An Open Letter To Umaru Tanko Al-Makura, Governor Of The State Of Nasarawa By Azige, Louis Machue
Your Excellency, I congratulate you, not just for been re-elected for a second term, but for steering the affairs of Nasarawa State in the last four years; and coming thus far in spite of the herculean challenges you faced. You have done so much, not out of your power, wisdom, nor capability. But by the grace you have enjoyed all your life.
Sir, in spite of all that you have done to change the face of education; provide the needed infrastructure; improve the welfare of workers; improve healthcare services; promote commercial activities; and in all, improve the overall living condition of the people- a lot still need to be done. In fact, the near total decay in the various sectors of the State before your emergence has made your efforts seem like a mere drop into the ocean. It is on this premise that I humbly want to draw your attention to some issues.
While we continue to appreciate the effort you and your team have made to contain insecurity in the State, more is required. For peace and security to be fully restored, whoever foments trouble in any guise that could lead to any form of crisis in the State should be severely dealt with in accordance with the provision of the law.
The farming season is here and we are likely to begin to experience some skirmishes between farmers and herdsmen. Concerted efforts must be put in place to help check the rivalry that may arise between these set of people. While growing up as a child, my experience was that herdsmen never encroach into farms to deliberately destroy crops. In a situation where this happens, the herdsmen are reported to the police and are meant to pay the equivalent of the crops destroyed; and even more. But today, herdsmen go into farms and feed their flock on crops that farmers have toiled day and night to grow; and no one stops them. It has been alleged by some sections of the public that you, among other politicians and wealthy individuals in the State own some of these herds that destroy crops in farms. In fact, this was used to discredit you before the electorate in the last general elections. To show to the world that you have no relationship whatsoever with these herds and their rearers, a clear strategy should be put in place to bring this ugly trend to an end. In the light of the above, the police should be empowered to make arrest and ensure that any herdsman who allows his flock graze crops in the farm is made to pay the cost of the products, or even more to the farmer. This I believe is one sure way to end herdsmen/farmers disputes in the state.
Again, you have provided fantastic structures to provide decent accommodation for our school boys and girls. You have also made education free, so as to give every child the opportunity to get at least primary and secondary education in the State. However, there is the need to critically look at the sector to ensure efficient service delivery with the meager resources available for it. With the little resources at our disposal, if discipline and strict adherence to the ethics of professionalism in the sector is applied, we will have a near complete turnaround in the sector.
Sir, the appointment of a very strict and disciplined person to oversee the Ministry of Education will go a long way to ensure efficiency in the sector. We need a committed technocrat who can personally re-enforce monitoring and evaluation of Principals as well as members of staff in all the schools across the State. The attitude of teachers absenting themselves from school and denying the pupils and students the opportunity to learn, but smile to banks at the end of the month should be discouraged.
Sir, the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the State and Nigeria as a whole is maligned to be an “Islamic Party with an Islamic Agenda”. This was one of the major instruments used against the party in the just concluded General elections. Be that as it may be, Your Excellency, you will have to take concrete and deliberate steps to ensure that you proof wrong, critics who peddle such unnecessary and irresponsible thought. This can be done by ensuring that Christians and Muslims alike have equal opportunities in your government, and even appointments you can influence at the federal level.
More so, it appears that a few tribes that have had the opportunity and access to power in the State continue to dominate others with lesser opportunities in nearly all ramifications. Sir, you will do us well by empowering and appointing people from various ethnic groups into influential positions where they can better the lot of their people. At this point, I make special appeal for tribes that could not produce a single person into the National Assembly. Such a tribe should be given due attention and priority. However, merit should not be compromised.
Azige, Louis Machue
Lafia, Nasarawa State