29th- May, 2019
Fellow citizens of Adamawa State,
It is with gratitude to God and a high sense of responsibility, that I address you today.
Exactly one year ago, I took the oath of office to serve you as the Governor of Adamawa State. That oath climaxed the bold decision we collectively made on the 9th day of March, 2019.
Even though the result of that election was declared inconclusive for technical reasons and a fresh one was ordered in some constituencies, you stood by me and ensured victory was delivered. When the adversaries of the popular will became hell-bent on thwarting the mandate freely given to us by walking in and out of courts to truncate the mandate, you stood by us in defense of justice up to the Supreme Court. For all these and more, I can’t thank you enough. Beyond appreciation is the fact that I personally know that the series of solidarities demonstrated did not come without a weighty burden of responsibility.
You did not just follow me all the way because of my looks. You did all that because you were first angry at the way you were governed and were hungry for a change that can unleash good and responsible governance. You felt deceived and betrayed by our predecessors and yearned for a leadership you can trust to deliver on every promise made.
You were deliberate in the decision you made and strategic on how to use your votes. You are indeed an enlightened citizenry who are in no confusion over your taste for good leadership and the way to democratically get it done. After you have engaged and listened to me during the electioneering campaign from Toungo to Madagali and from Shelleng to Maiha you became settled that you can trust me enough to serve you.
And because you did that, I sleep and wake up with a pricked conscience that, I can’t afford to give you anything less than what you craved for; good governance.
After my oath of office on 29th May, 2019, I was clear on the task ahead of me and conscious of the fact that it is a herculean one. I know, I owe you the best of service in both quality and quantity. And the first place to start the process of paying back the debt was to assemble a virile team for delivery. I made appointments based on merit and got good and committed hands from what our State can provide. I ensured my cabinet is a medley of the fine technocrats and politicians who are not only competent and patriotic but committed to the shared vision of the progress and development of the State. At each point, I pause to remind them of the burden of trust bestowed on us and charge them to give in their best in the service of our people and dear State.
Fellow citizens, one year down the line, the journey to make Adamawa State great again has gathered momentum and is progressing steadily. Though at some point, it has been rough, tough and challenging but we always surmounted it by our collective dogged determination to succeed.
At inception, this Government was confronted with myriad of problems that were capable of derailing it from achieving its cardinal objectives.
We met a State that was sucked in unfathomed debt, a moribund economy that depended solely and wholly on the Federal Allocation, dwindling Revenue, worsening insecurity, occasioned by the triple effects of insurgency, kidnappings, cattle rustling and the urban insecurity like the notorious Shilla Boys menace. Others include incessant farmer/herder conflicts and a disunited and disillusioned populace yearning for change.
More worrisome was the lack of clear understanding of modern governance structure which is rooted in collaborations and partnerships. The State has practically abandoned its development partners in providing development to the citizens by abdicating its responsibility of paying counterpart funding for projects that have direct bearings on the lives and livelihoods of our people.
A case in point was the outright refusal to pay matching grants to enable the State access UBEC funding since 2015. This made the State to lose out on the UBEC funding for the years 2015,2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019.
It is of interest to note that within the one year of the administration, we have been able to provide matching grants for the lost years, and provided the required opportunity for the State to access N10 Billion funds, which were laying fallow at UBEC for our basic education schools in the State.
As you may recall, during my inauguration a year ago, I made security of lives and property the topmost priority of this Government, just as enshrined in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
I made it clear that, under my watch, the rights of every citizen will be protected and upheld. I have remained committed to actualizing these ideals and even more in keeping with all the critical promises made at every campaign stop.
Other critical campaign promises that can be easily recalled were:
i. The prioritization of Education for the children of the poor.
ii. General improvements in Health Care service.
iii. Provision of critical infrastructure like Roads.
iv. Development of Agriculture, Livestock and Agribusiness as the mainstay of the State’s economy.
v. Civil Service Reform to meet up with international best practices.
vi. Electrification and opening up of rural communities through good road network.
