Speech Delivered by His Excellency, Umaru Tanko Al-makura

Speech Delivered by His Excellency, Umaru Tanko Al-makura, Governor of Nasarawa State, on the Occasion of The Inauguration of the Nasarawa State House of Assembly Service Commission, Local Government Service Commission, State Universal Basic Education Board, Muslim and Christian Pilgrims Welfare Boards, Lafia: Monday, 13th March, 2017

It is with gratitude to God the almighty that we are gathered here today on the occasion of the swearing-in and inauguration of the following:
i. Kadi, Sharia Court of Appeal, Nasarawa State;
ii. House of Assembly Service Commission;
iii. Local Government Service Commission;
iv. State Universal Basic Education Board;
v. Muslim Pilgrims Welfare Board; and
vi. Christian Pilgrims Welfare Board.

2. You would recall that, few weeks ago, while swearing-in the Honourable Commissioners and members of the State Executive Council, I made a solemn pronouncement to reinvigorate the Public Service through the reconstitution of Statutory and non-statutory boards in our determination to enhance the delivery of quality service to the good people of Nasarawa State.

3. Today, we are gathered here in fulfillment of my pledge consequent upon my approval for the appointment of a Kadi and members to serve in some Commissions and Boards in the State. I am happy to acknowledge with appreciation the patriotic zeal with which the State House of Assembly carried out the confirmation process of some of the appointees in line with the relevant laws.

4. In the same vein, pursuant to the provision of Section 276 sub-section (2) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended), I, through the State Judicial Council, recommended the appointment of Barrister Aliyu Ibrahim as a Kadi of the Sharia Court of Appeal, Nasarawa State. It is gratifying to note that the Chief Justice of Nigeria and Chairman, National Judicial Council, Justice Walter S.N. Onnoghen, GCFR found the State nominee suitable for appointment as a Kadi of the Sharia Court of Appeal of Nasarawa State. Let me put on record our profound appreciation to the Chief Justice of Nigeria, in particular and the National Judicial Council, in general for this inter-ministerial co-operation which will go a long way in solidifying our judicial system for effective dispensation of justice.

5. Ladies and gentlemen, it is pertinent to point out that the appointment of a Kadi and reconstitution of these Boards are in furtherance of our determination to revamp public institutions in the State for optimal performance. The event we are witnessing today, therefore, is significant as it is aimed at bringing in more capable hands that will assist this Administration to achieve its primary objectives of impacting meaningfully on the lives of our people.

6. The Commissions and Boards which members we have gathered to witness their inauguration are cardinal to our development objectives as they form a viable vista through which our policies and programmes, cutting across all strata of Government can be realized. Perhaps, I should stress that the Legislature, as a critical arm of Government, is a strategic partner that ensures good governance in a democratic setting through their oversight functions, hence the need for the legislature to have appropriate manpower to help galvanize the activities of the Legislators. It is for this reason that members of the Assembly Service Commission were carefully chosen to be manned by people with the needed pedigree that will assist towards the recruitment, training, promotion and discipline of the personnel of the Nasarawa State House of Assembly for effective legislative duties.

7. Ladies and gentlemen, we all know the significant role the third tier of Government plays in providing socio-economic opportunities to the people at the grassroots. Sadly, however, the Local Government administration in the State, needless to say, is but a conduit pipe that sucks Government resources with near-nothing to show for the development of the rural areas.

8. Local Government Councils have become a dumping ground for sumptuous recruitments, with so many workers in the vouchers, but no justification for the job placement. The so called Local Government staff have become pensioners who have relocated to the cities and wait for the month end to collect salaries. The Local Government Administration has become so bastardised that there is no due process in promotion and placement of staff. This must stop. It is, therefore, part of our resolve to reposition the Local Government Councils that Government recently released funds for construction of bridges, culverts, drainages and other infrastructural facilities that will boost socio-economic activities of our rural areas.

