GOVERNMENT OF NASARAWA STATE

Al-makuraBeing Text of a State-Wide Radio and Television Farewell Broadcast by His Excellency, Umaru Tanko Al-Makura, Governor of Nasarawa State, Lafia: Tuesday, 28th May, 2019March, 2019

My dear good people of Nasarawa State.

2. Tomorrow Wednesday, 29th May, 2019 marks the end of my tenure as the Governor of Nasarawa State having spent eight (8) years in Office. It is, therefore, with special gratitude to Almighty God and a sense of fulfillment that I address you as part of the processes for the swearing-in of the Governor-elect, Engr. Abdullahi Alhaji Sule as the Governor of Nasarawa State.

3. You would recall that on May 29th 2011, I was sworn into office as the Governor of our State on the platform of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) party. It was a peaceful revolution of opportunity and hope. The onerous task of liberating our people from the shackles of ignorance and backwardness, embolden us to begin a new task of remaking Nasarawa State buoyed by the principles of transparency, accountability, probity, due process and prudent management of resources. Our watch ward is “Seeing is Believing ” We promised then to impart our young men and women with skills, to undertake road building inside and outside our towns, to harness the soil, the sun and our water resources, to restore education to meet the standards of our time and benefit from Information Technology. We also promised to make healthcare affordable and accessible; to foster a modern educated enterprise society.

4. My dear compatriots, todayÂ’s event offers me an opportuni ty to present to you in brief, the good people of Nasarawa State, my report sheet of the eight (8) year journey of service delivery, transformation and socio-economic development. It is worthy to note that within the last eight years, my commitment to change the fortunes of our beloved State has not been without its share of daunting challenges. As you are aware, Nasarawa State is about the least in the revenue allocation chart. This state of affairs was worsened by security challenges which had its toll on the scare resources of the State. However, we remain resilient and focused on meeting the development aspiration of our people.
5. Guided by our covenant with the good people of Nasarawa State, therefore, we hit the ground running by embarking on massive roads constructions within Lafia the State capital, our major cities and rural-urban roads, as well as feeder roads across the State.

6. Similarly, we constructed the Lafia City Square in order to give Lafia the befitting look of a State capital and for the square to serve as a facility for the hosting of political, socio-cultural and sundry activities. This, is in addition to the construction of fire service stations in the three senatorial zones of the State, as well as provision of fire-fighting trucks to combat fire outbreaks.

7. Furthermore, our Administration gave rural development a boost. To this end, Government procured earth-moving equipment and machinery and constructed feeder roads across the State which opened up our rural areas for increased socio-economic activities. Our Administration also embarked on the construction of a bye-pass road from Lafia – Marke in Kokona Loca Government expected to reduce travel time to Keffi/Abuja by over an hour. It is our expectation that the new Administration will ensure the completion of this road for the benefit of our people.

8. In the same vein, our Administration conceived the Lafia Airport project signaling the introduction of an Air Transportation to the economy of Nasarawa State, thus putting us in the global aviation map. The Cargo Airport is configured to lift agricultural products to local and international markets with the attendant improvement in the socio-economic development of the State. The project has reached over 95% completion and it will interest our dear people to note that inaugural flight from the Airport will be launched tomorrow, with me as I fly out to Abuja to assume my Legislative assignment as a Senator of the Federal Republic. We hope that it will be one of the priority projects for completion by the new Administration in view of its significant economic potentials to the State.

9. Our Administration also undertook a holistic overhaul of the education sector from the Primary to the Tertiary level. We made education free for primary and post-primary students and resuscitated the school feeding programme which relieved parents of the burden of their wards in boarding schools. We constructed TAÂ’AL model storey buildings for our Primary School and provided furnitureÂ’s and learning materials across the State. Governmen also renovated, equipped and fenced secondary schools in the State in order to create a secure and necessary environment for teaching and learning in line with the FGN Safe School Initiative which we have keyed into.

10. Our tertiary institutions were also repositioned through various initiatives which addressed the precarious conditions of our State-Owned Tertiary Institutions viz- Nasarawa State University, Keffi; Nasarawa State Polytechnic, Lafia; College of Education, Akwanga and College of Agriculture, Lafia. We made a bold effort in providing and furnishing 10Nos. modern hostel accommodation for our tertiary institutions, improved internal roads network and provided other necessary facilities which ensured accreditation of courses in the institutions among other welfare incentives for staff in our academic institutions.

11. In keeping with our all inclusive policy, we endeavoured to avail the physically challenged amongst us the opportunity to pursue and realize their potentials through the establishment of Special Schools for People Living with Disabilities in Lafia, Akwanga and Keffi. The Lafia Special School has been completed, furnished and commissioned by His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari in February, 2018. We have also constructed a befitting structure for our orphanage. The new orphanage home is equipped with necessary facilities for the convenience and development of our orphans.