These were the pillars upon which our campaign promises were hinged. They were the very ingredients of our engagements with you. While the demand to deliver on these pillars is your rights on me, the ability to deliver on them is an obligation, on my part, to you.
This is the definition of our ‘Covenant’. The crux of the social contract that binds us together.
It is in keeping faith with this obligation that we set out at the inception with a crop of people-centric policies that impacted directly on the lives of the people with the vision clearly spelt out in short and long term programs summed up as our“11-point Agenda”.
Some of the key issues in the development agenda sounded ambitious especially to skeptics. I have been bombarded by series of calls, surprisingly even from friends of the government who had cause to counsel that we were biting more than we can chew. To the antagonist of the government, these were outright impossibilities because they had the opportunity to deliver on them but failed to do so. We were deliberate about them and damn too committed to delivery that we refuse to concede any inch to failure. We are indeed certain that, with faith in God and a supportive citizenry we can move mountains. One fact is that every issue on the list of our 11 point is doable.
Due to the teething challenges that are largely the result of bad governance, that have destroyed our economy, by the immediate past administration, we might not have been able to meet up with our initial timelines but none would be left unachieved. This is more than a promise. It is a deal.
Fellow citizens, while we race against time to deliver on our promises, I want to place on your table our modest scorecard in the last one year. These milestones provide an inkling to our readiness to deliver and prepare your minds to hope for more while trusting us for the next three years.
One of our very first challenge as a Government was to confront the issue of pervasive insecurity in the State head-on.
We commissioned a security research and summoned a security summit in the State. These culminated into the redesign of the security architecture of the State which gave birth to the revamped joint security taskforce codenamed “Operation Farauta”.
To support their logistics for swift operations, we purchased and donated 60 Hilux vans to the taskforce.
The result has not only been phenomenal but impactful. Armed Robbery, Kidnapping and the notorious Urban criminals menace, which were hitherto the order of the day have been brought down to the barest minimum.
We have been giving resources and attention to the Security Forces in order to strengthen the war against insurgency in the northern part of the State. We also made provisions for the payment of allowances to Vigilantes sacrificing their lives in the frontlines.
The State was at a crossroad in terms of food security at the advent of this Government, such that farming communities were forced out of their ancestral homes. We are fast overcoming that and Adamawa State will soon boast of a bumper harvest as farmers are returning back to their ancestral homes and many IDP camps in the State are permanently closed down after months of sojourn in unfamiliar terrains.
Most significantly, the constant Farmer/Herder crisis has been reduced to the barest minimum notwithstanding the recent communal clashes in Numan and Lamurde Local Government Areas after a year of peaceful co-existence, and the pocket of attacks by miscreants in the urban centres which the police is tackling.
2. Human Capital Development:
Human capital is the stockof knowledge. In the development of human capital, we have made the following our top priorities.
Education: We have re-engineered the process of receiving or giving systematic instruction in schools through proper planning and execution. Government has made basic education free and compulsory for Primary School and Junior Secondary School students. Government has also, for the first time in many years, paid examination fees for students who will sit for WAEC, NABTEB, NBAIS and NECO. With this assistance, Adamawa State is able to present a total of over 27,894 students for external exams, all paid for. This is a feat last attained in 2007.
Government has ensured the payment of UBEC matching grants from 2016-2020 and access over 10 Billion to facilitate the construction and rehabilitation of 5000 classrooms across the State, Most which have been completed so far.
Our Government also reintroduced the abandoned school feeding for boarding students. Our immediate predecessors have almost jettisoned feeding of our wards in the boarding schools. We made it a priority that our boarding houses enjoy a daily three square meal of balanced diet to make their learning environment conducive and healthy.
In our bid to harness partnership opportunities for the State, we have keyed into the BESDA initiative, a world bank funded program to reduce the number of out of school children.
