SPEECH BY HIS EXCELLENCY, ENGR. ABDULLAHI A. SULE, EXECUTIVE GOVERNOR OF NASARAWA STATE DURING A STAKEHOLDERS MEETING TO COMMEMORATE THE CELEBRATION OF 100 DAYS IN OFFICE, LAFIA: FRIDAY, 6TH SEPTEMBER, 2019

His Excellency, the Deputy Governor of Nasarawa State;

The Right Hon. Speaker, Nasarawa State House of Assembly;

The Hon. Chief Judge of Nasarawa State;

Distinguished Senators and Members of the House of Representatives present;

The Hon. Minister of State for Science and Technology;

Principal Officers and Members of the State House of Assembly;

Your Excellencies, former Governors;

Your Excellencies, former Deputy Governors;

The Secretary to the Government of Nasarawa State;

The Head of the Civil Service;

Special Advisers;

The National Vice Chairman, North Central Geo-political Zone, All Progressives Congress (APC);

The State Chairman, All Progressives Congress (APC);

Former Ministers and Ambassadors of the Federal Republic of Nigeria;

Former Senators and Members of the House of Representatives;

Permanent Secretaries Federal and State present;

His Royal Highness, Hon. Justice Sidi Bage Muhammad II JSC (Rtd) Emir of Lafia and Chairman, Nasarawa State Council of Chiefs;

Chairmen and Chief Executives of Commissions, Boards and Parastatals Federal and State present;

Executive Chairmen of Local Government Councils and Overseers of Development Areas present;

Your Royal Highnesses, Emirs and Chiefs;

Other Distinguished Stakeholders;

Members of other Political Parties;

Gentlemen of the Press;

Ladies and Gentlemen.

It is with special gratitude to the Almighty Allah and a sense of fulfillment that I address you today at this Stakeholders meeting as part of activities marking our 1st 100 Days in Office. I warmly welcome you all to this very important interaction and also appreciate your honouring of our invitation to attend this meeting, even at short notice.

This gesture of yours is inspiring and underscores your love, support to this Administration, sacrifice and commitment to the progress and development of our dear State. We are most honoured by your esteemed presence.

It is my expectation that this solidarity and demonstration of patriotism will be sustained in our collective determination to deliver the dividends of democracy for the benefit of all.

Your Excellencies, Your Royal Highnesses, distinguished ladies and gentlemen, this consultative meeting affords me the rare opportunity to once again express my profound appreciation to you and other stakeholders of the State for your support and understanding since my assumption of office as the Governor of Nasarawa State. Your confidence and trust on this Administration has given me encouragement and necessary political strength to continue to trail the path of unity, progress and development. May the Almighty Allah continue to guide our efforts towards taking Nasarawa State to enviable heights.

Let me state that today’s event provide me the privilege and honour to present the 1st 100 Days Report Sheets of the journey of our Administration that is focused on the delivery of service to the good people of the State. We owe you a duty to do so as a responsive Administration that has imbibed the principles of accountability, transparency, due process and prudent management of public resources, which has pleased the Almighty Allah to bestow on us.

Your Excellencies would recall that, when I assumed office as the Governor of our dear State, I made a solemn pledge to record some landmark strides in critical areas within the 1st 100 Days in Office. This is not withstanding the fact that 100 Days is not a sufficient time to assess the success of any Administration, but it is a period that gives the people direction and focus of the Administration. It is for this reason that I consider it imperative to update you on the milestone of this Administration since our coming on board.

