Rejoinder by Nasarawa State Governor to 247ureports.com

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What is in the bag?

When the Governor of Nasarawa State, Umar Tanko Al-Makura decided to contest for the seat of Governor of the State, he had full knowledge of the challenges he was going to face. It is no longer news that the 12 years of democratic rule in Nasarawa state has not provided the much needed democratic dividends for the people and being a part of the political history of the state since inception, the Governor is fully aware of the wishes and desires of the people for good governance.

While we do not wish to join issues with the writer of this misleading piece. It is necessary to point out that the information posted on the social media could be misleading and capable of distorting facts. Issues raised by 247ureports.com on the activities of the Governor of Nasarawa State, have been discovered to be either bereft of facts or based on misinformed and entirely false premises.

We agree with the writer that, the accession of Governor Al-Makura came as highly welcoming to the citizenry, who saw the change as a sign of hope; we are however at odds with the notion that the Governor has been unable to steer the various apposing political players towards a unifyied direction. This writer has been unable to substantiate these wild allegations with concrete instances.


247ureports.com displayed its ignorance on the workings and philosophy of the Governor on celebrations, when he accented that, a whooping N915,000,000:00 million had been earmarked for the May 29 2012 democracy day celebration, 247ureports.com should know that Al-Makura is a cost effective and low-keyed Governor; this can be exemplified by his actions since he assumed office, especially with the handling of the swearing-in ceremonies of members of the State Executive Councils, Special Advisers and Management Committees of Local governments and Development Areas. As a matter of fact even the May Day celebration was celebrated low-keyed. How else can one explain the Governor’s desire to conserve scarce resources for the benefits of the people?

247ureports.com also made mention of the Governor’s sweeping promises of what will become of his defining Agenda and maker for his term as governor of Nasarawa State. He outlined the promises made as follows:-

  1. Erection of a 3-arm zone at the state capital
  2. Free Medical program for the disadvantaged
  3. Special schools for the advantage
  4. Constructions of 3kilmeters road each at local government areas (LGA)
  5. Making each ministry I.C.T compliant and
  6. Construction of Mono-Rail to connect Nasarawa State to the F.C.T

 

The allegation that the Governor has not delivered on any of these promises raised a lot of doubts as to whether the writer is quoting a credible source. Questions can therefore be raised as to the references made to the aides of the Governor as his sources of information.
However and for the sake of clarification, the office of the Governor, House of Assembly, and the judiciary are presently well equipped, provided with necessary facilities to function and all concentrated in Shendam road. So what is the big deal about erection of three arms zone?

The free medical programme was kick started immediately the Governor assumed office. He single-handedly ensured that the Association of Resident Doctors (ARD) and the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) in the state called off their four months old strike. In addition he also introduced free medical health care for pregnant women, children under five years, as well as the aged, free eye and ear operations as well as free drugs for diabetic patients all in the bid to fulfil his campaign promises.

While the Mono-Rail project is also on course, presently there is collaboration between Nasarawa State Government and Federal Ministry of Transport on this effort. The Federal Ministry of Transport would construct the mono- rail project from FCT up to Mararaba in Nasarawa State, while the State Government would extend it to Gudi in Akwanga Local Government of the State.

On the free Special schools for the dis-advantaged, that has also been achieved, presently a pilot programme has commenced in each of the three senatorial zones of the State.
As part of his efforts in the Education sector, he has revived students’ scholarship for those in tertiary institutions which hitherto were stopped by the previous administration. As if that was not enough his government has undertaken to pay the WAEC and NECO examination fees of secondary school final year students across the state, for 2012.
The Governor also embarked on building and renovation of schools across the state, as part of efforts to tackle the poor condition of infrastructure. He has gone into partnership with National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI) to harness the solid mineral potentials in the state especially in the area of provision of science equipments for improved science education.

It should be noted, that when Al-Makura, assumed office in May 2011, all the tertiary institutions in the state were under lock and key, the staff members of the various institutions were on strike over conditions of service while the students were provoked to violence by incessant increase in school fees and other gratuitous charges.

One must add, that Governor Al-Makura is not only an achiever, but believes in achieving without making noise about it.

