Remarks Delivered by His Excellency, Umaru Tanko Almakura, the Governor of Nasarawa State, on the Occasion of the Courtesy Call by Participants of Course 26 from the National Defence College, Abuja on Geo-Strategic Study Tour of Nasarawa State: Monday, 9th October, 2017

1. His Excellency, the Deputy Governor of Nasarawa State;

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

3. The Hon. Chief Judge of Nasarawa State;

4. Principal Officers and Members of the State House of Assembly;

5. Members of the State Executive and Security Councils;

6. Amb. (Dr.) C.W. Wigwe, Provost and the Team Leader;

7. The Secretary to the Government of Nasarawa State;

8. The Covering Head of the Civil Service;

9. Special Advisers;

10. Permanent Secretaries;

11. My Dear Participants;

12. Gentlemen of the Press;

13. Ladies and Gentlemen.

It is my honour to specially welcome Amb. (Dr.) C.W. Wigwe, who is the provost and team leader of Course 26 on Geo-Strategic Study Tour of Nasarawa State from the National Defence College, Abuja.
Similarly, I welcome other directing staff and the Course participants to the State who are here to appraise the efforts of Government as it relates to the theme of this year’s Study Tour.

2. Let me express our profound appreciation to the National Defence College for the choice of Nasarawa State to once again host this all-important routine national assignment. This is because, over the years, Nasarawa State has been opportune to benefit from your rigorous study tours which have always enabled participants from the College to assess the socio-economic impacts of the development strides of

3. The team leader, other directing staff and participants of this Course, I am informed that the theme of this Study Tour is “Youth Empowerment and National Security: Issues and Prospects”. This theme readily captures the stack reality facing us as a nation considering that the teeming youth population is increasingly growing without corresponding employment opportunities to enable them contribute
meaningfully to the national economy. I commend the College for conceptualizing this theme.

4. To us in Nasarawa State, Government has been working round the clock to evolve policies and programmes that will engage our youths into productive ventures. Since inception in May, 2011, this Administration has designed a blueprint for inclusive governance. By this, it implies that Government created a platform where individuals can play their roles to ensure participatory democracy. It is on this basis that we initiated various programmes to engage our youths to
assist Government to better the lives of the citizens.

5. Accordingly, precipitated by the philosophy of Change of the APC Administration, we enunciated social safety nets aimed at empowering the teeming youth population, women, the indigent and physically challenged who are the most vulnerable segment of the society. In realizing Government objectives, therefore, this Administration created the Nasarawa Youth Empowerment Scheme (NAYES) resulting to the recruitment of over five thousand youths across the State to assist Government and, indeed, the security agencies in curbing security threats, as well as guarding Government installations against vandalization and theft. This initiative is yielding positive results as it has helped in achieving the twin-goal of eradicating idleness of the youth and at the same time exploring their potentials for socio-economic productivity.

6. In the same spirit of creating opportunities for our youths, Government has been proactive in canvassing for investments in agriculture and agro-allied industries. As I speak, thousands of our youths are engaged with Olam Farms which currently produces not less than ten thousand hectares of rice annually, making it the largest producer of the commodity in the whole of West Africa. In the same
vein, we have already signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Dangote Group of Companies for cultivation of the largest Sugarcane Plantation in Nigeria and siting of Sugar Refinery in the State.
Again, one of the multiplier effects of this agreement is that more thousands of our youths will be employed. I believe that the Secretary to the Government of Nasarawa State will give you details during his session with you.

7. Distinguished team leader, my dear participants, perhaps, I should take the liberty of your visit to Nasarawa State to restate our position on the issue of restructuring canvassed by some compatriots.
Our position is simple – Nigeria is more united, more flourishing and more peaceful as it remains one indivisible entity. By the same token, I wish to commend the role of the Nigeria Armed Forces in sacrificing to keep Nigeria as one. This is evidenced in your contributions in the fight against Boko Haram insurgency, kidnapping and other ethno religious uprisings against the State. This is how it
should be.

8. It is pertinent at this juncture to express our views on the
ongoing debate about restructuring Nigeria. While it is apt and necessary to support the devolution of powers to the federating units, it is wrong and unpatriotic for some segment of the country to use the platform for this discourse as an avenue to dismember the country.
This why we in Nasarawa State remain very optimistic about the future of Nigeria as one indivisible nation that provide for equal justice, fairness and equal opportunities for all and sundry. It is against this backdrop that we propose that the Federal Government should be limited to the areas of Foreign Affairs, Defence, Custom and Excise, Banking and Fiscal Policy, Marine Transportation, Insurance, Aviation,
Police. However, areas such as education, health service, commerce, labour/minimum wage issues, agriculture and forestry should be dictated by the realities of each component unit.

9. We are also of the belief that at the Federal level, the bicameral legislature, which is practiced today in Nigeria is expensive and cumbersome and prone to conflict. It is suggested that the Senegalese model where it peacefully transited from bicameral to unicameral legislature can be adopted. It will be less expensive, efficient, less friction and will also lessen cost of governance.

10. It is pertinent to also state that the ongoing clamour for the creation of additional States or the adoption of regional structures in the country is not only unjustifiable, but has the tendency of creating multiplicity of institutions, irreconcilable state of political structure and attendant cost of governance. This is juxtaposed against the current reality, where some States could not even afford to pay the salaries of their workers and the obvious over-reliance on Federal allocation to finance recurrent expenditure. We are also convinced that there are no sufficient grounds to justify the need for the creation of additional Local Governments, States or
Regions as the case may be. It is, therefore, logical to assert that the existing States and Local Government structures should rather be strengthen for better and effective service delivery.

11. At this juncture, my dear participants of Course 26 of
Geo-Strategic Study Tour of Nasarawa State, let me once again welcome you to the Home of Solid Minerals. I assure you that Nasarawa State will be available during the presentation of your report on this historic Study Tour. It is also our hope and expectation that you will also make recommendations that will enhance our youth empowerment
drive. I urge you to savour our hospitality as you carry out this onerous national assignment.

12. Thank you and God bless.