The Government has also sponsored School-on-Air during the COVID-19 pandemic and the evacuation of Almajiris back to their home States and uniting them with their parents.
Government has also engaged consultants to map out requirements for the renovation of existing Secondary Schools and construction of new ones (one in each of the three Senatorial zones) in the State.
After almost a decade of non-payments of scholarships to students of higher institutions despite the fact that they were made to purchase forms multiple times, we made a promise and ensured payments directly into the accounts of the students.
This Government facilitated the clearance and transportation of medical equipment rotting away at the ports for years.
There has been a total overhaul of the Specialist Hospital, Yola which is ongoing, while Adamawa State remains one of the first States that prepared for the COVID-19 pandemic with all necessary equipment and precautions well before it came into the State.
We have also focused on Staff training, delivery and development of infrastructure such as the construction of five new Health Post, five newly constructed Primary Health Care Clinics and completely renovated ten others throughout the State.
Others also include ongoing renovation of seven primary Health Care Clinics, Staff Quarters at Maiha Cottage Hospital, renovation of two Secondary Health facilities, and the procurement of two Standard Modern Incinerators for Yola Specialist Hospital and Jada General Hospital, not to mention the regular purchase of drugs and Staff training.
A complete assessment of the General Hospitals in Mubi, Numan and Ganye, Cottage Hospital of Song, Guyuk and Fufore has been undertaken for complete renovation while a Sixty-Bed Cottage Hospital is to be built in Shelleng, Lamurde, Gombi, and Sangere Futy to ease access to Health Care for our Citizens.
Agriculture and Livestock
The State Government is currently working on an Agricultural Revolution Master Plan to boost IGR, create employment and food sufficiency. The bedrock of this master plan will be the development of a holistic agribusiness which will address the agricultural value chain from the farm gate to our factories and dining tables.
Works, Energy and Infrastructural Development.
Government is leveraging on the opportunity presented by the World Bank funded RAMP2 project to open up our rural areas by providing rural access roads.
We have provided the necessary counterpart funding and at the moment over 340 kilometers of road construction has been awarded and is ongoing across the 21 LGA of the State.
Even Local Governments are now embarking on road constructions because of the total control of their funds.
Government is completing and will soon commission the electrification of Toungo Local Government Area after almost 3 decades without power.
After 6 years without electricity as a result of destruction by insurgents, our Government completed the electrification of Madagali and Michika and subsequent reconnection to the National Grid. Also awarded and completed is the contract for the electrification of Dumna in Guyuk Local Government Area.
Roads: We are committed to improving our urban and rural sector road infrastructure. The most glaring landmark of our immediate predecessors is the rehabilitation of the urban roads especially in Yola and Mubi. We are not only committed to completing the rehabilitation of the ones initiated by the past administration but more importantly constructing new ones across the State. We have awarded contracts for the construction of some urban roads with contractors mobilized to site and projects at appreciable stage. Most of the projects not completed by the previous administration were either completed or are ongoing.
Construction has started on Bachure Road, Jambutu and Mambilla Street within Yola. Completion of selected internal roads in the Adamawa State University, Mubi with storm water drainage totaling 5.3km is ongoing.
Other projects that our government has given priority for completion includes construction of Mubi Township Roads, Ganye Township Roads, asphalting of Song bridge and approach, Mustapha Ismail Street and link roads in Jimeta, construction of additional roads and links in Dougirei and Lekki Taba Street.
Arrangements for the implementation of the project have reached advance stage as the State Government in collaboration with Nigeria Solar Project funded by the U.K. Department for International Development (DFID) is providing solar system to supply electrical power for Health facilities in the State.
The Ministry of Works and Energy Development is also constructing an injection sub-station with associated lines and installation of six transformers at Army Barracks Road. This is an intervention project of the Niger Delta Power Holding Company/National Independent Power Project.