With regards to construction of 3-kilometers road at each Local Government Area (LGA), he embarked on several roads constructions in the designated urban areas across the three Senatorial Zones of the State. For instance, in Lafia, the state capital, road construction include those linking Kurikyo and Shendam roads, Angwan Mangu – Kurikyo, the one linking Shendam road and Angwan Tiv, through Super Cinema and the one passing through Lafia East Primary School through to the government house junction, on Shendam road and project quarters, UAC-Kwandere road, as well as some selected street roads in Lafia metropolis. The governor also awarded contract for the construction of some roads in Akwanga and Keffi. Construction works on these roads are in progress and are at various stages of completion. He also influenced the ongoing reconstruction of Lafia-Doma road.

Only recently the governor procured and commissioned earth moving machines for the sole purpose of opening-up and construction of rural roads. This is aimed at abating the untold hardship suffered by rural dwellers following years of neglect by previous administrations in the state.

The writer alluded to the fact that “one of the more aggrieved governor’s aides, claimed that the Governor has shown no indication of initiating the promised projects and that the Governor was more concerned with appeasing political “hound dogs” in the State.
Haba, since when has an aggrieved person become a reliable source of information? The writer may also need to know that virtually all appointees of the Governor are those who believed in the focus and direction of his administration. If not, they would have been out of office by now. Therefore the assertion that the governor has no intention of fulfilling his campaign promises, surely must have existed only in the writer’s imagination”.

On the submission of names for appointment of 18 Commissioners and 20 Special Aides, which was done in fulfilment of the Constitutional requirement, where a governor of a state is expected to forward such names and numbers to the legislative for screening and approval, the writer again showed his ignorance of the dynamics of democratic governance, when he portrayed this aspect of legislative process as a failure on the part of the Governor, maybe the writer needs to go back and read the 1999 Constitution as amended and get better educated.

The simple definition of Presidential system of government is the existence of an Executive, Legislature and Judicial arms of Government. Each of these arms has functions provided for them in the constitution, in the same manner, the relationship between the Executive and the Legislative arms in any democratic setting are relationship anchored on the need to provide good governance. In discharging these functions, therefore one can never rule out the possibility of disagreements and conflicts. In essence, disagreements are common ingredients in any democratic setting. What stands out in the case of Nasarawa State is the fact that the members of the Executive and Legislature are able to resolve their conflicts amicably without recourse to any outside interference. This we believe should be a credit to the Governor.

On the Governor raising N4.5million each for lawmakers (totalling 108million) to go for medical checkups in India, that again is another allegation fabricated by the so-called source of 247ureports.com. Every kobo released to the Nasarawa State Assembly is appropriated and how the Assembly expends its funds is totally up to it. It is therefore not the duty of any one to hold brief for the State House of Assembly.

On the appointment, dismissal and movement of Permanent Secretaries to the CPC, that again is another lie, as no such event took place. This raises another credibility question on the writer’s sources of information.

The writer also talked on the issue of Commissioners “squatting” maybe the writer is yet to realise that all welfare services in respect to political appointees have been monitized and such monetization includes accommodation.
As for the one Billion to be expended on the construction of residential quarters for government officials, the writer must have been confusing, the Housing programme of Government with the provision of accommodation for Hon. Commissioners and Political Appointee’s.

The writer may need to know that when Governor Al-Makura assumed office on May 29th 2011, he met an empty treasury. Before his swearing-in, the immediate past administration had collected the State statutory allocation for that month and squandered it. Notwithstanding this set back, the Governor, raised funds and was able to pay salaries for that month without any overdraft facilities from the Banks as it used to be the practice of the past administration.

Presently he is one Governor in Nigeria whose payment of salaries are up to date. He is equally the first Governor in Nigeria who approved the payment of the N18,900.00 minimum wage without any negotiation with labour. As for the few local governments that are in arrears of salaries, if any, the delay is only as a result of data processing due to computerization.

One is seriously at a loss where 247ureports.com fabricated this notion that no fewer than one thousand people were sponsored for this year’s Hajj operation, one is confused as whether he is making reference to the entire state contingent including those sponsored themselves or is he creating other issues that does not exist?

Ordinarily, one wouldn’t have wasted precious time responding to these wild and unsubstantiated stories. But as a government that is committed to serving the people, such government is bound to have detractors, it is for this reason that, the public needs to know that certain issues being peddled on the social media could be the handwork of those who do not mean well for the people of Nasarawa State.

Written by Hon. Abdulhamid Y. Kwarra, SSA to the Governor of Nasarawa State, on Public Affairs.

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