The People's Democratic Party (PDP), Benue State chapter, has said the "campaign of calumny" being orchestrated against the party and its Tiv consensus Governorship candidate, Rt. Hon. Titus Tyoapine Uba, by the All Progressives Congress (APC), shows that the opposition was afraid of defeat in 2023.
The PDP in a statement issued by its State Publicity Secretary, Bemgba Iortyom, on Wednesday, said heavier defeat awaits Benue APC in 2023 than they suffered in 2019, stressing that the APC stooping to "fabrication of fairytale and lies only reflect fear and outright panic going into the coming polls.
The umbrella party urged APC to come to terms with the hard fact that the Benue electorate, in making choices in 2023, will not be fooled by smokescreens of lies and insults on opponents, but would be led to those choices by a combination of antecedents of candidates and track-record of political platforms sponsoring them.
"In this light the latest round of allegations by APC that the N38 billion loan approved by the State Assembly for the administration of Governor Samuel Ortom when obtained will be used as campaign finances for the Speaker, is just another whiff in the opposition smokescreen of lies which the electorate will ignore.
"Detailed clarifications already made by the Special Adviser to the Governor on Media, Hon. Terver Akase, shows that the N38bn so approved by the Assembly is the balance of an earlier N69bn loan request made by the administration to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in 2015, alongside other states, for purpose of offsetting inherited arrears of salaries and pensions to workers.
"Out of that request which was tagged Bailout Loan, the sum of N28 billion was granted by CBN leaving a balance of N41 billion, which is the component covered by the latest approval granted by the State Assembly, for which purpose remains ab initio the offsetting of outstanding salaries and pensions to workers in the local and state tiers of government," it explained.
The PDP continued: "APC must also come to terms with the fact that the Benue electorate will appraise the debt profile of the Ortom administration against the highly visible backdrop of infrastructure projects and social amenities it has provided across the state in the face of crippling insecurity.
"The people understand that with the shrunken monthly allocation from Federal coffers, the administration has been constrained largely to rely on borrowing to meet its obligations, same way it has been with other states and as well the 'almighty' federal government.
"They are also well aware that while other states have enjoyed preferential support from the federal government in the forms of grants and interventions all along, Benue has remained marginalised, a fact evident in the lateness of the outstanding N38 billion package coming when other APC controlled states like Kogi received theirs and numerous other interventions years back.
"Regarding APC fairy tales of disunity in the ranks of our great party, the facts stand tall that Benue PDP under Governor Ortom is arguably the most cohesive and robust state chapter of the party, with all members, high and lowly, fused together in common stakeholding.
"Under the governor, the party has adopted ingenious measures in conducting its internal processes and arriving at difficult decisions with unparalleled success, such as the consensus option of nominating candidates.
"These are feats the opposition APC vainly tries to criticise, yet at the same time, attempts to copy, but with poor results owing to their unsuitable character as a party run by an individual for his benefit, that of his family members and selected cronies.
"APC in Benue State as things stand once again is dodging the trail of issues and facts based campaigning, as it did in 2019, and is desperately hoping lies, insults, propaganda and possibly external forces will catapult it to victory in 2023".