The State Government has purchased and installed modern water pumping machines for the State Water Board. Now the Water Board has capacity to supply water to the inhabitants of the metropolis who are connected to the water lines.
Adamawa State Government has also paid counterpart funding for water projects in Fufore and Mubi South Local Government Areas under the Water and Sanitation Rural Project.
Housing: Under the Ministry of Housing, the State Government has expended so much money on resuscitating Street Lights and is installing modern traffic lights within the State capital.
To fill in the gap in housing deficit in the State, we have created are mortgage structure in partnership with the private sector. This partnership has secured facility of 9 Billion naira to construct 2000 Housing Units in the State in two phases of 1000 unit each. The initial tranche of 4.5 Billion Naira is already in receipt and all technical feasibility and design of the initial 1000 units of houses completed. We are mobilizing to site very soon for the first phase.
Fellow citizens, since inception, this Government has focused on giving and evolving a viable democratic system in Adamawa State, as a product of the democratic process.
We have ensured and sustained adherence to explicit democratic procedures and devolution of powers particularly to the Local Government by way of conferring autonomy which is unprecedented. Today, life has been injected into our Local Governments and they are all breathing the fresh air. Our local Governments are now strengthened and empowered to properly play their grassroots governance role effectively.
At the moment, until the narrative is changed, and of course we are bent on changing it, our State is largely a civil service State. What this means is that our economy and our commerce is dependent on the income of the civil servants. It is against this background that long even before the Federal Government implemented the minimum wage, the Adamawa State Government was among the leading States to implement the minimum wage. We even went beyond the ₦30,000 to ₦32,000.
As I speak, arrangements for the Consequential Adjustment of Arrears of grade level 07 to 17 is ongoing. All these are done in good faith to motivate the workers for optimum productivity and empower the households who largely depend on these salaries.
My fellow citizens, all these achievements could not have been possible without a comprehensive blueprint to back all our objectives. Taking cognizance of this we have taken steps to shore up Internally Generated Revenue which has risen from Twenty percent to Forty percent.
The State Ministry of Finance and Budget has published the Audited Financial accounts for the Year ended 2019 in line with the State Fiscal Transparency, Accountability and Sustainability Programme.
From May 2019 to date this Administration has successfully liquidated more than Three Billion Naira (N3,000,000,000.00) Term Loan while fully paying matching grants development partners.
Today as I speak, the question to be asked is: are our rural and urban roads fixed or being fixed? Do our children enjoy free education and feeding at the Primary and Secondary Schools levels? Have we made significant progress in fighting COVID-19? Are crimes falling? Is Confidence surging? Worker’s welfare is being taken care of; businesses are booming; communities have a sense of belonging because they are involved in governance; the years of economic decay are over; gone too are the broken promises. In just one year we have changed the narrative of Adamawa’s decline and have rejected everything that draws us back as a people. We are moving forward at a pace that was unimaginable just a short while ago, and we are never ever reversing.
Fellow citizens, over the last one year, we have done so much with modesty. We have deliberately avoided noisemaking over achievements, knowing pretty well that genuine action rooted in good intentions speak louder than empty noise. It is this modesty that our antagonists and those who never wished Adamawa State well are challenging. They have resorted to using the power of unverified social media handles and unreliable online media outfits to malign us. In this age of Information superhighway, the internet has converted a lot of us into merchants of blackmail and carriers of destructive information. We must be wary of our sources of information. Our government is always open and welcoming to anyone that genuinely requires information on the business of governance in Adamawa State.
There are rules and conventions guiding information sharing and as a peoples’ government, we are committed to those conventions.
To those carriers of false information on our dealings and any other antagonist, I counsel that one year is enough a period to be out of election mood. Let’s face the business of governance and make Adamawa State a priority. This an invitation to friendship and patriotism.
To our friends and friends of Adamawa State, be rest assured that we shall continue to walk the talk.
Long Live Adamawa State.
Lon Live Federal Republic of Nigeria.