Prof. Terhemba Shija, a gubernatorial aspirant on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Benue state has said, if elected governor in 2023, he would rescue the state from the scourge of insecurity, cultism, HIV/AIDS and ignorance among other issues that may have held the state captive.
The aspirant who disclosed this during the presentation of his manifesto, ‘The Benue Rebuild Agenda’ at an interactive session with stakeholders in Makurdi on Friday, alleged that in recent years the state has gone down to “ground zero.”
He stated that one of his determinations was to also tackle, unemployment, poverty as well as secure justice that was preventing the people of the state from realising their potential.
Shija observed that his administration plans to ensure that there was an even, just and equitable distribution of wealth for all citizens of the state.
He pointed out that “Apart from a few flashes of hope in the past, notably the regimes of Aper Aku, Moses Adasu and Senator Dr. George Akume, Benue State has virtually gone back to ground zero. The inhabitants are still very poor; key industries that could have brought wealth and employment to them are lacking.
“I want to assure you that the ‘Benue Rebuild Agenda’ is predicated on the letters and spirit of the manifesto of the APC as well as the directive principles of state policy enshrined in the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended.”
Shija further stated that “This document, ‘The Rebuild Agenda’ therefore encapsulates our vision of a new Benue State for the governorship election of 2023.
“The 2023 general elections provide yet another opportunity for us to reclaim back our state. We wish to work assiduously to rescue the State from its chains of mediocrity so that the Benue environment shall boom again with productivity and excellence as well as to attain world-class infrastructural development.
“We are determined to rescue our people from the scourge of insecurity, political thuggery, cultism, HIV/AIDS, ignorance and other deprivations which are preventing them from realizing their full potentials.
“We are geared towards fighting poverty and unemployment, securing justice and creating a compassionate society in which our people entitlements, salaries, debts and pensions are paid promptly.
“Unlike most dreams, the Rebuild Agenda is not a mere fancy. We have clearly identified areas of comparative advantage of the State, reviewed earlier attempts at tapping such potentials, and advanced specific ideas on how actions could be carried out.”
He however explained that for this to be realised, “First, we have to create large surpluses devoted to the service of our State; our agriculture must be boosted optimally and our solid minerals exploited using the advantage of the latest technology and best global practices. Our wealth will be deployed into production rather than mindless consumption.
“Secondly, we hope to ensure a more even, just and equitable distribution of wealth as well as promote and guarantee the rights and privileges of all the citizens irrespective of their sections, tribes, religion, gender or political orientation.
“We will take care of the poor, the disabled, the unemployed, the sick, and the aged and strive to eradicate poverty and narrow the gap between the rich and the poor. We are in the age of material wealth.
“This blueprint should guide us in our aspiration to acquire wealth, employment and sustain a befitting environment for comfortable living and progress.”, he stated.
Furthermore, he said, “We plan to modernise Benue State, build wider, paved roads, fly-overs, tunnel and housing estates; stock our hospitals with the latest equipment and drugs, provide good classrooms and instructional materials for our schools at all levels.
“We shall improve our transportation systems by road as well as introduce water, rail and air transportation. Indeed, we shall build a befitting airport terminal that would replace the old one built by Aper Aku and attract private airlines to resume commercial services to the Makurdi airport.
“Our dear State also needs an ethical orientation. We have enthroned wrong values and ideas in the name of politics. There is a very urgent need to re-orient our society so as to change our unproductive mindsets and complexes.
“So while it is possible that extraordinary events of history can make people, ordinary citizens like us can also make history with extraordinary faith and conscious action,” he said with optimism.