individuals:

“In total, the Idoma Area Traditional Council has four First Class Chiefs, nine Second Class Chiefs, and eighteen Third Class Chiefs.” This brings the total number of members of the Idoma Area Traditional Council’s Selection Committee to 32.

“Of this number, twenty-eight members of the total number were present at the selection exercise, according to the selection committee’s report. The selection quorum is made up of two-thirds of the committee’s members.

“Five people showed up for the selection process, according to the committee. A total of four people were nominated. One person stepped down during the search for a consensus candidate. The election/selection involved three people. After the voting was completed, one candidate received one vote, another received eight votes, and the winner received 19 votes.

“This demonstrates that the selection process was extremely open, fair, and free.” At least nine voters did not vote for the winner, and none of them can demonstrate that he is a victim. As a result, the Ochetoha K’Idoma’s allegations against Governor Samuel Ortom are unfounded, unfounded, and unnecessary. As a result, the authors of the press statement made a mistake by dragging the Governor’s name into a legal process governed by the Benue State Chieftaincy Laws of 2016.

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“The tone of the press statement, signed by AVM Toni Adokwu, a retired Military General who should know the consequences of inciting public peace after such a transparent process has been completed, was not only derogatory to Governor Ortom but purposefully crafted to cast doubt on his government.” The statement is also meant to sow discord, devastate, and pit the Tiv against their Idoma brothers. This is something that should not be tolerated.

“It also boggles our mind how AVM Adokwu and his cohorts attempted to discredit the Benue State House of Assembly, which included the full complement of all Idoma representatives.”

“The Benue State Chieftaincy Law 2006, which introduced the unified new first-class, second-class, and third-class chiefs in the state, was enacted after due process, including public hearings.”

“Let it be known to AVM Adokwu and his supporters that the Benue State Chieftaincy Law is not the brainchild of Governor Ortom, nor is it intended to humiliate and subjugate the Idoma people.” The provisions of the amended chieftaincy law, which is the ground norm for the process of selecting the Och’ Idoma, are known to all traditional rulers and elites in Idoma land, including members of the state assembly who are representatives of the people.

“This same law was used to choose other Chiefs in Idoma land, and it is still being used to choose Chiefs to fill some vacant stools in Idoma land.” Let it be stated emphatically that no traditional ruler from outside of Idoma land took part in the selection of the new Och’Idoma.

“As a result, Governor Ortom’s campaign of slander and prejudicial name-calling is vexatious, callous, and thus completely uncalled for, and should be dismissed by all well-meaning people of Idoma descent and indeed Benue State.”

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