Contrary to claims that a former Minister of State for Niger-Delta Affairs, Sam Ode, is a retired Permanent Secretary in the Benue State civil service, his kinsmen under the aegis of Idoma Patriotic Front, on Tuesday, faulted the claim describing it as “impersonation from hell.”
Specifically, the socio-political organisations, said it was the mischievous handiwork of the Benue State governor, Samuel Ortom who allegedly connived and forged documents to send Sam Ode, to the National Institute of Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS) as a retired Permanent Secretary from the State.
Ode is among the 66 participants in the 2017 Senior Executive Course 37 of NIPSS scheduled for this coming Saturday.
President Muhammadu Buhari will be special guest of honour at the event which would be preceded by the Distinguished annual lecture on Friday with the theme: “Unity in diversity: Responding to the current challenges of nation building”, to be delivered by elder statesman and former Head of State, Gen. Yakubu Gowon (retd), while Imo State Governor, Owelle Rochas Okorocha, would be chairman of occasion.
According to the programme, Ode’s name appeared in No. 40 on the list of participants who would be given certificates..
But the Idoma Patriotic Front said “throughout his life Ode never worked as a civil servant but was recommended to NIPSS by the Benue State government as a retired Permanent Secretary.”
The National President of IPF, Timothy Onche Agbo, who raised the issue during a press conference in Abuja, said the falsehood is part of the perjury and impersonation which the government of All Progressives Congress (APC), would partake in the 2019 general election.
He said, “In 2005 during the administration of Senator George Akume as governor of Benue State, Ode was appointed Special Assistant. In 2006, he was appointed by the same administration of Akume as the Caretaker Chairman of Otukpo Local Government Area in Benue state. It was during his tenure in Otukpo LGA that he was alleged to have collected subvention meant for the LG and disappeared for several months.
“By 2007, when Gabriel Suswam was elected Governor of Benue State, Ode got appointed as Special Adviser and Head of Bureau for Local Government and Chieftancy Affairs.
“When late President Umaru Musa Yar Adua died, ex-President Goodluck Jonathan who took over appointed Sam Ode as a Minister of State for Niger Delta Affairs, a position he left and is yet to be heard. Nothing has been heard of him ever since, only to resurface in NIPSS with a borrowed toga of retired Permanent Secretary from Benue State.”
Agbo therefore called on security agencies to “effect the arrest and prosecution of Sam Ode for lying and subjecting Idoma ethnic nationality to scorn and ridicule.”
Further investigations revealed that Ode was nominated to NIPSS by the governor of Benue state Samuel Ortom.
This has been interpreted by critics as a compensation for dumping the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for the APC after the 2015 governorship election through which Ortom became governor.