APC, PDP Bicker over Airport Project in Benue


George Okoh in Makurdi

All Progressives Congress (APC) in Benue State has attacked the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) over the recent declaration by the Governor Samuel Ortom administration to construct a new airport valued at N11 billion.

The governor had declared during his budget proposal to Benue State House of Assembly that the state would be embarking on the project and it would be completed in two years.

However, the APC yesterday questioned the rationale behind the government’s decision and expressed worries over the new project.

APC, in a statement, said it’s astounded with yet another declaration by the governor that he would convert the proposed Benue State cargo airport and build another airport in two years.

“We are deeply worried at the spontaneous nature with which the PDP administration in the state emotionally declared serious policy statements with gusto, yet, failed to execute any without compunction,” APC said.

The party also alleged that the governor has the highest number of unfulfilled promises and cited the non-completion of the Origbo-Imamde-Akpu-Gbajimba Road as evidence.

But, in a swift reaction, PDP acknowledged rights of the opposition party to hold an opinion about policies and actions of the Ortom administration, but said the validity or otherwise of such views must still be measured against the majority opinion of Benue people who are and would always be the ultimate targeted beneficiaries of any policy and action of the PDP-led administration.

“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 wishes to remind APC that the same cargo airport project, which they today lampoon the Ortom administration, was conceived and initiated under APC as the sponsoring political platform. If the APC had guided the administration right, the project would not have ended up as 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 Governor 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 its members in the state legislature where the airport project is up for consideration and raise objections to the project.

“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 as the case may be, of Benue people to any proposed policy or action of government,” PDP said.

The ruling party added that the proposed airport project, if found desirable by Benue people through their representatives in the legislature, would be executed by the Ortom administration in line with the provisions which would be made for it by law.

PDP dismissed the allegations of non-completion of road projects, saying this could not be rationally viewed to connote non-performance by the Ortom administration since there were 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, and the Och’Idoma Road in Otukpo among several other road projects are at various stages of completion. The ongoing works are proof of the focus of the Ortom administration on the provision of critical infrastructure to the people of Benue State,” PDP added.