By IKANA ADAKOLE, Otukpo
The Benue State Government under the leadership of Governor Samuel Ortom has put in place initiatives to boost agricultural production as a way of boosting the state’s economy.
Governor Ortom stated this while speaking at a reception organized in his honour by the APC in the state after the Supreme Court affirmed his victory in Markudi on Monday.
“We must sincerely return to agriculture with emphasis on processing and the entire value chain as a way of boosting our economy. Our government has put in place ingenious initiatives to boost agricultural production as listed in the 2016 budget.
“We must also provide the necessary infrastructure to boost our rural economy. To this end, the Ministry of Works and Transport shall be given the additional mandate of Power and Energy as a way of refocusing on needed power supply for our economic development and emancipation.
The ministry shall become Ministry of Works, Transport and Energy,” he said.
He said that though they must remember that they are celebrating today as the heirs of the labours of their heroes past and have a duty to preserve the state, and sincerely invest in the future of the children yet unborn, he is dedicating the victory to all the people of Benue but more particularly to the youth who shall inherit the labours of today.
“The future of Benue belongs to these valiant young men and women. Last Friday, the Supreme Court of Nigeria put a final seal of approval on the popular mandate which the Benue electorate gave us on April 11, last year. Let me appreciate God almighty, the Benue electorate, our great party, the All Progressives Congress, APC, and our team of lawyers, for their various roles in the electoral victory and the affirmations thereafter. Let me also welcome all of you who have come from far and near to receive me home and celebrate with us after our victory at the apex court,” he added.
Ortom commended all the leaders of the state APC, particularly, Senator George Akume, leader of the party in the state, Chief Audu Ogbeh, member of the APC board of trustees, Senator Barnabas Gemade, the state chairman, Comrade Abba Yaro and all executives of the party in the state, all National and State Assembly members, especially the Speaker, his Deputy and the Majority Leader who were personally present in court.
“I appreciate my able Deputy, Engr. Benson Abounu and all members of the state and security councils as well as other major stakeholders and the clergy of various denominations who have stood by us right from the campaign days to the present moment.
Gold, they say, is always purified by fire. Our victory, in similar mode, has been put to test at all levels. With the curtain falling finally on our opponent’s appeal last Friday confirmation has been given that God’s work withstands all storms and turbulence. This is the Lord’s doing, and marvelous it is in our sight,” he admonished.
He said that there is no victor, no vanquished in the victory, stressing that theirs’ is a battle fought and won by all Benue people, irrespective of creed and political affiliation.
“Majority of our people yearned, prayed, worked and voted for change. We prayed and fasted for it – and God answered us. In their ranks were Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and APC members others were none partisan. While the role of everyone is acknowledged and appreciated, it is a fact that elections and political disputes are now over.
The challenge before us is how to pull our state out of ignorance, poverty and disease. These challenges have become more acute in the face of dwindling fortunes of Nigeria’s economy as a result of falling oil prices. As things stand today, governments at all levels have a herculean task of fulfilling their obligations hence the need to think beyond the box in efforts to diversify the economy in order to boost internally generated revenue,” Ortom added.