SPEECH DELIVERED BY HIS EXCELLENCY, UMARU TANKO AL-MAKURA, GOVERNOR OF NASARAWA STATE ON THE OCCASION OF THE SWEARING-IN OF HONOURABLE COMMISSIONERS AND MEMBERS OF THE STATE EXECUTIVE COUNCIL, LAFIA: THURSDAY, 20th DECEMBER, 2018.

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. The APC Gubernatorial Candidate Nasarawa State;

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

6. Members of the State Executive and Security Councils;

7. The Secretary to the Government of Nasarawa State;

8. The Head of the Civil Service;

9. The National Vice Chairman, APC North-Central Geo-political Zone;

10. The State Chairman, All Progressives Congress (APC);

11. Permanent Secretaries;

12. His Royal Highness, Alhaji (Dr.) Isa Mustapha Agwai I, CFR, Emir of Lafia and Chairman, Nasarawa State Council of Chiefs;

13. Chairmen and Chief Executives of Commissions, Boards and Parastatals;

14. Executive Chairmen of Local Government Councils and Overseers of Development Areas;

15. Your Royal Highnesses, Emirs and Chiefs;

16. Prominent Sons and Daughters of Nasarawa State;

17. My dear Appointees;

18. Gentlemen of the Press;

19. Ladies and Gentlemen.

Today marks yet another watershed in the history of this Administration as we are gathered here to witness the swearing-in of Honourable Commissioners and Members of the State Executive Council which I am obliged to christen “Transition Team”.

2. You would recall that owing to exigency and the need to reinvigorate the machinery of Government, we recently reshuffled the State Executive Council. Consequently, eleven (11) Commissioners during the exercise were relieved of their appointments to pursue their various aspirations. In the same vein, six (6) other Members of the Council were redeployed as a deliberate measure to ensure that the activities of Government continue unabated.
3. As an Administration that is focused on sustaining its development strides, we decided to take steps to fill the vacancies created as a result of the reshufflement endeavour. Accordingly, after due consultations, I submitted a list of eleven (11) nominees to the State House of Assembly for screening and confirmation for appointment as Honourable Commissioners and Members of the State Executive Council.


4. I note with appreciation the prompt action taken by the Honourable House which successfully screened and confirmed the nominees in record time. This is how it should be as it demonstrates our collective commitment towards ensuring credibility and worthiness of the appointees to serve at the highest echelon of decision making in the State Public Service.

5. I commend this show of partnership which has continued to define our relationship with the 5th State Assembly over the years. I have no doubt that this synergy will be sustained as a reflection of our collective responsiveness as representatives of our people.

6. Ladies and gentlemen, as we commence the countdown of this Administration, today’s event is considered as one of the last major rituals that I will have the historic privilege of performing as Governor. This ceremony, though a usual swearing-in event, is a springboard aimed at strengthening the machinery of Government, more than ever before. This is in consonance with my solemn undertaking to continue to provide the needed leadership that will place the State on a high pedestal of socio-economic development. This is my resolve to serve you to the last minute of my stewardship.
7. In this connection, Government is determined to accomplish what we promised the people which has been manifesting in execution of key infrastructural projects, economic empowerment strategies and social programmes that are encapsulated in our Inclusive Governance blueprint. Thus, the consolidation of such enduring legacies over seven (7) years ago is a task that must be done with a view to paving way for smooth transition for the incoming Government.

8. Let me reiterate that we are determined to bequeath governance structure that will be handy for the incoming Government. This is to serve as a guiding template and the roadmap for the sustained development of our dear State. In the pursuit of our Transition Agenda, therefore, we have decided to, once again, inject into governance, tested technocrats, high-profiled professionals and daring politicians whom we believe celebrate our success story and share in our longstanding philosophy of pragmatism in service delivery. Giving their antecedence, it is my conviction that the appointees will add value to our transition agenda as this Administration is winding down.

9. I should further reiterate that as a Government that respects the dignity of labour, one of our major priorities when we came on board has been the improvement of the living standard of the public servants. This was predicated upon our conviction that if our mandate, encapsulated in our policies and programmes, is to serve the people, then the public servant who is the nerve centre of policy implementation must be given his dues.