12. It is a truism that water is life. In addition restoration of regular water supply in Lafia, Akwanga and Keffi, we also constructed and commissioned the Nasarawa township water works, as well as upgraded existing water schemes and rehabilitated the Nasarawa Eggon, Akwanga and Doma schemes. Similarly, Toto, Wamba and Daddere water supply schemes were also completed. Boreholes were drilled in various communities to make potable water available and accessible to our rural people.

13. Realizing that electricity is the fulcrum of industrialization, Government procured and installed over thirty-eight (38) electricity transformers to boost power supply in the State capital and other towns in the State. The State is collaborating with the Federal Government under the National Integrated Power Project in the construction of the 330KV and 132KV power distribution injection transmission sub-station in Lafia which is nearing completion. In the same vein, the Federal Government has taken over the Farin Ruwa Independent Hydro Power Project component. When completed, the project will stimulate industrial and irrigation activities at the cottage level. In addition, we embarked on an inter-tier Township Connection, Township Distribution Network Policy to State wide electricity connection.

14. Considering the relevance of healthcare delivery, our Administration embarked on the construction, renovation and equipping of General Hospitals across the State.

15. We have also constructed and equipped Primary Healthcare Centres in various communities. In addition, we have constructed 150-bed Model Hospitals in Lafia, Akwanga and Nasarawa to serve as referral centres. The abandoned Central Medical Stores was completed and now supplying quality drugs to hospitals and other healthcare facilities. This move is aimed at curtailing circulation of sub-standard and fake drugs in the State.

16. It is pertinent to point out that my Administration recently donated the Dalhatu Araf Specialist Hospital to the Federal University, Lafia to serve as Teaching Hospital for the proposed College of Medical Sciences. The Specialist Hospital has been tremendously transformed and upgraded to play its role of tertiary health institution.

17. Our Administration also constructed the TAÂ’AL Infectiou Disease Diagnosis and Research Centre which is expected to serve as a hub for the diagnosis, treatment and research of highly infectious diseases such as Lassa Fever, Yellow Fever and Ebola, among others. This is the second of its kind in the country.

18. In order to boost the agricultural sector, we supplied and subsidized the necessary agricultural equipment, fertilizer, pesticides, as well as improved seeds over the years. This was aimed at achieving the twin objectives of encouraging large scale mechanized farming and economic diversification for gainful employment of our teeming youths into agricultural and related value chain activities as a necessary mechanism for reducing youth restiveness in the society. The Fertilizer Blending Plant has been resuscitated and five (5) new fertiliser blending plants were constructed and located in Lafia, Akwanga and Keffi. We have also keyed into the FGN/Kingdom of Morocco Fertiliser Initiative as these Blending Plants have been certified fit by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture to participate in the programme of processing, production and marketing of the end product.

19. In addition, our Administration also facilitated the sitting of Dangote Sugar Refinery in Tunga, Azara and other town in Awe Local Government Area of the State. This is aimed at adding value to our agricultural production, as well as create employment opportunity for our teaming youth in the State. Government has provided incentives through the acquisition of Ten Thousand (10,000) hectares to OLAM Farms for the cultivation of rice in Rukubi, Doma Local Government Area of the State. As I address you today, efforts are ongoing to acquire additional 20,000 hectares of land around Loko area of Nasarawa Local Government Area for Dangote Rice project aimed at making Nasarawa State the new hub of rice production in the country. This has strategically placed Nasarawa State as one of the largest rice producers in the entire West African sub-region.

20. Concerned by the unemployment rate of the teeming youths in the State, we upgraded the four skills Acquisition Centres and provided a new blueprint that will enable graduates of the Centres become self-reliant and create wealth for themselves. A partnership with the Singaporean Institute of Technical Education ensured that we establish our own Nasarawa State Institute of Technical Education and have imported N350 million worth of technical training equipment from Singapore.

21. In addition to this, our Administration engaged and trained Four thousand, five hundred (4,500) youths in our Nasarawa Youth Empowerment Scheme (NAYES) as Traffic Marshals, Sanitary Inspectors, Environment Guards and Community Watchers. It is worthy to note that these young men and women have been complementing the security and other relevant agencies in reducing the rate of crime and disease prevalence in the society. Driven by the same spirit, Government has also empowered one thousand, four hundred and seventy (1,470) women comprising widows, the physically challenged and the indigent drawn from all the electoral wards of the State. This is aimed at encouraging entrepreneurship among women.

