By Dr. Mkor Aondona
Rev. FR. Dr.Hyacinth Iormem Alia has marked his 1st 100 days in office as the sixth democratically elected Governor of Benue State.
As as practicing democratic trend in the state,successive administrations have always made it necessary to identify and give accounts of their stewardships in the governance and administration of Benue State. To this end,the administration of His Excellency Rev. Fr. Dr. Hyacinth Alia is indeed, proudly associated with this and sagacious enough to appropriately account for her first 100 hundred days in office.
You will recall that,at the instance of his acceptance speech as the duly elected sixth democratically elected Governor of Benue State,Rev Fr. Dr. Hyacinth Alia highlighted his immediate priorities,among other fundamental objectives,to include the immediate payment of salaries and arrears of civil servants owed by the immediate past administration of former Governor Samuel Ortom. He also identified the return of internally displaced persons back to their ancestral homes in Benue State as part of his cogent priorities.
It is instructive to reiterate that as a state Governor and a man of his words,actions,honour and integrity,Rev. Fr. Dr. Hyacinth Alia proactively demonstrated statesmanship,courage,commitment and proof his resolve to return Benue State on the path of prosperity, hope and dignity to the Benue people.
An overview of the 1st 100 days of Rev. Fr. Dr. Hyacinth Alia as Executive Governor of Benue State has recorded the following breakthroughs in the face of all contending odds and challenges, including the huge financial and economic wrecks perpetuated by the immediate past administration led by the PDP.
1. Immediate payments of salaries and accumulated arrears of Benue State civil servants owed by the Ortom administration. These also include the payment of pensions and gratuities to retirees in Benue State civil service. It is on record that so far,the present administration has paid salaries of workers from month May August,while arrears are being prepared for the commencement of deserving verified pensioners in the state civil service.
2. Construction of 16 roads in the Makurdi metropolis of Benue State. Bearing in mind the aggravated rot of the township roads in the state capital as abandoned by the past PDP government.Governor Hyacinth Alia has awarded contract for the construction of the following roads.
The roads are:
(A) NEW GRA PART OF MAKURDI
i. Odeh-Ageh – John Feese Street with spur to Kuma Abanyam and Othaniel Taangahar Street.
ii. Orkuma Akunda Street
iii. Lush Street
iv. Augustinian Community Road
(B)ADEKE/ACHUSA PART OF MAKURDI
i. Nigerian Navy Barracks road
ii. Keghem Malu Street
(C) WURUKUM PART OF MAKURDI
i. David Jebe Street
ii. Kornya City Guest House – Akpeme
iii. Tyagher Gbaa Street
iv. Victoria Aende Street
V. KEKE NAPEP Street
(D)NORTH BANK PART OF MAKURDI
i. Ghandi Street
ii. Federal Low-Coast Housing Road
(E) HIGH LEVEL PART OF MAKURDI
i. Eight Avenue
ii. Iorkyaa Ako Street (Extension)
(F) WADATA PART OF MAKURDI
i. Ikeja – Sokoto Street.
3. Commencement of the processes for the return of Internally Displaced Persons back to their ancestral locations and homes in Benue State. In line with his consistent stand on battling the humanitarian challenges of Benue people,vis a vis the return of IDPs to their ancestral homes, Governor Hyacinth Alia has entered into far reaching collaborations,partnerships and strategic engagements with local and international government and non governmental organizations,with practical dedication and commitment to returning the IDPs back to their homes. Of immense significance in this regard is the collaboration between the Benue State Government and the United Nations (UN). To this effect, on the 26th day of July,2023 the Benue State Government signed and approved a memorandum with the Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator of United Nations Systems in Nigeria, Mathias Schmale in a partnership mutually assist in addressing the incidence and plight of IDPs in Benue State. It of note that while lasting solutions are in the front burners of the government to rehabilitating and reintegrating the IDPs in the state,Governor Hyacinth Alia has elevated the welfare of IDPs on first line charge of his administration,by ensuring a stable and uncompromising protection of the lives of the people in their concentration centres. In furtherance to that,the Government through the National Emergency Management Agency and the Benue State Emergency Management Agency has maintained a steady supply of palliatives to the Internally Displaced. Governor Hyacinth Alia has also maintained consistent visits to the existing camps with a view toensuring that the immediate humanitarian services to the IDPs are not compromised.
4. Distribution of assorted relief materials to flood victims in Benue State. It is in record that Benue State lies situate as region where floods and erosions have become annual occurrence, causing severe cases of Internally Displaced Persons as well as damages to properties of citizens and indigenes in the state.To this ends the Government through the Ministry of Water Resources and Climate has set up technical teams in the management and control of flood on more permanent basis. Meanwhile, temporary measures providing housing and other palliatives measures for their rehabilitation have been embarked upon by the government of Benue State.
