Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State has fired back at the immediate past Senate President, David Mark, for recently mocking his government’s distribution of wheelbarrows to Benue youths, claiming that the lawmaker’s statement stems from envy.
While commissioning Brick House and the chapel at government house in Port Harcourt, Rivers state, Mark was reported as deriding his state governor, Ortom for distributing wheelbarrows to Benue youths while other governors were busy constructing roads and bridges
The lawmaker representing Benue South at the Senate said, “While people are commissioning rods, commissioning bridges, commissioning good projects, in my own state, Benue, we are giving out wheel barrows to empower people, so you can compare and contrast.”
Reacting through a statement issued by his Chief Press Secretary, Tever Akase, the governor said Mark’s comment showed that he was only envious of his achievements after failing to make any impact as number three in the nation for eight years and a sitting senator for eighteen years.
The statement reads, “We listened to the comments made by the Senator Representing Benue South Senatorial District, David Mark at a function in Port Harcourt where he compared developments in Rivers and Benue States.
“Mark accused Governor Samuel Ortom of ‘giving out wheelbarrows to empower people’ when, according to him, other states are commissioning projects.
“We do not intend to belabour the issue of wheelbarrows which we have already made clarification that the carts were donated by the National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons, NCFRMI, for victims of armed herdsmen attacks in the state. Perhaps only Senator David Mark is not aware of this fact.
“Mark’s statements smack of a man who has obviously been disconnected with the very people who voted him. His utterances also exude envy against Governor Ortom who is succeeding where Mark has failed. In Benue South which Senator Mark represents, the Ortom administration has embarked on a number of projects for the people.
“Agatu which is a local government area under David Mark’s senatorial district affected by herdsmen attacks is today peaceful owing to the security initiatives of Governor Ortom. The people of the area have not hidden their joy and have been appreciating the Governor for ensuring the return of peace. We are not aware of any effort Mark has made to curb the crisis as a serving senator representing the people of that part of the state.
“Senator Mark certainly owes the people of Benue South an explanation on why the Otukpo-Enugu federal highway is still a death trap after many years that the contract was awarded by the government. Mark used the road project and his perennial promise for the creation of Apa State as campaign lullabies just to ensure his return to the red chamber of the senate on five occasions.
“It is rather unfortunate that Mark has failed to see the deliberate underdevelopment of the state by the government of his political party, Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, particularly the part of the state which he has represented as senator for nearly 20 years. It is within the same period that Mark rose to become President of the Senate, the number three helmsman in the country for eight uninterrupted years and had ample opportunity to address the development needs of the people.
“Township roads in Otukpo where Mark lives anytime he is in the state were abandoned by the PDP administration with Senator Mark doing nothing for as many years as their government lasted in power until the All Progressives Congress, APC, administration assumed office and concerted efforts at addressing the neglect of the town commenced.”