22. It is also important to state that taking advantage of our proximity to the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), this Administration initiated a digital land administration programme aimed at producing a master plan of the State, as well as generating revenue. To actualize this project, Government set up the Nasarawa State Geographic Information Service (NAGIS) and has undertaken a digital aerial mapping of the entire State, a master plan, detailed district plans and digital Land Administration. The Gurku/Kabusu 13,000 hectares of land has already been designed to accommodate 12 modern Districts comparable to its neighbour, the FCT.

23. As you are aware, market development is one of the cardinal objectives of this Administration. Accordingly, we constructed markets, equipped with modern facilities in Lafia, Akwanga and Keffi. This is in addition to the construction of International Market in Lafia and the renovation of the old Lafia market christened Lafia Neighbourhood Market. The development of these market is intended to boost the Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) and enhance socio-economic activities in the State. Similarly, the Karu International Market was expanded, completed and commissioned, as well as named Muhammadu Buhari International Market.

24. In furtherance to our resolve to reposition the State public service for enhanced performance and productivity, we committed resources towards capacity building of our personnel particularly, bureaucrats and technocrats through training workshop for various categories of Public Servants. These were organized by the Industrial Training Fund (ITF), Administrative Staff College of Nigeria (ASCON) and other reputable organizations towards the realization of the vision and development aspiration of our Administration in the State.

25. In our determination to ensure good governance at the third tier of Government, we rekindled the administrative system in the Local Government Councils and the Development Areas of the State being the closest to the people at the grassroots. We conducted Local Government elections that ushered in the Executive Chairmen of the Councils. We also appointed Overseers to pilot the affairs of the Development Areas in the State.

26. It is pertinent to state that our Administration created two additional Development Areas of Umaisha and Daddere respectively. New Chiefdoms, Districts and Village Areas were created. In the same vein, some of our royal fathers were recently presented with the Staff of Offices as a symbol of authority in line with the tradition and customs of our people, thereby giving the people of the respective chiefdoms necessary sense of cultural belonging.

27. Let me reiterate that our strides in the service of our dear State would not have been possible without the commendable and worthy partnership of the Honourable Members of the Nasarawa State House of Assembly. I commend this cherished collaboration between the Legislature and the Executive which has added value to our governance module. I, therefore, urge members of the legislature to sustain this synergy with the in-coming administration for the benefit of our dear State.

28. Similarly, it is pertinent to state that the Judiciary is the hope of the common man, considering the significant role it plays in the dispensation of justice in the society. It is, therefore, imperative for the Executive, Legislature and Judiciary to demonstrate mutual cooperation and understanding at all times without compromising their respective independence. It is for this reason that our Administration has granted financial autonomy to the Judiciary in line with the provision of the Constitution. We also constructed a modern and befitting state of the art State High Court/Judiciary complex that have four (4) court rooms, library, registry, canteen, cloak rooms and other facilities to create the necessary conducive environment for quick dispensation of justice.

29. In our determination to ensure the safety of lives and property of the citizenry, our Administration supported the security agencies with vehicles, office accommodation and other facilities which contributed immensely to the effective and efficient performance of their duties in curbing crime and criminalities, as well as fighting insurgency, communal violence and other threats to peaceful co-existence.

30. We have also evolved a strategy that has continued to yield positive result in addressing insecurity in the State. Our initiative of Community-Based Conflict Resolution Mechanism has been deliberately introduced to ensure that warring parties in the same communities are brought together to discuss and resolve their differences with partial supervision from Government. I am happy to state that this strategy has been very effective and successful as it has brought about sustenance of peace and harmonious co-existence amongst our communities across the State. Accordingly, in our determination to strengthen this initiative, we inaugurated Community-Based Conflict Resolution Committees at the State, Local Government, Development Areas, Districts and Village levels in the State to serve as arbitrators and conciliators in the respective communities. I belief that the in-coming Government would find this initiative useful towards the sustenance of peace and harmonious co-existence in the State.

31. We have being able to have a befitting presence in the FCT for completing the abandoned state of the art Liaison Office complex in the Abuja Central Business District financed from the proceeds of sale of the moribund State Government assets.

32. Finally, I say boldly with all sense of modesty, that we are leaving Nasarawa State far better than we met it. Let me at this point express my profound appreciation to the good people of Nasarawa State for the mandate given to us to govern and for your sustained support, cooperation and solidarity with our Administration over the past eight (8) years. You have consistently kept faith with us and encouraged us to wither the storm with vigour. It is my prayers and, indeed expectation that similar gesture would be extended to my successor. I thank you most sincerely and appreciably.

33. On this note, let me once again, congratulate the new Governor of Nasarawa State, His Excellency, Engr. Abdullahi Alhaji Sule. I wish the new Governor a successful tenure in the service of our dear State.

34. Thank you and Good bye.