Dear Governor Abdullahi A. Sule,
For over two years, fate has bestowed on you the leadership of our dear state, Nasarawa. And on your shoulders much is expected. During times of difficulty and chaos, uncertainty and unrest, tension and suffering, we look to our leaders to help guide the ship. We look to our leaders to bring clarity, solutions, resolve, action, and healing. At the same time, we trust that our leaders will stoically stand for what’s right, for truth and for the good of all.
Section 14(2) (b) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) succinctly captures the very essence of governance thus, “the security and welfare of the people is the primary purpose of government.” This very legitimate object of good government has fallen short so far, as insecurity is grossly pervasive in our state while the welfare of the people is fast deteriorating.
I write as a concerned citizen and leader of thought in our state, in view of the threat by the Nasarawa State chapter of organized labour comprising the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) to shutdown the state via an indefinite strike action.
I profoundly sympathize with the state workers because despite the series of agreements reached with the state government to offset the backlog of workers promotion allowance since 2011 till date, totalling ten years, nothing has been done except continuous empty promises. At a time of high inflation and worsening standard of living, this cannot be said to be fair to our workers who constitute the engine room of the state’s economy, and the driving force of prosperity.
Despite their hardwork, commitment and devotion to duty, workers in our state’s public sector have been owed arrears since the past 13-14 years. This calamity is further accentuated by a situation where there is no promotion allowances, no annual increment, and no staff training. Workers in the state who were employed since 2011 are still receiving same salary with nothing being added till date. This is unfortunate.
It is indeed more unfortunate that these debased and shortchanged but hardworking workers of our state are further threatened with a “no work, no pay” admonition when they are only expressing an internationally recognised grievance in labour circles with the attendant measures of expressing their unsatisfactory treatment.
Further to this debilitating malaise, is the unprecedented case of insecurity. Our state has become a habitat for criminals and bandits and more alarmingly, terrorists! It has been made a safe haven and a launching pad for bandits and terrorists to use and carry out acts of carnage and brigandage in neighbouring states. Accumulatively, the lives our people have regressed to the Hobbesian state, as encapsulated in the theory of the state of nature, where it is “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.”
Things can get better, only if the right approach is adopted and the political will is there to get it executed. As a state, richly endowed with both fertile lands, tourism potentials and mineral resources, including our close proximity to the nation’s seat of power, Nasarawa State can stand on her own without depending on the monthly miserly hand outs from the federation account.
Like Ebonyi, Lagos and Kebbi States, we can reap bountifully from rice production by the state Government. Giving out lands and collecting taxes to other private enterprises alone is not enough, we must get involved like the aforementioned states. Dairy farming is another sector that would fetch the state huge revenue; this is a sector that contributes more than 10 percent to the GDP of a small nation like Belgium, and the Netherlands.
Tourism potentials are left to waste away. From Farin Ruwa in Wamba LG to Eggon Caves in Nasarawa Eggon to the salt sites of Awe, government have made no effort to explore them. Farin Ruwa waterfalls, can in addition to tourism, generate considerable amount of electricity megawatts for distribution and revenue generation.
We need an industrial hub and layouts in Karu and Keffi LGCs due to their proximity to Abuja. Many industries and companies desirous of serving the FCT and the nation would gladly situate their sites there. In the process, the state shall reek in a huge amount in revenue generation the same way Ogun State is benefitting from her proximity to Lagos and is serving as the industrial hub of Lagos State. Further to this, the State Government can also initiate and complete a Mono Rail project from the Uke- Auta Balefi – Masaka – Mararaba to Abuja axis as both an effective transportation measure to curtail the incessant cases of traffic gridlock on that route, and as a veritable revenue generation source. This is long overdue.
Our young people must be engaged, as a way to secure their future and bail us out of the current spate of insecurities around us. Exploring and developing the economic potentials of the state as aptly captured above would create thousands of job opportunities, in addition to the plethora of jobs that would be opened up in the private sector when the right atmosphere and enabling environment is created. Like Kano, Rivers and Yobe States, among other states, we must also think of sponsoring some of our talented indigent students to good schools outside our shores to acquire specialised knowledge in trending areas of technology like ICT, artificial intelligence, special science, aeronautical engineering, etc, to enable them compete effectively with students/youths from other parts of the world.
Furthermore, as calls continue to intensify for restructuring in the nation and full operation of fiscal federalism, we must begin to think outside the box, and completely outside the sole reliance on statutory federal allocation, to service the machinery of State and pay our workers their rightful entitlements. By so doing, our youths will have not just a sense of belonging but, also acquire the requisite knowledge and tools in our ever changing and dynamic world to use in developing themselves, family and the society. This has been a long time coming. We must use this moment to change the narrative.
May God Bless Nasarawa State.
God Bless Nigeria.
Rt. Hon. Davematics E. Ombugadu
Candidate, PDP 2019 Governorship Election,