10. It is for this reason that our first major assignment in 2011 was the implementation of the National Minimum Wage and other salary structures of our public servants. This, we have committed ourselves to do till the end of our tenure. Let me also state that, given our commitment to the welfare of our workforce, we will continue to implement policy decisions that will enhance the living conditions of the public servants.

11. In this regard, as we are awaiting the final decision on the review of the National Minimum Wage, I assure our workers that we will be among the first States to implement any decision reached by the Federal Government. Concomitant to this, I have directed for the implementation of the promotion of deserving workers in the State. It is my belief that this is a formidable way of strengthening the machinery of Government for optimal productivity.

12. In our resolve to expand the frontiers of policy implementation, also, we have lifted the ban on employment. In this regard, we have demonstrated our commitment to reinvigorate the Service in the recent employment of teachers into our public schools in the State. I, therefore, encourage eligible citizens to apply for vacant positions in the Civil Service.
13. Ladies and gentlemen, as part of this ceremony, Government is distributing official vehicles to Executive Chairmen of Local Government Councils, Deputy Chairmen, Overseers, Speakers of the Legislative Houses of the Local Government Councils and Secretaries of Local Government Areas. Government gesture in this direction is intended to boost their image and dignity, as well as to enhance their performance in the discharge of their onerous responsibility in the respective Local Government Councils.
14. Today’s event will also witness the inauguration of two Director Generals. As you are all aware, in our efforts to sustain the momentum of the successes achieved under the Nasarawa State Development Platform it became imperative for me to appoint a Director General to oversee the activities of the Nasarawa State Geography Information Service on digitalization of land certification, verification and general operations of the agency.
15. In the same vein, I equally approved the appointment of the Director General, Nasarawa State Market Management Bureau in our collective effort to optimize the operations and regulation of markets development across the State. Accordingly, Government hereby directs that all new markets particularly those in Lafia, Karu, Akwanga and Keffi most commence operations before the end of the year. In this regard, Executive Chairmen of Local Governments and our esteemed Emirs and Chiefs where these markets are located are hereby put on notice of Government directives and are advised to give the Concessionaires maximum cooperation and support.
16. At this juncture, ladies and gentlemen, let me take the liberty of this occasion to reiterate that electioneering campaigns towards the 2019 General Elections are steaming up. While we have the constitutional right to express our views and take part in choosing candidates of our choices, I call on all and sundry to eschew politics of bitterness and mudslinging. It is our collective obligation to create a serene political climate that will foster hitch-free exercise before, during and even after the elections. We should not allow ourselves to be used by political opportunists whose stock in trade is to fan the embers of disunity. This is a task for all of us.

17. Let me once again congratulate our new Honourable Commissioners on your well-deserved appointment. I should, however, remind you of my usual call that Public Service is public trust. You must discharge your duties bearing in mind our principles of accountability, probity, prudence and, above all, loyalty to Government. At the peak of this Administration’s transition, therefore, it behooves on us all to be more committed in carrying out our various responsibilities. This is the only way that we can leave a legacy that will stand the test of time.

18. As you settle down at your Ministries, therefore, I urge you to key into our Transition Agenda aimed at accomplishing our various programmes and projects towards improving the living conditions of our people. You must avoid profligacy with Government resources as such acts will be detrimental to our lofty ideals on financial discipline. I also call on you to entrench good working relationship with the bureaucracy, especially your Permanent Secretaries and other subordinates. In doing so, you will create the needed conducive environment and, indeed, good interpersonal relationships that will engender efficient and effective service delivery.

19. To the relations, friends and well-wishers of the appointees, I appeal that we should accord them maximum support, as well as avoid unnecessary distractions to enable them carry out their duties with due diligence and patriotism.
20. In concluding this address, it is my pleasure to express my appreciation for your usual uncommon solidarity and cooperation extended to my Administration. I must say that without your unflinching support, we would not have been where we are today. I have no doubt that we will continue to count on you in the remaining months ahead.

21. On this note, let me once again congratulate and welcome the Honourable Commissioners on board in the service of Nasarawa State.

22. Thank you and God bless.