TEXT OF A RADIO / TV BROADCAST BY HIS EXCELLENCY, ENGR. ABDULLAHI A. SULE, EXECUTIVE GOVERNOR OF NASARAWA STATE, TO COMMEMORATE THE 59TH ANNIVERSARY OF NIGERIA’S INDEPENDENCE AND THE 23RD ANNIVERSARY OF THE CREATION OF NASARAWA STATE, LAFIA: TUESDAY, 1ST OCTOBER, 2019
My dear people of Nasarawa State.
2. It is with special gratitude to Almighty Allah and a sense of fulfillment that I address you today on the occasion of the 59th Anniversary of Nigeria’s Independence and the 23rd Anniversary of the creation of Nasarawa State.
3. Let me, on behalf of the Government, congratulate President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, President and Commander in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and, indeed, all Nigerians on the occasion of the 59th Anniversary of our nationhood. I also congratulate the good people of Nasarawa State on the 23rdAnniversary of the creation of the State. During celebrations such as this, it is imperative to pay special tribute to our founding fathers who made sacrifice in the struggle for the creation of Nasarawa State. There is, no doubt, that this sacrifice will remain indelible in the sands of history and will continue to serve as an inspiration to all of us for a dedicated and sustainable service to our people.
4. My good people of Nasarawa State, today’s celebration calls for sober reflection considering the fact that, even at 59th our country is still grappling with issues of economic instability, corruption, insecurity and sundry challenges. There is the need for all of us to rise up to the occasion by supporting the efforts of President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, towards a holistic overhaul of our society.
5. My dear people of Nasarawa State, in commemoration of the 23rd anniversary for the creation of Nasarawa State, it is instructive to remind ourselves that the desire for self-determination, economic empowerment, social cohesion and overall development were the impetus that propelled our founding fathers to agitate for the creation of Nasarawa State. Let me acknowledge that over the years, successive Administrations in the State have endeavoured to contribute their quotas towards the realization of the dream of our founding fathers. However, this Administration is not oblivious of the challenges that still lay ahead.
6. My dear compatriots, you would recall that when we took over the mantle of leadership of our dear State, we made a pledge to initiate and execute policies and programmes for the sustainable development of the State. In keeping with this commitment, I unveiled the Investment policy of this Administration by first inaugurating the Investment and Economic Advisory Council with a view to providing professional guidance to the Government. Our investment policy has so far attracted investment into the State with the signing of a Tripartite Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Azman Rice Mills and Farms Ltd, as well as Umaisha Community for the cultivation of 12,000 hectares of land for rice production in the State.
7. Let me reiterate that the benefits to be derived 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. Similarly, 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 Udege-Loko and Ekye in Nasarawa and Doma Local Government Areas of the State which will soon be executed where it is hoped that over 50,000 hectares will be utilized for that purpose.
8. My dear people of Nasarawa State, it is pertinent to state that only last week, I had the rare privilege of accompanying President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, to the 74th United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), in New York, United States of America. I utilized the opportunity of the visit to meet with prospective investors on the sideline of the meeting, who have shown their willingness to invest in various sectors of the State economy.
9. In our determination to re-focus and revitalize the State Public Service for effective and efficient service delivery, we have rationalized Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies in the State. The Head of the State Civil Service has been mandated to implement the decision of Government in respect of the reports of the Committee on the Restructuring of the State Public Service. This is with a view to streamline the machinery of Government for efficiency and productivity, as well as to avoid duplication of functions, conflict and frictions in the performance of the Ministries, Department and Agencies and the overall reduction of the cost of governance in the State. We will continue to commit efforts and resources in order to provide the necessary infrastructure that will reposition the Public Service to play its role of implementing the policies and programmes geared towards the development of the State. Other issues relating to the implementation of promotions, outstanding arrears of pensions and gratuity, as well as general welfare in the Public Service are being appraised for appropriate action by Government.
10. Let me reiterate the commitment of this Administration towards the completion of on-going projects, considered critical to the development of the State. Accordingly, we intensified efforts to the completion of the Lafia Cargo Airport. 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.
11. 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. In this connection, I commissioned two (2) important projects which include General Hospital road, Mararaba and Ta’al Orange Market Site and Services Scheme, Mararaban Gurku
12. Let me use the opportunity of this celebration to assure the people of Nasarawa State that this Administration will also embark on the construction of new projects in both urban and rural centres of the State. In furtherance to the realization of this resolve, we recently flagged-off the construction of 15.5km Asphalt Sisinbaki-Kwarra road project in Wamba Local Government Area, considering the huge tourism potentials and the hydro-electric and vast agricultural resources that abound in the area. The construction of Mararaba-Udege road will also commence soon.
13. 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.
14. 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 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.
15. 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. The Task Force has completed the assignment and its report is being considered for implementation.
16. Furthermore, 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 flagged-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.
17. 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. In this vein, we have acquired 21 hectares of land along Keffi-Karu axis for this purpose, in order to consolidate on our effort towards knowledge and technologically driven society. I am happy to inform you that we have commenced bilateral discussion with appropriate development partners for the actualization of this objective.
18. Let me reiterate that this Administration accords priority to healthcare service delivery. 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. Considering the huge health benefit of this exercise. The second phase of the medical outreach will commence within the month of October to ensure that more people afflicted by the disease receive treatment. 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.
19. In this connection, our Administration is committed to the continuous expansion of the Dalhatu Araf Specialist Hospital (DASH), Lafia to facilitate the seamless transition to a Teaching Hospital. Government has provided necessary support to ensure that the additional structures provided in the hospital are put to use for the benefit of the people. In addition, the Specialized Hospitals in Lafia, Akwanga and Nasarawa have been completed and handed over to the Hospitals Management Board for immediate utilization.
20. In the same vein, the newly constructed School of Nursing and Midwifery has been furnished and fully equipped. In this regard, a team of accreditation officials from the Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria recently visited the institution and inspected the facilities provided in the institution. Following certification by the Nursing Council, the School of Nursing and Midwifery will fully move to the new site for academic activities and practical engagement.
21. In our commitment to empower our youths and women, deliberate steps were taken geared towards wealth creation, employment generation and poverty alleviation for self-reliance. We have engaged youths and women in different vocational skills across the State. Government has also concluded arrangements in collaboration with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to access credit facilities in the sum ofN1.5 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.
22. 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. Government has entered into partnership with Olam Farms, Dangote Groups, Azman Rice Ltd, among other development partners to improve our agricultural production in the State.
23. Realizing the significance of education, we 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).
24. 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 commenced the screening exercise in this regard. 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 to undertake higher education at the International University of Africa, Khartoum, Sudan.
25. 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 be attracted to the State if Nasarawa State is peaceful and orderly. It is for this reason that we have endeavour to sustain the existing stability and harmonious co-existence in the State. Let me once again, condemn 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. 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, the nine (9) additional security bases are now fully functional and contributing to the continues serene atmosphere pervading the State.
26. My dear compatriots, let me re-emphasis that we cannot celebrate our creation as a State without pouring encomiums to those that sacrificed their time, resources and energy to ensure that Nasarawa State came to fruition.
27. In conclusion, let me once again express my appreciation to all the people of Nasarawa State for your sustained support, cooperation and solidarity with this Administration. I assure you that we will not relent in our determination to deliver on our promises as encapsulated in our manifesto and blue print for the development of Nasarawa State.
28. Happy celebration of Nasarawa at 23 and Nigeria at 59. I wish you a successful celebration.