Governor Alia’s Six Months Of Purposeful Governance
By Bridget Ikyado
In the course of his campaign to be elected Governor of Benue, Reverend Fr Hyacinth Alia, has made several promises which he aptly captured in his 7-Point Agenda after assuming duty on May 29, 2023, as the Executive Governor of Benue State.
The 7-Point Agenda is anchored on the Security of Lives and Property, Agriculture and Rural Development, Commerce and Industry, Human Capital and Social Development, Infrastructure and Environment, Information and Communications Technology (ICT), and Political and Economic Governance.
Six months after, the Alia-led administration, has not only lived up to expectations but also set new goals to take Benue to new heights.
On securing lives and property, the Governor has pushed for the deployment of more security personnel to the state and the return of Internally Displaced Persons home.
This has attracted the interest of President Bola Tinubu who has directed that new cluster houses be built for the IDPs in a very secured environment.
Already, construction work has commenced in five locations across the state. These are Makurdi,Guma,Kwande, Logo and Agatu.At the end, the IDPs will not only live a normal life, but also be able to pursue their dreams and get their children back to school without fear.
The recent directive by Dr Betta Edu Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Social Development and Disaster Management that all Humanitarian and Donor agencies deploy intervention services to Benue will curb insecurity and eliminate poverty into the state.
The governor has maintained constant links with heads of security agencies in the country, held several meetings with them and agreed on workable strategies to confront the security situation in the state. One of such is the setting up of military operation camps in troubled spots in the state.
Governor Alia has also appointed two Special Advisers, one on Security and Strategic Liaison and the other on Security and Internal Affairs. This is apt, as it will ensure proper coordination of security issues in the state.
The Executive Governor of Benue State, Rev Fr Dr Hyacinth Iormem Alia flagged off the Distribution Exercise of the Special National Economic and Livelihood Emergency Intervention for Persons affected by the 2022 Flood and the Most Vulnerable in Benue State.
As part of his agenda on agriculture and rural development, the governor has distributed fertiliser and other farm inputs to farmers. The government is also working closely with agric institutions to improve farming methods.
The government has further hosted the National Agricultural Mechanization and Innovation Summit, in conjunction with the Coalition Network of Stakeholders in Agricultural Mechanization.
The administration of Governor Alia is also discussing with the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) to boost agriculture value chain and support rural farmers and women in Benue State.
To deliver on his promise of enhancing the livelihood of the people, Alia has through the Ministry of Cooperative and Urban Development, began data collation of traders, entrepreneurs and vulnerable people with a view to offering them loans and grants.
To make governance open and participatory, the Benue State Government has been making moves to join the Open Government Partnership, and other national and international organisations. This is key to ensuring that the citizens participate in budget planning, and implementation, and in tracking projects.
As part of efforts to boost trade and investment, the administration has been networking with relevant investors and government agencies to develop, revamp moribund industries and provide solutions to the current economic challenges and improve the ability of Benue State to compete in the global marketmarket, with a recent advocacy visit to the Minister of trade and Investment
Also the Benue state government is to make case to be considered for thirteen percent derivative given to states with mineral deposits from the federation account.
Governor Hyacinth Alia has also strengthened the Benue Links, the state transport company, with over 100 new buses for inter and intra transport services.
The acting General Manager of the company, Comrade Alexander Fanafa has since announced reduction in the transport fares, recruited and upskilled drivers, and repaired more vehicles.
The administration has also in the last six months ensured prompt payment of salaries, enhanced the work environment for civil servants to carry out their duties more effectively, as pension and gratuity payments are not left out.
The state government has began capacity trainings of Benue indigenous and civil servants in China to enhance businesses and service delivery in all sectors.
To guarantee proper scrutiny of government commitments, debts and contracts, Governor Alia has directed all MDAs to have legal units for that purpose.
The Executive Governor of Benue State, Rev Fr Dr Hyacinth Iormem Alia has commissioned the newly reconstructed Upper Area Court Otukpo in Otukpo which was furnished by the former Deputy Governor of Benue State, Engr. Benson Abouno.
This followed the renovation of High Court 1 within the same premises of Chief Morgan Bar Centre Otukpo by Chief Godwin Obla, SAN.
In the health sector,the appointment of Dr Stephen Hwande as the CMD has elevated the standard and quality of the BSUTH and the government has embarked on the rehabilitation and equipping of health facilities and providing subsidised drugs and other services to patients. There is also a serious effort to eliminate fake and substandard drugs from the public space to safeguard the lives of the people.
The opening of the Muhammadu Buhari Mother and Child Hospital is to further provide the people with opportunity to access functional health facilities across the state.
The government has also commenced the provision of free health services for pregnant women and children under 5 years.
In the Education sector,Benue is now one of the few to implement the 65-year retirement age for teachers and only recently started paying hazard allowances in our medical facilities. This is not to mention special allowances to NYSC doctors and other corp members,the prompt graduation of medical health science students and the revival of budding arrangement with medical students of the BSU School of Medical Sciences are in order.
Spearheading the Education and Knowledge Management sector Rev Frederick Ikyaan has ensured students learn skill acquisition subjects, get ICT trainings to keep. abreast with global happenings around the globe.
The Benue state government has ensured WAEC candidates get free registrations just as for JAMB.
On infrastructure and environment, the governmeng has established the Benue State Agro -climatic resilience in Semi Arid landscapes office, to execute World Bank assisted project. The projects will cover roads, opening of waterways, and providing structures to mitigate flooding in the state. .
Work is speedily ongoing on 16 township roads including erosion control measures have started on roads and streets in Makurdi and reciprocated in all Local Government Areas.
The State House of Assembly complex is also wearing a new look.
The Government House , State Secretariat and the BSUTH have been connected to the 33kVA power line,to enhance effective service delivery.
Also renewable solar street lights are seen been installed every where around the state capital to curb insecurity, beautify the state and minimise road crashes.
The training of 10,000 youths by Google and microsoft by the state government, creating of data base for job creation for youths in the state, as well as the digitisation of MDAs are measures to set the youth of the state in the forefront of the digital market.
To cap it all, the government has established the Benue State Peace and Reconciliation Commission to promote reconciliation, peace building and peaceful coexistence.
Bridget Ikyado is the Principal Special Assistant to the Governor on Media ,Publicity and Strategic Communications