CONSTITUTION OF THE STATE ECONOMIC MANAGEMENT AND INVESTMENT ADVISORY COUNCIL

In keeping with our commitment to promote economic empowerment and the general wellbeing of our people, I inaugurated the Investment and Economic Advisory Council on Monday, 29th July, 2019 in furtherance to our determination to engender economic growth and development of Nasarawa State. The Council comprise of eminent Nigerians who have excelled in their various endeavours nationally and internationally. The combined experiences and antecedence of members of the Council, I believe the Government is poised to initiate polices that are economically viable through the professional guidance of this all important Council. As part of achievement recorded in this direction, Nasarawa State Government has attracted investment into the State. The Government has signed a Tripartite Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Azman Rice Mills and Farms Ltd, as well as Umaisha Community few days ago for the cultivation of 12,000 hectares of land for rice production in the State. The benefits drivable from this project are quiet enormous considering the number of youth that will be employed and trained, as well as the revenue to be generated. The Project equally has the advantage of serving as vehicle for the attraction of international collaborations. In addition arrangement is underway with another investor for Rice Production in Doma which will soon be executed where it is hoped that over 50,000 hectares will be utilize for that purpose.

PUBLIC SERVICE RESTRUCTURING
In order to re-focus and revitalize the State Public Service for effective and efficient service delivery, we constituted a Committee to streamline Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies in the State. I am happy to report that the Committee has completed its assignment and submitted Report to Government. Realizing the imperative of strengthening Government towards taking an objective decision on the matter, Government constituted a Review Committee to appraise the Report of the exercise. Government is carefully studying the report of the Review Committee for immediate implementation. I need to reiterate the commitment of this Administration to reform the Public Service and provide it with necessary infrastructure that will place it on the right pedestal for enhanced efficiency and productivity.

PAYMENT OF PENSION
In our determination to offset the arrears of pension and gratuity, we constituted a Committee to appraise the extent of Government liabilities and other matters in the contributory pension scheme. While Government has restored the 100% payment of monthly pension to the State retirees, other issues relating to payment of arrears of pension are still been carefully looked into.

LAFIA CARGO AIRPORT, KWANDARE
Your Excellencies, distinguished ladies and gentlemen, when we came on board, we made a commitment towards the completion of on-going projects critical to the development of the State. It is for this reason and in order to consolidate on the foundation laid by the previous administration that we intensified efforts on the completion of the Lafia Cargo Airport. We are witnesses to the fact that the Airport hosted some high-profile visitors in recent times. Government is also making concerted efforts to expand and extend the runway to international standard with the view to accommodating the envisaged influx of investors, goods and passengers, as well as facilitating the landing and take-off of Boeing 747. The airport when fully completed will be one of the best in the country, in view of its equipment and State-of-the-art facilities.

PROVISION OF RURAL AND URBAN INFRASTRUCTURE

In our commitment to open our rural areas for enhanced economic activities, I flagged-off the construction of three (3) major critical rural roads in the State. The roads are Agwade-Shupe-Atabula-Obi road, Shabu-Doka-Arugba-Lakio, Kanje-Abuni and Kagbu A-Atsoko-Kagbu Wana roads. In addition, it is pertinent to state that the construction of Sisin-baki-Mama-Farin Ruwa and Mararaba Udege roads would soon be flagged-off. Similarly, we have also commenced the provision of rural electrification projects in line with our policy on the promotion of small scale businesses. In this regard, Government has procured transformers and distributed them to various communities to support our rural electrification drive. Perhaps, I need to use the opportunity of this occasion to reveal the commitment of this Administration towards the full exploitation and utilization of the abundant coal deposits that abound in Obi Local Government Area to generate power for the industrial development of Nasarawa State. We are already in bilateral discussion with appropriate investors towards the realization of this objective.

Furthermore, we have also considered the necessity of embarking on the construction of some urban roads within Lafia, the State capital. In this regard, Government is completing the on-going construction of Shinge-Ricemill-Kilema road. The construction of other roads within the Lafia metropolis and some Inter-Local Government roads will soon commence in phases to ensure all-round development of the State. By the same token, I have scheduled tomorrow, Saturday, 7th September, 2019 to commission two (2) important projects, namely:
General Hospital road, Mararaba;

ii. TA’AL Orange Market Site and Services Scheme, Mararaban Gurku.

WATER SUPPLY
In a bid to provide portable water in our rural and urban centres across the State, Government has constituted a High-Powered Task Force to appraise the water situation and recommend to Government appropriate action for the rehabilitation of existing water scheme and construction of new ones for the benefit of our people.

