Senator Geroge Akume with Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue state/Dailypost

The senator representing Benue North-West Senatorial District, George Akume, has questioned the authenticity of Governor Samuel Ortom’s Ph.D. certificate in what was a war of words between the two Benue political gladiators on Monday.

Akume had at the All Progressives Congress expanded caucus meeting in Makurdi described Ortom as a non-performer, alleging that the governor was parading a fake doctoral degree.

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Akume said the governor needed to be voted out of power next year, accusing him of running the Social Investment Programme like his family entity.

In what was an apparent reaction to the views expressed by Ortom in an interview he granted Saturday PUNCH, Akume said, “Ortom said he has PhD from the Commonwealth University of Berlin, but there is nothing like Commonwealth University. At least, I’m a graduate of the University of Ibadan, where I bagged my first and second degrees. I am also a fellow of the Institute of Management and I have honourary PhD from the University of Jos.

“He said I was a protocol officer while he was a local government chairman and that I served him, I never saw Ortom in the government house that period.

“He is saying I never won an election, but I won an election in 1999, he ( Ortom) was in SDP; also in 2003 when I moved to ACN, I also won elections but the last election, Ortom lost in his local government. When I was building PDP, where was Ortom?” Akume asked.

The senator also accused Ortom of always insulting President Muhammadu Buhari and asked the governor to clear the backlog of salaries arrears owed workers and pensioners in the state, who, he said, were dying of hunger.

Tahav Agerzua, Ortom’s Adviser on Media and ICT, reacting on behalf of his principal described Akume as a drunk who could not be taken seriously.

The governor’s aide said PhD was not a prerequisite for being a governor and described Akume’s allegation as a diversionary tactic.

He wondered when Akume became an assessment authority, challenging the senator to give an account of his stewardship in the red chamber.

“Akume is not an accreditation authority and he cannot speak on that. In any case, that has no basis because PhD is not a prerequisite for governorship; so, it is a diversionary tactic. Let him give an account of his stewardship; he should stop assessing others, he is not an assessment authority.

“Moreover, everybody knows that he is a drunk; what he said stems out of his drunkenness; he is not someone to be taken seriously.”