BEING TEXT OF AN ACCEPTANCE SPEECH BY HIS EXCELLENCY, UMARU TANKO AL-MAKURA, GOVERNOR OF NASARAWA STATE, ON THE OCCASION OF THE ISSUANCE OF CERTIFICATE OF RETURN BY THE INDEPENDENT NATIONAL ELECTORAL COMMISSION (INEC) ON HIS RE-ELECTION AS GOVERNOR OF THE STATE, LAFIA: MONDAY, 13TH APRIL, 2015
1. The Right Honourable Speaker, Federal House of Representatives;
2. The Right Honourable Speaker, Nasarawa State House of Assembly;
3. The Honourable Chief Judge of Nasarawa State;
4. The Grand Kadi, Sharia Court of Appeal;
5. The President, Customary Court of Appeal;
6. Principal Officers and Members of the State House of Assembly;
7. Members of the State Executive and Security Councils;
8. The Secretary to the State Government;
9. Special Advisers;
10. Permanent Secretaries;
11. His Royal Highness, the Emir of Lafia and Chairman, Nasarawa State Council of Chiefs;
12. The State Chairman, All Progressives Congress (APC);
13. Comrade Abdulwaheed Ibrahim Omar, National President, Nigeria Labour Congress;
14. Chairmen and Chief Executives of Commissions, Boards and Parastatals;
15. Executive Chairmen of Local Government Councils present;
16. Chairman and Members, Nigeria Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE);
17. Your Royal Highnesses, Emirs and Chiefs;
18. My dear delegates;
19. Gentlemen of the Press;
20. Comrades, ladies and gentlemen.
It is with great joy that I join you on this occasion of the 6th Quadrennial National Delegates’ Conference of the Nigeria Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE), taking place here in Lafia, the capital of Nasarawa State.
2. I specially welcome the Right Honourable Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, CFR, Speaker of the House of Representatives of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and Chairman of this occasion, as well as Comrade Abdulwaheed Ibrahim Omar, National President of Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC).
3. I also warmly welcome the leaders and members of the Union of Local Government Employees and other stakeholders to Nasarawa State for this important event.
4. On behalf of the Government and people of the State, I commend the leadership of NULGE for the choice of Nasarawa State as the venue of this Conference, principally because the gathering avails us the opportunity to fraternize and rub minds with the real practitioners of local government administration throughout the country. This is moreso that NULGE is, to us in Nasarawa State, a necessary partner for the enhancement of good governance, especially at the local government level.
5. Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, I am informed that the theme of this year’s Conference is Local Government Autonomy: A Tool for the Advancement of Democracy. I make bold to state that we in Nasarawa State are convinced that attaining a virile society through sustainable growth and development of our grassroots is hinged on an autonomous 3rd tier of Government in Nigeria, especially when there is a well articulated mechanism of checks and balances by the State with the active participation of NULGE, MHWUN and NUT to ensure accountability.
6. It is for this reason that the All Progressives Congress (APC) Administration in the State is driven by a policy thrust that is anchored on the principles of transparency, accountability, probity, inclusiveness, fairness and prudent deployment of resources in the management of the Local Government system in the State. It is our conviction that it is only by so-doing that we can restore hope to the hopeless and lend voice to the voiceless with a view to according all Nigerians equal opportunity to participate in governance. For us, therefore, the theme of the Conference is apt.
7. It is in this connection that this Administration recognises the role of Local Government in reaching out to the people at the grassroots. In this regard, Local Government Areas in the State are, to a large extent, operating with autonomy. This is because this Administration has ensured that Local Government administrators are given the free hand to provide the desired leadership to their areas in accordance with the needs and aspirations of the people.
8. It is, however, worthy to state that this Administration inherited protracted crises that affected the smooth operations of NULGE and, by extension, the welfare of Local Government employees in the State, as the leadership of the Union was factionalized thus depriving it of a united front for the pursuit of the wellbeing of workers.
9. Concerned by the development, Government intervened by initiating an appropriate synergy with the national leadership of the union which saw to the amicable resolution of the feud. The State leadership of NULGE which is playing host to this all-important conference, I hasten to say is a product of this proactive and purposeful intervention by our Administration.
10. To position the Local Government system for rapid development at the grassroots, Government undertook a biometric data capturing exercise with a view to fishing out ghost workers, as well as those who were due for retirement. In the same vein, Government appointed a committee to re-appraise the condition of Local Government personnel whose appointment did not follow due process hence, this category of workers were advised to regularize.
11. I am happy to inform you that the committee has completed its assignment and submitted report to Government. We are currently studying the recommendations and will soon implement same. Similarly, Government is looking into the issues of workers’ welfare generally with a view to enhancing their productivity.
12. At this juncture, ladies and gentlemen, as you commence the election of your new leaders today, it is my prayer that the election is conducted free of rancour and acrimony for the good of all. I call on contestants for the various positions to go to the polls with the spirit of sportsmanship. In other words, when the elections are won and lost, you should all demonstrate your magnanimity and humility in victory and gallantry in defeat.
13. To the emerging leadership of NULGE, I implore you to discharge your responsibilities with utmost care, patriotism and due diligence. This is the only way the Local Government administration can benefit the common man and, indeed, enhance our practice of democracy especially at the grassroots level. ************** (EXTEMPO on the National President of NULGE).
14. On this note, it is my pleasure to declare the 6th Quadrennial National Delegates’ Conference of NULGE open. I wish you a hitch-free election.
15. Thank you and God bless.