By Bridget Tikyaa Ikyado

The campaigns in the buildup to the 2023 election that ushered in Rev. Fr.Dr Hyacinth Alia as Governor of Benue was a great opportunity for him to traverse the length and breadth of Benue.

It was sad and reflective moment to witness firsthand, the appalling situation of the people of Benue.
The Benue’s face of insecurity, of dampened morale, of elders without hope and a huge youth population without a clear future.

The campaigns unveiled the massive picture of poverty, unemployment, despondent workers and retirees without salary and pension, decayed infrastructure, and a state driven to the ground by a systematic
endemic corruption.

That set the stage for the transformative agenda of Governor Alia since assuming office, an agenda that has attracted support from those yearning for positive change in Benue, and an agenda that’s opposed by the rent seekers who had grounded the state and are now afraid that Alia’s transformation of the state has already exposed their anti-people line of politics.

Their attempts to mislead the populace has so far fall flat on its foot. The people of Benue are now wiser, and ready to protect their collective interest.

One key issue the governor has been focusing attention to was industrialisation.
It is key to turning around the state’s economy. Thus, right from his inaugural speech, he has been deeply committed to industrialising the state for massive development.

“l am ready and willing to provide the requisite leadership to take that leap of faith into the future of shared prosperity for Benue and l will not fail you,” he said in his inaugural speech. As a man of his words, Governor Hyacinth Alia has proactively demonstrated statesmanship in his resolve to return Benue on the path of prosperity.

This is visible in the ongoing construction of 16 township roads in Makurdi metropolis, with a shift soon to communities at the grassroots. This will certainly enhance economic activities for sustainable growth and development of the state.

Again, true to his words, Alia has commenced the process for the return of Internally Displaced Persons back to their ancestral homes. In appreciaton of the governor’s genuine efforts in this direction, Alia has already earned a new name: the ‘Solution Governor’. The construction of resettlement homes at Tatyough – Mbagwen, Makurdi Local Government Area, has since begun.

The Governor in his benevolence and having the Benue people at heart has ensured Civil Service reforms were priotised in the state, with Civil servants having prompt payment of salaries on the 25th of every month,where he has been Nick names Mr 25th,also clearance and payment of pensions and gratuities not left out.

The remodeling of the 42-year-old state Secretariat speaks volumes to what the government of the day wants workers to have in order to give in their best to the service of the state and its people. The civil service, which is the engine room of government, is now running at full speed.

Worthy of mention is the payment for the registration of SSCE and NECO for the 2023/2024 academic year for all Benue indigenes in public secondary schools.

The injection of 100 new buses for Benue Links Transport Company has no doubt cushioned the rising transport fares and ease the burden on poor commuters.

Similarly, after years of fertilizer draught, Governor Hyacinth Alia bought the commodity and distributed it to farmers at subsidized rate.

The Benue State House of Assembly complex is been reconstructed. The hitherto dark Makurdi town is been illuminated through installation of solar street lights and Benue people now realize that salaries and pension is their entitlement and an obligation on the side of government to pay, not a favour as past administrations claimed.

The decision for the government to construct an underpass at the heart of Makurdi, the state capital, is not only the first of its kind, but timely, and a time the Federal Government has agreed to construct a flyover at the Wurukum roundabout in Makurdi. These are gigantic, laudable legacy projects.

The bridges, as work commences, have several benefits to all classes of citizens in the state and visitors. These advantages include Urban renewal, beautification and development, ease of transportation of goods and timely movement of people.

There are also multiplier effects on the economy as the projects provide direct and indirect jobs, while local suppliers of construction and related materials will be patronized and empowered. This is apart from businesses for bottled and satchet water sellers, fruits and food vendors, cashing out daily.

The bridges will help the current hardship commuters go through and businesses, and it’s completion will enhance local economy and social benefits.

The Governor had before the year end presented the 2024 Budget proposal to the Benue State House of Assembly for scrutiny and subsequent passage tittled ‘Budget of infrastructure development, job creation and poverty alleviation’. The budget reflects his administrations steadfast commitment to fostering economic growth and social progress across the state.This is just a tip of the iceberg.

Conspicuous among other glamourous achievements of the governor are reforms at the state owned transport company were for the first time 100new buses were commissioned to ease transportation and evacuation of food produce from the farms, which formed the second phase of cushioning the effect of the removal of petrol subsidy by the federal government.

The Benue government has tremendously improved on its health sector with placement of state of the act medical facilities and otner reforms in the BSUTH, the opening of the Mohammedu Buhari Mother and Child Hospital for affordable maternal and child services.

As the School of Medical Health Sciences students where Benue is the first to implement and enjoy bonds and other policies made for medical student’s welfare.

Also Youth and women empowerment programs, such as the training of 10,000 youth by google and microsoft to ensure they favourably are in the global markets to make ends meet, also synergies with the military and other security agencies to ensure lives and property were safe in the state.

While it is not expected that opposition would clap for the Governor, it is an abuse to the sensitivity of well-meaning people of the state for the sore losers to continue to pollute the media space with lies against the APC administration.

It is crucial to remember that the road to progress is often met with obstacles and challenges.

These distractions arise because Alia is already demystifying those who held the people in contempt, and exposing their selfish agenda, which is partly to keep the people of Benue in perpetual want and poverty, while they loot the common patrimony.

Thus, to truly achieve democratic dividends and ensure progress for Benue, it is imperative for the people to show massive support to the governor and other leaders advocating for unity, understanding and collaboration to bring about positive change and development to every part of the state.

The people of Benue can help create a conducive environment for development, and understanding that the progress of the state is hinged on the collective efforts and support of all citizens, particularly the youths, who are the future custodians of Benue’s well-being.

As the governor moves towards completing nine months in office, he has remained steadfast in fulfilling his pledge to build a new Benue through his seven-point agenda. This include the Security of Lives and Property of the people; investing in agriculture and rural development, as well as Commerce and Industry.

It is a key vision of the Alia administration to raise the human capital in Benue and engineer robust social development, as well as Infrastructure and Environmental revolution.

In the long run, the target is to have a crop of young, smart and Information and Communication Technology savvy people, who are exploring and investing in the vast economic opportunities in ICT for the economic, political, and social development of Benue State.

The Governor should remain firm in God and surround himself with individuals who share his vision, listen to the voices of the people, and seek advice from those who genuinely have the interest of Benue at heart.

By so doing, he will be rest assured that his decisions are guided by wisdom and integrity and shielded from those who seek to derail his progress.

***Bridget Tikyaa Ikyado is the Principal Special Assistant on Media, Publicity and Strategic Communication to Gov.Rev.Dr Hyacinth Alia.

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