PROVISION OF 2KM SOLAR POWER STREET LIGHT PROJECTS

We commenced the provision of 2km Solar Power Street Light Project in all the thirteen (13) Local Government Areas of the State. At the moment the project has been flag-off in Obi, Nasarawa Eggon and Awe Local Government Areas. The projects have reached various stages of completion. Communities with economic potentials will also benefit from this laudable project.

CONSTRUCTION OF TECHNOLOGY INNOVATION HUBS

Considering the relevance of innovation, this administration has commenced the rehabilitation and furnishing of the existing structure at the Information Communication Technology (ICT) Centre as a pilot project. Similarly, arrangements have been concluded for the construction of Technology Innovation Hubs in Lafia, Akwanga, Keffi and Karu Local Government Areas of the State. I am happy to inform you that we have acquired 21 hectares of land along Keffi-Karu axis for this purpose. To consolidate on our effort towards knowledge and technologically driven society, the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB) has provided equipment worth over N200 Million which are being installed at the JAMB Centre provided by the Government.

PROVISION OF HEALTHCARE SERVICES
Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, there is no gainsaying the fact that health is wealth. It is for this reason that we embarked on a State wide medical outreach for the treatment of Glaucoma and Cataract surgery. In this regard, five thousand two hundred and nine (5,209) people benefited from the State Wide Medical Outreach ranging from surgery, issuance of glasses and medicament. We will endeavour to provide affordable healthcare services and infrastructure at tertiary, secondary and primary levels for the wellbeing of the people of Nasarawa State. Accordingly, the Administration is committed to the continuous expansion of the Dalhatu Araf Specialist Hospital (DASH), Lafia to facilitate the seamless transition to a Teaching Hospital. Furthermore, efforts have been intensified towards the completion of Lafia Specialised Hospital, furnishing and equipping of the Akwanga and Nasarawa Specialised Hospitals with the view to putting the facilities to use for the benefit of our people. We shall also sustain collaboration with our Development Partners and other Healthcare Givers towards effective delivery of healthcare services in the State.

YOUTH AND WOMEN EMPOWERMENT
When I took over the mantle of leadership of the State deliberate efforts were made towards the empowerment of our youths and women in line with our policies and programmes geared towards wealth creation, employment generation and poverty alleviation. In this regard, two days of my assumption of office, we distributed fifty (50) sewing and fifty (50) grinding machines to some selected youths and women across the State. We have also flagged-off a training programme on Compressed Earth Brick Making and Laying conceived to impart vocational skills on our youths for self reliance. At the end of the training programme, forty-one (41) fabricated machines were distributed to enterprise groups where two hundred and forty-six (246) young men and women in a ratio of six to one (6/1), are expected to benefit across the State. Government has also concluded arrangements in collaboration with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to access credit facilities in the sum N1.5 Billion to enable our youth set-up small scale agricultural and trading enterprises. Already the process has commenced with the distribution of application forms to cooperative groups across the State. Government is also committed to the completion of the Lafia Institute of Technical Education. In this vein, steps have been taking towards the equipping of the 12 workshops at the Institute aimed at imparting necessary vocational skills to our youth and women, including those who could not have the privilege of formal or pursuing higher education. Let me use this opportunity to appeal to Government organisation, Corporate bodies and individuals to patronize the trainees of the institute towards self reliance.

AGRICULTURE
As you are aware, agriculture is the main pre-occupation of our people in view of the agrarian nature of our State that is blessed with agricultural potentials which we intend to harness for increased food production, security and value chain addition. Accordingly, we have identified crops of comparative advantage to the State and are making arrangements to boost the production and processing of such crops. I believe that this will open new vistas of employment and economic prosperity for our farmers in particular and the State at large. Furthermore, Government procured and distributed thirty-three thousand (33,000) metric tons of fertilizer to our farmers, aimed at boosting agricultural production in the State. Additional fifty thousand (50,000) tons have been acquired by Government and will soon be distributed to our farmers, in addition to the provision of other agricultural inputs. Government have also intensified effort to revitalize the activities of the Nasarawa Agricultural Programme (NADP) for enhanced extension services and agricultural productivity.

