The Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Congress in Benue State, Daniel Ihomun, tells JOHN CHARLES that the Peoples Democratic Party in the state has yet to wake up from the defeat at the governorship election
The opposition Peoples Democratic Party accused the APC government of keeping mute on the Federal Government’s palliatives to the state. What is the position of things?
Well, the acting Executive Secretary of the State Emergency and Management Agency, James Iorpuu, has said that the state has yet to receive the goods from the Federal Government.
But the state governor on Tuesday announced the receipt of 3,000 bags of rice to be distributed to all the 23 local government areas. Don’t you think it is contrary to SEMA submission?
There is no contradiction here. I think the 3,000 bags of rice that the governor mentioned were items meant for the 2022 Federal Government flood intervention that the National Emergency and Management Agency brought to the state. So, there are two different interventions from the Federal Government.
The APC government in the state is itching towards 100 days in office and it is receiving attacks for not living up to its campaign promises. How will you react to this?
Our party has a manifesto and the state governor too has its working document. The two are similar and these two documents are what the governor is using to meet the yearnings of the people of the state. Our party is grateful to the people of the state for choosing us as an alternative to the PDP. If you remember, there were a lot of challenges as of the time we came into office. Some of them are the backlog of salary arrears, infrastructure deficit, attention was not given to agriculture despite the fact that the state slogan is food basket, and we lost the slogan.
The new administration just a few weeks ago flagged off the distribution of fertilizer at a subsidised rate to farmers in this farming season. That shows the positive direction towards a better Benue State. So, our party and the government are focused on delivering the campaign promises to the people so that the lives of our people are improved tremendously.
But the opposition observed that the APC administration is slow in the delivery of its campaign promises to the people of the state which has attracted many criticisms in recent times. Are you not aware of this?
The opposition PDP left many rots and their poor performance made people reject them. So, it’s not strange that the party (PDP) that is still nursing defeat during the March 18 governorship election will turn to an attack dog. But our advice to the opposition party is that it should criticise constructively. Their issues should be made to sharpen governance and not mere ranting and vague criticism. They should go back to the drawing board and bring alternative solutions to the problem of the state and not just to criticise for criticising sake.
As 100 days of the new administration in Benue State approach, what are the milestones the APC government can point at?
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The APC-led government is on the right track and the party is very happy and satisfied with its governor’s performance so far. He has achieved a lot in the past few months. Though, it’s not yet uhuru because the challenges are enormous, we have a strong belief that the governor will continue with his giant strides to better the lots of the people of the state and the party will continue to support the governor and his policies.
For instance, if you go round, you will discover that there is improvement in the state. Remember the backlog of salary arrears and the government has been paying constantly. The governor is also looking at the issue of physical infrastructure. A few weeks ago, he flagged off the construction of 16 roads. The current administration recently procured and distributed fertilizer at a subsidised rate to farmers. What the past administration could not do. Also, the state government has approved payment of WAEC/NECO fees for students in our public schools across the state. Look at the assembly complex that was left unattended to has been renovated.
There is a claim that the party and government are working at crosslines. How true is it?
There is no split between the government and the party in the state. We are working in synergy to partner together and ensure the development of the state. The synergy is to get the best for our people. So, both the party and government are on the same page.
The PDP claimed that the APC govt has frittered away all the legacies and foundations put in place in the state, what is your response?
The APC government met a civil service that was poorly motivated, salaries were not paid, and the PDP government owed over seven months of salary arrears, and pensions were over 72 months, Benue State is an agricultural state, yet Benue State under the PDP had not even a single tractor or any farm to demonstrate to farmers modern day farming practices.
Makurdi, the state capital became the dirtiest state capital in Nigeria under the PDP. Critical infrastructure in the state were left to rot and poor healthcare services were the order of the day. The state was also heavily in debt without commensurate development. This is the rot we met on the ground, yet our party is taking giant strides on all these fronts.
The APC-led government of Gov Alia has provided fertiliser and farming implements to all Benue farmers this farming season, salary and pensions are being paid as and when due, and the government has partnered with investors to provide cheap and affordable housing to Benue citizens, Makurdi, the state capital, is wearing a new look because of better and efficient waste collection and management. Again, the APC-led government in the state has improved on the provisions of a better healthcare system at the primary, secondary and tertiary healthcare levels. The Benue people are happier and life expectancy has improved in the state under the APC-led administration of Rev. Fr Hyacinth Alia.
Do you think the people of the state still have confidence in your party?
The Benue people are excited, happy and supportive of the APC-led administration in Benue State, this is because there is a larger difference between what was obtainable under the failed and rejected PDP and the people orientation administration government now under the APC, the people of Benue are receiving the dividends of voting for an alternative that has added value to them in all sphere of life, the people of Benue are witnessing a government that is responsive to the wants and need.
The people now have a government that listens to their cries and tries to offer practical solutions to their problems, the people are supportive also because they own this government. Benue has never gotten it better. ,
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