Gentlemen of the press, it has become necessary that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Benue State alerts the general public to the mortally harmful brand of politics being played by the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state.
The opposition party has lately taken to attacking everything about the administration of His Excellency Governor Samuel Ortom, including even development projects as well as security initiatives which the administration has worked on assiduously to improve the nagging security situation within the boundaries of the state and also the quality of life available to the people.
Permit me to state that we understand that as the 2023 elections draw closer political parties will naturally deploy various strategies towards enhancing their attractiveness to the electorate, and in many respects those might include making their opponents look unattractive.
This in politics is acceptable, but only to the extent where all parties recognise the existence of the red line where individual and group interests end and the corporate interests of the state entity such as Benue take over.
Those are interests which are sacrosanct and inviolable and which must take preeminence over all other individual and group interests within the state, but sadly the opposition APC since losing power in the state in 2018 with the defection from their fold of Governor Samuel Ortom to the PDP, have by their conduct disregarded that preeminent status of Benue.
APC in Benue currently have adopted what may be termed a scorched earth strategy which is a military concept deployed in war whereby every resource available to the enemy including the very soil on which he stands is considered as legitimate target which must be destroyed.
Going into the 2023 elections APC in Benue is seeking to win power and they consider as legitimate target everything identifiable with the Ortom administration, be they physical development projects or ideas which seek the preservation and advancement of the interests of the state and her peoples under an increasingly competitive and to some extent hostile national environment.
Today APC has mobilised attacks within and outside Benue against the recently established Ethanol Production Industry in Makurdi and the Benue Community Volunteer Guards (BCVGs) which Governor Ortom commissioned recently.
The establishment of the Ethanol Plant established by a Chinese consortium as a direct foreign investment is a significant gain from the concerted efforts of Governor Samuel Ortom to market Benue State to the international community with a view to wooing foreign invertors to the state.
The industry represents a major boost to the agriculture sector of the state which runs a predominantly agrarian economic structure, and this is evident in the impact on the production of cassava in the state as the main raw material for the industry, with the attendant multiplier effects on the economy in multiple areas of related activities.
With the prevailing insecurity across the country and with the widely known situation of Fulani herdsmen armed attacks on Benue in particular, it was a feat of no mean proportions that the Chinese Investors were attracted to the state to cite that particular industry here and this is a feat which must be appreciated by all who mean well for Benue as a state regardless of what their objectives might be.
Unfortunately APC has over the past few days launched a campaign of calumny against the plant labelling it first as a private business concern of the governor and as well as an outlet for the production and marketing of illicit gin popularity known in local parlance as “Ogogoro”.
The BCVGs on the other hand as recently commissioned by Governor Ortom is a very last resort to self preservation by Benue people since it has become clear that the regular security apparatus of the country under the incumbent administration of President Muhammadu Buhari will not be able to protect the people from wanton killings and their displacement from their lands.
This initiative too has been under attack from APC since its commissioning, with the opposition party deriding it as more or a collection of thugs by the governor, and even alluding criminal characterisation of the outfit while at the same time calling on security agencies to put it under watch.
We have gathered from reliable sources that APC has hired shady characters masquerading under nebulous names to stage protests outside of the state and address the press raising protestations against the BCVGs as an undesirable security outfit.
Regardless that this presser is coming from a partisan platform, its aspirations transcend the limits of partisan political considerations, as it aims to appeal to reason on what ought to be the limit where all politics should confluence into the larger pool of the interests of society.
Under the incumbent order of the Ortom administration, as under any other elsewhere in Nigeria, there are without dispute issues of development and the wellbeing of the citizenry which may sufficiently form the staple of every day discourse on the objective plane.
The issues of salaries and pensions, infrastructural deficits and shortfalls in social amenities and the security of lives and properties of citizens are doubtless a daily staple which predates the incumbent administration and lingers with it.
But where the debate and discourse mushrooms into deliberate attacks on even the gains and milestones being achieved by government towards redressing those deficits and shortfalls, particularly where such attacks are not for purpose of strengthening, but rather to weaken and eventually cancel out those gains, there is a need to alert the people to the dangers posed by such tendency.
The current attack by the APC in Benue State against the Ethanol Plant established by Chinese Investors in Makurdi and the recently commissioned Benue Community Volunteer Guards (BCVGs) is a manifestation of the scorched earth strategy policy of deliberately targeting to harm the interests of Benue State such as should be brought to the attention of the people.
We call on the people of Benue State to be aware of such destructive tendencies by APC as the party seeks to win power even if it will mean destroying Benue, and similarly we well call on APC to appreciate the fact that we need Benue to be there for us as an entity before we may play politics under her canopy as our motherland.
Targeting to destroy everything Benue in the view that doing so weakens Governor Samuel Ortom and his party, PDP, going into elections is not only unpatriotic but qualifies APC unambiguously as enemy of the good people of Benue State who need to have a state which should grow in development and be secured for them and their children after them.
Long Live Benue State Long Live Federal Republic of Nigeria.