The All Progressives Congress (APC) in Benue State has critcised Governor Samuel Ortom over his incessant overseas trips, insisting that the state government has nothing to show for it.
The party, therefore, advised the governor to put a stop to “these endless streams of foreign travels” in the interest of the state “and concentrate on the task of good governance, which in all fair judgmental parameters has eluded Benue under his leadership.”
The APC was reacting to a statement issued by Terver Akase, Chief Press Secretary (CPS) to the Governor last Friday, that Ortom would be attending the ‘U.S. – Benue Trade Forum’ billed to take place in Los Angeles and Atlanta, California today (Monday).
Although, no specific date was given for the return of Governor Ortom to the state, it is speculated that he may come back to the country in three weeks’ time.
Critics have often lamented that anytime the governor jets out of the country, the running of government gets to its lowest ebb.
But a statement issued to newsmen in Makurdi last weekend and signed by the APC Acting Publicity Secretary in the state, James Ornguga, said: “Benue APC wishes to state unequivocally that the party is not excited about the governor’s foreign trips anymore.
“A statement by the Governor’s CPS indicates that the governor will (head to the USA) from the USA attend the Paris International Agricultural Show in France before returning to Nigeria at an unannounced date.
“Even though the intention of the trip this time may hold prospects, the past antecedents of the governor and his administration clearly position that Benue under Ortom has not been lucky with foreign trade agreements.”
A substantial number of Memoranda of Understanding (MOU) and bilateral agreements have been signed by this administration since its inception in 2015 till date but all have failed to yield the intended positives.”
The party also noted instances where the governor had travelled abroad and had come back without showing any results for his trips.
While he advised government to end the string of foreign trips, Ornguga noted that money spent by the Ortom administration on foreign trips, was enough to revive the agriculture sector where the state has comparative advantage over others.
Ornguga said: “APC recalls specifically that on April 22, 2016, Governor Samuel Ortom had signed an MoU with Wuzheng Group in Rizhao-China for the establishment of a Modern Tractor Assembly Plant in Makurdi and he again attended the 29th Exhibition of Belagro in the Republic of Belarus without the state having anything to show for it.
“In April 2017, Benue’s thick delegation to China headed by the then Leader of the State Economic Team, Prof. Dennis Ityavyar, travelled all the way from Guangzhou to Qinqdao where they, on behalf of the governor, signed a pact with the Qinqdao Bureau of Commerce covering several areas of economic cooperation such as electricity and road construction in the 23 local government areas of the state without fruition.
“Just last year, the governor was in Japan to attend the Global Economic Summit whose impact we have yet to see and feel in the state.”
The APC spokesperson argued further that “Since the current trip is tagged a Trade Forum, we were expecting that the governor would assemble a team of trade experts and those knowledgeable in agriculture in his government to make the trip with him rather than exercising a “Jack of all trades” attribute.
“We wish to once again plead with the governor, in the interest of the state to put a stop to these endless streams of foreign travels and concentrate on the task of good governance which in all fair judgmental parameters has eluded Benue under his rule.
“It is our sincere thinking that the whole money spent as estacode by his administration in embarking on foreign trips in the guise of seeking foreign investors that have so far refused to come over to Benue is enough to revive our agricultural sector where the state has comparative advantage over other states.
In the statement on the Social Media last Friday, Akase said Governor Ortom who departed Benue on Friday, will today (Monday) attend US – Benue Forum, before proceeding to another event organized by the United States Institute of Peace (USIP), in Washington DC.
Ortom is also expected to attend the Paris Annual International Agricultural Show in France before returning to the country, sometime by the end of February.