PDP, APC Disagree over N11b Benue Airport Project

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 George Okoh in Makurdi

The All Progressives Congress (APC) in Benue State has launched a scathing attack on the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) over the recent declaration by the state Governor, Mr. Samuel Ortom, that the state would be constructing a new airport valued at N11 billion.

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

However, the APC had questioned the rationale behind the project.

APC said  in a statement that their party was astounded with yet another declaration by the governor that he would convert the proposed Benue Cargo Airport and build another airport in two years.

They stated 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.”

The APC also claimed that Governor Ortom, was the governor with the highest number of unfulfilled promises and cited the non-completion of the Origbo-Imamde-Akpu-Gbajimba Road as evidence.

However, the PDP in a counter statement acknowledges that the opposition party had a perfect right to hold an opinion about the policies and actions of the administration of Governor Ortom but said the validity or otherwise of such views must still be measured against the majority opinion of the Benue people who were and would always be the ultimate targeted beneficiaries of any policy and action of the 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 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, 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 the 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.”

According to them, 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 will be made for it by law.

The PDP also said even to the most lay of observation, non-completion of the said road project and other ongoing projects could not rationally be viewed to connote non-performance on the part of the Ortom administration since there were other road projects which had been completed while others were 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,” they insisted.