PROVISION OF EDUCATIONAL FACILITIES
Realizing the significance of education in the development of human society, we have flagged-off the construction of classroom blocks in Angwan Jarme, Mahanga and Mararaban Gongon in Kokona, Awe and Wamba Local Government Areas in collaboration with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This gesture would be extended to other schools that are still lacking basic infrastructures for effective teaching and learning. Arrangements have been concluded for the mass construction and rehabilitation of Primary and Junior Secondary Schools in the State under the auspices of the State Universal Basic Education Board’s Projects (SUBEB). Already SUBEB has released advertisement for bidding and contract would soon be awarded for work to commence. Similarly, to address the dearth of teaching staff in our secondary schools, I approved the immediate formalization of the appointment of the two thousand, two hundred and fifty (2,250) engaged teachers. The Teachers Service Commission has already issued guidelines to give effect to Government decision. Government has also settled the backlog of scholarship to students of Nasarawa State indigenes studying in tertiary institutions. We have also awarded scholarship to twenty-five (25) students from Nasarawa State to enable them pursue their studies in the Zaria Academy. In addition, Government has also secured international scholarship for twenty (20) students from Muhammadu Idimi Foundation to undertake higher education at the International University of Africa, Khartoum, Sudan.

  1. SECURITY
    There is no gainsaying that security is the bedrock for harmonious co-existence and socio-economic development of the society. Let me re-echo once again that our development partners can only key into the State’s development agenda in an atmosphere of peace and order. We shall continue to strive to sustain the existing stability for the desired progress of our dear State. The recent security breach occasioned by armed robbery and kidnapping along Nassarawa Eggon-Akwanga highway which unfortunately claimed the lives of some personnel in the convoy of His Excellency, the Deputy Governor and some innocent commuters is highly regrettable and condemnable. I commend our security agencies for rising up to the occasion which resulted in the arrest of some suspects in the dastardly act. As an encouragement and to further strengthen the efforts of our security agencies, I have approved the establishment of additional nine (9) security bases, bringing the total to sixteen (16) bases. In furtherance of our commitment to ensure security around our border communities, I visited the Governor of Benue State in order to build synergy towards addressing the incessant farmers – herders conflict which spillover effect has continued to affect the peaceful atmosphere in Nasarawa State. In addition, I intend to pay similar visit to my colleagues, Governors of Taraba, Plateau, Kaduna and Kogi States to consolidate our efforts towards achieving peace in our common borders. As you are aware, Nasarawa State continues to suffer the backlash of crises involving Jukun and Tiv; Birom and Fulani/Hausa; Bassa and Egbura and Southern Kaduna. This Administration is resolved to stem these spillover effect.

Let me, therefore, use this auspicious occasion to acknowledge and appreciate the relentless support and assistance of the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Abubakar Adamu for approving the establishment of Police Training College in the State and for increased security surveillance which has contributed immensely to the serene situation we are witnessing today.

  1. At this juncture, let me take liberty of this interactive session to assure the good people of Nasarawa State of our resolve to provide purposeful leadership for enhanced socio-economic development of Nasarawa State. In the next few weeks and months, and, indeed years the State will witness unprecedented execution of policies and programmes in all the sectors of the State economy.
  2. Before concluding this address, let me once again appreciate His Excellency, Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria who has provided support and inspiration to us. Similarly, my appreciation also goes to you, our distinguished stakeholders, our great party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), other Political Parties and our teeming supporters from the length and breadth of Nasarawa State for understanding, cooperation and loyalty exhibited so far. I urge you all to sustain these gestures as we match to the Next Level of growth and development.
  3. I thank you all for taking your time to honour us with your esteem presence. I invite Your Excellencies, Your Royal Highnesses and our celebrated Stakeholders to make comments and contributions that will add value to what we are doing in our collective commitment to the development of our dear State.
  4. Thank you and ma y God bless us all.
Nasarawa