The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has implored media practitioners in Cross River to ensure accurate and balanced reportage ahead of the general elections.
The state Chairman of the party, Mr Venatius Ikem, gave the advice in a press statement made available to newsmen on Tuesday in Calabar.
Ikem, who was reacting to a statement credited to Mr Christian Ita, Special Adviser on Media to Gov. Ben Ayade, noted that the PDP was alarmed with the “spurious claims“ on Ayade’s achievements.
Ikem particularly said the party was alarmed with the claim by the ruling party, All Progressives Congress (APC), that the Ogoja rice mill was up and running and that work had reached advance stage on the Superhighway and Deep Sea Port projects.
Ikem maintained that nothing could be farther from the truth as the Deep Sea Port project never took off while the Superhighway had longed been an abandoned project.
The PDP chairman added that the claimed that Ayade had laid a solid foundation for the industrialisation of the state was a mere propaganda to “dress the governor on borrowed robe.”
According to him, “We would request for a project tour of the various industries or infrastructure they are bragging about.
“Are they talking about the Superhighway conceived as a smokescreen to deplete our rainforests for their personal pockets, even after spending billions of naira in clearing?
“Could it be the Deep Sea Port used as a subhead to fritter away our billions of naira in the name of mobilisation fees to pseudo companies?
“The so-called Ogoja Rice distributed in lieu of Senate election in Cross River North were bought from market and repackaged. Which industry is up and running please?
“The roads constructed by their companies are collapsing before official inauguration.”
Ikem urged the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) to introduce check and balance mechanism aimed at ensuring that press statements from certain government houses were verify before publication to avoid misleading the public.
“It is embarrassing that some media houses have sacrificed integrity by becoming a willing tool in the hands of the Ayade-led administration to misinform and misled our people just to stay afloat.
“The quest for survival or mercantile tendencies must not erode the credibility of the press,” he stated.
Ikem stressed that propaganda would not save Ayade and his party from defeat in the March 11 governorship election.
Ita had said the state government had done so much to lift the state in the area of industrialisation, noting that work was ongoing on the Superhighway and the Deep Sea Port projects.
“For the deep seaport, we have gone very far with the preferred bidder, China Civil Engineering Construction Company (CCECC). We are at the stage where the physical construction is to commence.
“And now they are at the financial closure state and so the process has been very fast for a major project of this nature.
“Remember that Lekki Deep Seaport took over two decades to be completed. Even Ibaka Deep Seaport in Akwa Ibom was conceptualised by the administration of Obong Victor Attah. After three different administrations, physical construction is yet to commence.
“This is because huge projects of this nature involve a lot of approvals and processes.
“On the Superhighway, construction is ongoing in phases.
“However, construction only commenced about two years ago due to litigations and petitions by some Cross River citizens and their cohorts, who had vowed to stop the project, using environmental concerns as an excuse,” he stated.