5. Constitution of Benue State University Visitation Panels. The Government of Benue State under the leadership of Rev. Fr. Dr. Hyacinth Alia,pursuant to ensuring academic excellence,research and development in the existing tertiary institutions in the state has constituted visitation panels to all the tertiary institutions owned by the government. The visitation panels include those of: 1. Benue State University,Makurdi; Benue State Polytechnic,Ugbokolo;Akawe Torkula Polytechnic,Makurdi; Akperan Orshi Polytechnic,Yandev; College of Education,Oju; College of Education.Katrina Ala. The central objective to identify the immediate and remote issues and challenges affecting the efficiency and effectiveness of these academic institutions,with a view to addressing them.
5. In view of the rising harsh economic realities in the wake of the removal of petrol subsidy and ways of ameliorating them in Benue State,the Benue State Government in collaboration with the Federal Government have been able to secure a 5 billion Naira palliative measure for the provision in cushioning the the effects on the people of Benue State.Out of this intervention,2 billion has been officially released to Benue State.
In his address on the distribution of the palliatives,Governor Hyacinth Alia stated that the sharing pattern of the palliatives would be as follows:
a) payment for the registration of WAEC/SSCE for the 2023/2024 academic year for all Benue indigenes eligible for the examination.
b) To boost the Benue State ICT sector through the sponsorship and training of over 40,000 youth on ICT in the state. This is measure is to ensure that at the end of the process, Benue youth will be able to create jobs for themselves and become self reliant.
c) Provision of grants to 5000 women under registered cooperative societies. This financial support is address the ravaging effects of high mortality rate,mother to child health challenges, trade and investment and other prevailing challenges of subsistence life in the rural, semi urban and urban among women in Benue State.
d) Purchase of buses to the state owned transport company,Benue Links Ltd. The purpose here is to ease the rising cost of state and national transportation being currently experienced as a result of the removal of petrol subsidy by the federal government.
e) Provision of assorted foodstuffs in large storage and distribution to pattern to vulnerable families within target populations in the 23 local government areas in the state. This to mitigate against the forces of hunger, starvation and malnutrition among the poor in the state.
f) To pay one month of pension arrears to retirees in the civil service at both the state and local government levels,amongst others.
6. As part of the state responsibility to ensuring that the lives and property of Benue indigenes plying the roads are safe,the Benue State Government under administration of Rev. Fr. Hyacinth Alia has also commissioned the Benue State Vehicle Inspection Service Centre, Makurdi,which is the fourth among others which are located in:Otukpo,Gboko,Katsina-Ala. Indeed,it is expected that the strategy will engender discipline,orderliness,efficiency and safety in the use of roads and transport facilities on roads.
7. With the commitment of the present government’s commitment to ensuring community and public health prevention and protection against epidemiological cases in both animals and humans in the state, the Benue State Governor has set up a task force for the control and prevention of Anthrax. Anthrax is viral disease that is common among domestic animals such as goats,cats,horses,pigs,which when not prevented and treated could humans into endangered species.
8. As a responsible government and leadership which is not only sensitive to the welfare of civil servants,but curious in ensuring that civil servants have enough length of time to plan for their post retirement,the government of Benue State under Rev. Fr. Dr. Hyacinth Alia has approved the implementation of new retirement age and length of service for teachers in the state. To this effect,Governor Hyacinth Alia has pegged the new retirement age of civil servants( teachers) at 65 as against the 60 years of retirement age that was in practice. On the hand,the Governor has pegged the length of service of teachers at 40 as against 35 years as it was the case before now.
9. As a Governor who is favourably conscious of the significance of national unity,national integration and nation building through the National Youth Service Corps,Rev. Fr. Hyacinth Alia’s has completed modalities for the commencement of payment of Benue Stare Government increase in allowance of NYSC members posted to Benue State. The Government of Benue State under Rev. Fr. Hyacinth Alia has augmented the allowances of corps in the state to fifteen thousand Naira, and one hundred thousand Naira for corps members in the medical profession.
10. To ensure the smooth take off and activities of the 10th Benue State House of Assembly,the Government of Benue State under Rev. Fr. Hyacinth Alia has approved for the total renovation of the Benue State House of Assembly which was under the worst dilapidated conditions and unfriendly for any serious legislative business in the state. Work and has since commenced and about to be completed in the next couple of weeks to come from today.
11. In furtherance of the green revolution agenda of Benue State as an agrarian state which is famously noted as food basket of the nation, the Governor Hyacinth Alia has the launched 2023 farming year by an aggressive subsidization of farming inputs,seedlings and plants. The Government also subsidized the price of fertilizer to farmers in the rural for up to 40% of the cost of each bag of fertilizer.
-Dr. Mkor Aondona writes from Makurdi,the Benue State capital.