This Essay was Submitted by Faith Kumekor.
It is with high spirits that I unveil my plans and convictions for a turn-around in the destiny of our dear state and people. My fervent belief in the inevitability of a greater Benue is not borne out of false hopes; but rather out of the understanding that the only thing that has kept our Benue from reaching her potentials is one which is capable of being completely wiped out, if we, as a people, collectively resolve to get our voting right in the forthcoming election. Owing to that if I am elected the Governor of our state, I shall ensure a quantum leap in every sector in the state by focusing and improving (mainly) on the following areas.
To thrive, a society needs exceptional security for the protection of lives of its citizens, their properties and valuables. The major security challenges in our dear state over the years include: Fulani Herdsmen and farmers clashes, communal clashes armed robbery, cultism and other offences, including sexually related offences. I promise to give maximum cooperation to the Commissioner of Police in the state to ensure all he needs for effective policing is made available. To complement the efforts of the Police, especially in rural areas, we shall employ the services of local vigilante groups and properly train them to carry out the duties effectively. Facilitators such as security vehicles, communication gadgets and other logistics shall be made available to security officers across the 23 LGAs of the state. We shall find a lasting solution to the incessant clashes and gruesome killings between the Benue community and Fulani herdsmen which escalated in 2018, solutions will be implemented by dialoguing with traditional rulers and other stake holders from both the affected communities and their counter-parts from neighboring states such as Nassarawa to end this menace for good.
Our Benue must live up to its name as the ‘Food Basket of the Nation’. Being mindful of the fact that the agricultural sector provides over 60percent of employment opportunity in the state, we shall strengthen this vital sector of our economy by ensuring productivity through mechanization of our faming practice. To foster advancement we shall procure additional tractors from the Benue State Tractor Hiring Agency (BENTHA), which will be given to farmers at subsidized rates and with favorable payment terms. In addition, we shall invite and partner with Agricultural Banks and other loan friendly banks to enable our people access loans to enhance commercial farming. In addition my administration will see to the regular procurement and distribution of improved seedlings, knapsack sprayers, fertilizers, agro-chemicals to aid sustainability of crops. We shall not leave out livestock rearing in our quest to revamp the agricultural sector. Adoption of appropriate policies to enhance and encourage small, medium and large scale fish poultry and other Livestock farming would be initiated, as this would mean diversification from crop farming. We shall also seek improved knowledge and modern scientific farming method by working hand-in-hand with any state involved in similar farming such as Vietnam which is known for rice production. We shall also work towards improved knowledge of farming methods by taking advantage of Agricultural tertiary institutions located within our state which is University of Agriculture, Makurdi and Akperan Orshi College of Agriculture,Yandev. We shall ensure the sale of our products at reasonable prices. To this end, we shall partner with the State House of Assembly to pass a law abolishing the BRANDA people (middlemen) and prohibiting any interference in the sale of farm products to ensure that farmers sell directly to buyers and get adequate reward for their produce.
Despite being the second highest employer of labour in Benue, the educational sector has not been accorded the attention it deserves. Apart from poor facilities being a problem, teachers and lecturers have not adequately been rewarded, in terms of prompt payment of salaries and allowances. The result has been endless industrial actions and protest leading to closure of schools. Under my administration, teachers/lecturers shall be paid commendably and I make a firm promise to clear all the accumulated arrears owed by the previous administrations in order to encourage our teachers/lecturers towards better delivery of knowledge to our children. Also, our yearly budget shall include the building and renovation of classroom, libraries, laboratories as well as the provision of other learning and instructional materials across schools in the 23 LGAs. We shall also focus more on ICT training, Introduction of new courses and the accreditation of unaccredited courses in all our tertiary institutions, especially our Benue State University Benue Polytechnic Ugbokolo, The Akperan Oshi College Of Agriculture Yandev, And The College Of Advanced And Professional Studies (CAPS) Makurdi, etc. With the support of TETFUND, we shall embark on improvement of infrastructures around the schools by making provision for electricity, water supply, lecture rooms, good hostels, recreational centers, laboratories, etc.
The successive past administrations have not done much in provision of social amenities and other infrastructural facilities. Most communities in our dear Benue are still without a working water project, electricity, hospitals, good roads, etc, There is dire need for the construction or reconstruction of roads across villages in the state considering the fact that most of these villages engage in farming activities and thus need good linking roads for the purpose of conveying their agricultural produce to urban and commercial places where they would get value for their effort. Also, as part of our urban renewal program most structures, roads, culverts, gutters and streets in
our towns like Makurdi, Gboko and Otukpo needs renovation or reconstruction.
Our vision in the Health sector is to extend health care services to the greatest number possible in both rural communities and urban areas .In this wise, several hospitals will be built and commissioned in different Local government of the state, and we will ensure that each local government has a general hospital for increased health care services. There will be provision of ambulance and rehabilitation of Federal medical centre, free immunization for children against Polio, Measles, Yellow Fever, etc .Also free health treatment for senior citizens above 60 years, treatment for pregnant women and children all targeted at ensuring a healthy population.
There is urgent need to create more job opportunities for our teeming population of young people and the surest way to go is through resuscitation of our moribund industries such as the Taraku Mills, the invitation of foreign and local investors to Benue, the setting up of more production companies and the encouragement of other commercial activities. Our goal shall be to create a friendly business environment for all and sundry, enhancement of capital market, providing loan packages, provision of lands for the building of Factories, Malls Banks, Petrol stations etc .Benue has abundant minerals that has not been mined such as limestone which can be found at Tse kucha and kaolinte at otukpo .More cement factories will be set up using coal mines ,quarry companies and other industries to benefit the people of Benue. These strategic projects are my first call of implementation on emergence as the Governor of Benue state in 2023 Gubernatorial Election.