9. The new appointments into the Local Government Service Commission are, therefore, aimed at reinvigorating and re-energizing the Local Government administration in the State. It is, indeed, my expectation that, with the inauguration of new members to the Commission today, you would set a mechanism in place to ensure proper supervision, regulate recruitment, promotion, discipline, training and, indeed, appropriate placement of personnel. You are to ensure adherence to the Civil Service rules, due process and accountability in the affairs of the Local Government Councils in the State. This is to address the rot at this level of governance and to institutionalize effectiveness and efficiency in the delivery of service in our grassroots.

10. You will, in this regard, collaborate with the Ministry for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs which started some needed reforms recently that is already yielding results. You should commence without further delay drawing of appropriate operational guidelines to guide Local Government operations and, indeed, a resolute compliance of such rules to arrest the on-going decay in the Service.

11. It is noteworthy to state that the purpose of creating Development Areas is meant primarily to bring government nearer to the people and fasten development; however such expectations appear disillusioned as most Development Areas have derailed and or lost track of such purpose; therefore, Government has begun serious assessment on their performance to arrest the circumstances of such abysmal failure and may be subjected to direct supervision at the Local Government level to ensure effective supervision and service delivery and cohesion.

12. Closely related to the activities of Local Government is the issue of basic education, which is the foundation of learning, and will continue to remain one of the focal points of this Administration. It is in this connection that we have sustained our pursuit of development of the sub-sector since our assumption of office in May, 2011. We have closely ensured that Local Government Councils remained alive to their responsibilities, especially in primary education and other related objectives to enhance Teacher training, emoluments and pensions, among others. It is this synergy that resulted in Nasarawa State being rated the best in terms of infrastructural development in our primary and junior secondary schools about three (3) years ago. This stride is attributed to our modest contributions in the construction of Ta’al Model Schools and provision of other infrastructure which were equipped with the state-of-the-art facilities to support such efforts.

13. By the same token, the State has remained consistent in its counterpart contribution over the years. Indeed, we have released over N4.3 Billion between 2012 and 2016 for the Universal Basic Education commitment. Today, I am pleased to inform you that Nasarawa State has, once again, been adjudged number one (1) in terms of counterpart funding for Universal Basic Education programmes among all the 36 States of the federation. Perhaps, this might be what informed the decision of the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) to situate its zonal office in Nasarawa State. As I speak now, we have already donated an office complex for the take off of UBEC zonal office and a land for its permanent site in Lafia, the State capital.

14. Similarly, in our strive to reinvigorate the human capital resources in the education sub-sector, Government has released the sum of N60 Million for capacity building of our teachers in primary and junior secondary schools. Arrangements have also been concluded to procure instructional materials for the benefit of our pupils across the State. In the same vein, we have relocated the State Universal Basic Education to a befitting office complex. With the inauguration of members of SUBEB today, therefore, it is my belief that you will work assiduously to realize Government objective of quality education for our children.

15. My dear ladies and gentlemen, I need to point out that the inauguration of members of the Muslim and Christian Pilgrims Welfare Boards is in line with our determination to reinvigorate the Boards for effective performance. This is to demonstrate this Administration’s continued support for religious worships in the State. Accordingly, it is my belief that the Welfare Boards will live to their expectations of due diligence and adherence to best practices in carrying out their duties as it affects registration, screening and welfare of eligible pilgrims for effective pilgrimage to the Holy Lands and also maintain or surpass the stable progress we have made over the years in this area. It is noteworthy to mention here that, recently, the National Hajj Commission granted a Category A license to Nasarawa State for pilgrimage activities signifying great confidence in our organizational capacities, orderliness and reasonable infrastructure we have provided the organisation.

16. Let me at this juncture congratulate you all for these important assignments. As you settle down, I expect you to work in synergy with the bureaucrats of your various establishments in order to achieve the purpose for which the agencies were created.

17. On this note, it is my pleasure to inaugurate the members of the following Commissions and Boards:
i. House of Assembly Service Commission;
ii. Local Government Service Commission;
iii. State Universal Basic Education Board;
iv. Muslim Pilgrims Welfare Board; and
v. Christian Pilgrims Welfare Board.

18. I welcome you all on board to the service of our dear State.

19. Thank you and God bless.