New Benue Airport project: You lack depth, foresight – PDP fires back at APC over attack on Gov Ortom
The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, has replied the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Benue State over its attack on the state Governor, Samuel Ortom, over his proposal in the 2020 Budgetary Estimates to build an airport in the state as presented before the State Assembly a couple of days back.
The APC had said they were “astounded with yet another….declaration by the Governor…that he would convert the…Benue Cargo Airport…and build another airport in two years.”
The party stressed that they were “deeply worried at the spontaneous nature with which the PDP administration in the state emotionally declares serious policy statements with gusto, yet, fails to execute any without compunction.”
Responding to the attack, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) said it acknowledges that the opposition party has a perfect right to hold an opinion about the policies and actions of the administration of His Excellency, Gov. Samuel Ortom.
Bemgba Iortyom, State Publicity Secretary of the PDP, in a statement said, the validity or otherwise of such views must still be measured against the majority opinion of the Benue who are and will always be the ultimate targeted beneficiaries of any policy and action of the administration.
The statement reads.
“Benue PDP gladly accepts that the incumbent Ortom administration is a “PDP administration”, as described by APC, and that as the sponsoring platform the party must take the credit or discredit accruing from the administration’s actions.
“But by the same token of responsibility, PDP reminds APC that the same Cargo Airport project which they today lampoon the Ortom administration over was conceived, and initiated under their watch as the sponsoring political platform of the administration then.
“If they had guided the administration right the project would not have ended up a “white elephant project” like they now seek to derogatorily label it.
“It is, therefore, either a reflection of hypocrisy or lack of depth of thought, or a combination of both, for the opposition party to now seek to occupy the chair of the critic over that same project.
“It is similarly shallow of the opposition party not to factor it that the declaration of the proposed airport project made by His Excellency, Gov. Ortom, is still a part of the proposals contained in the budgetary estimates which he submitted before the state’s legislature for consideration and final approval.
“In line with the tenets of democracy, rather than take to the media waves making baseless noise, APC ought to mobilise their members in the state legislature where the airport project is up for consideration and raise their objections to thr project through them.
“The validity or otherwise of their views or those of any other person or group concerning the proposed project can only be determined by the state legislature which as a representative assembly aggregates the approval or disapproval, and the case may be, of Benue people to any proposed policy or action of government.
“In the same statement, Benue APC claimed that His Excellency, Gov. Ortom, is the “governor with the highest number of non fulfilled promises” and cited the non completion of the Origbo-Imamde-Akpu-Gbajimba Road in evidence.
“Yet, even to the most lay of observation, non completion of the said road project and other ongoing projects cannot rationally be viewed to connote non performance on the part of the Ortom administration since there are other road projects which have been completed while others are at various stages of progress.
“The Ahmadu Bello Way in Gboko, Igbor-Ikpa-Wannune Road, the Mobile Barracks Road in Makurdi, the Och’Idoma Road in Otukpo among several other roads projects at various stages of completion and ongoing works are proof of the focus of the Ortom administration on the provision of critical infrastructure to the people of Benue State.
“Benue APC also claimed that the governor has taken governance to ridiculous levels by attending to courtesy calls and other social events, and here the paucity of thought is even more glaring as this cannot possibly be the case.
“Since assumption of office to a second tenure, His Excellency, Gov. Samuel Ortom has been performing critical actions of government at a regular pace, and these have included appointment and inauguration of governmental structures in the various arms and tiers of administration in the state.
“The administration has during the same period undertaken the execution of critical infrastructural works which are ongoing as well as rural electrification projects across the state.
“The Ortom administration has as well been active in the provision of social amenities, with counterpart payments made to attract partnership funding in education where the State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB) recently awarded the latest tranche of contracts running into billions of naira for the construction of classrooms and office accommodation, as well as provision of furniture and learning aids in primary schools across the state.
“Gov. Ortom has during the same period made a number of foreign trips strategically targeted at attracting foreign investment into the state’s economy.
“It is instructive that what Benue APC is referring to as mere courtesy calls, perhaps for want of basic understanding or out of mischief, have actually been strategic partnership interactions with global developmental institutions such as the World Bank, European Union, United Nations and others, some of which are involved in counterpart-funded projects in the state, while others are involved in finding lasting solutions to the state’s security challenges.
“But if indeed APC truly abhors courtesy calls by public officials then they might need throw a media blanket on the activities of the leader of their party in the state, Senator George Akume, who since assumption of office as a minister in the Buhari administration has been active in the media for no other reason than receiving people on courtesy calls.
“The entirety of the activity log of the Benue APC leader as minister consists in courtesy calls which have been coming from all shades and manner of persons and groups, cultural and religious, and to date those form, perhaps, the only performance score card of the minister since he assumed office.
“PDP is rather surprised that Benue APC in the same statement sought to make an issue of the operations of the civil service under the Ortom administration, yet the governor has not hidden the fact that the civil service under him is undergoing restructuring, which given its intricate nature won’t be an exercise in a rush.
“Issues of promotions and retirement within the civil service are institutionalised and the position of the governor remains that the size of the service at every point must conform to the realities of the state’s financial strength.
“It is therefore, a further reflection of lack of depth of thought for the Benue APC to seek to make political capital out of this purely institutional matter.
“In the same breath, the opposition party sought to point to a speck in the Ortom administration’s eye, with their claim that the serving Head of the State Civil Service is due for retirement but her services are still being retained by the Ortom administration.
“Yet, it has been the custom of the APC controlled Buhari administration to extend arbitrarily the tenures of security service chiefs and heads of MDAs, a fact which constitutes a great log of wood in the eye of the opposition party in Benue State.
“As expected, the Benue APC vituperation targeted against Gov. Ortom paled into banality with the conclusion that the proposed airport project is for the personal business gains of theGgovernor, thereby reducing their views to the level of rumours bandied in pedestrian liquor joints.
“It is a fact which needs no embellishment that the Ortom administration under the watch of PDP has been up and doing discharging its mandate to the people of Benue State in a manner and quality remarkably different from the days it was under APC.
“There can be no better proof of this fact than the second term mandate the people gave the governor at the 2019 elections, despite the stance of the giants in the way to hinder same through the most extreme and foul measures.
“The proposed airport project, if found desirable by Benue people through their representatives in the legislature, will be executed by the Ortom administration in line with the provisions which will be made for it by law.”
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