Niger State Governor Mohammed Umaru Bago has said the state is endowed with great potential that will make it a giant, but infighting and a lack of cooperation amongst its political leaders have denied it the needed prosperity.
He said he was determined to change the narrative and bring all stakeholders together, provide a verifiable networking platform, and create a harmonious working relationship with everyone that matters to build a new Niger State.
The governor stated this during a special interview with journalists shortly after a grand reception his government hosted in honour of federal and state elected and appointed sons and daughters of the state at the Idris Legbo Kutigi International Conference Centre, Minna.
He said the state was blessed with potentials in human and natural endowments that should make it a giant in the comity of Nigerian states but identified internal squabbles, a lack of synergy, cooperation, and networking amongst its political and professional leaders as panaceas to its greatness.
He promised that his government would change the status quo. "This is the only state we call home.
We're great, sleeping giants. We have 10 percent of Nigeria's landmass, huge bodies of water, four hydropower stations, are agrarian by nature, and have the highest congregation of Fulani herdsmen in the world because of our rich pastoral nature.
"Niger State is the headquarters of shea production in the world, a giant in mango production, a great giant in cashew production, and the highest producer of paddy rice in this subregion. So we think that because of a lack of understanding and networking amongst ourselves, we are unable to explore and exploit these potentials. So I have called all my brothers for all hands to be on deck irrespective of party affiliation or political lineages; let's all come back and build our home ", the governor said.
Governor Umaru Bago said his efforts were to also show their supporters that it's all about Niger State and the construction of a new state where everyone will be proud to call home.
He said he wished to see the state in the next four years trailing the blaze while others followed.
He disclosed that the gathering will be made a quarterly event as a state policy to create a better avenue to compare notes, discuss solutions to issues, appraise progress and developments made, and offer advice and suggestions on the way forward. He ordered local government chairmen in the state to replicate the efforts in their respective local governments.
The Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mohammed Idris Malagi, who spoke to journalists, said they welcomed the development and commended the governor for taking the bold step, describing it as unprecedented.
He said going forward, it now remained on the governor to walk the talk, revealing that as federal minister, he will help the administration succeed.
"I feel really great. It's a very powerful symbol he has demonstrated today, and like I said, it's necessary for all political leaders and all stakeholders to come together to ensure there's this unity of purpose we all need for development and progress to happen.
The first step his excellency has taken is indeed a powerful one, and we hope he walks his talk and ensures that this thing becomes part of his everyday life", the minister said.
On his part, the Minister of State for Agriculture and Food Security, Sen. Abdullahi Sabi, said he will ensure that the federal government's agricultural pilot programmes start in the state.
He said this was because Niger State was a classical state with all the natural endowments that the nation needed to pursue its ambitious programme for food security. He revealed that the commitment of the governor to open a new chapter for the state was unblemished, noting that the state will gain tremendously from the federal government's agricultural programmes.
The Bida Local Government Palliative Committee has been commended for sticking to the template and having a seamless distribution of the food items accordingly.
Hon. Abdulmajid Danlami Yaman, a former PDP councillor who represented Bariki ward in Bida, said he was impressed with the way the team leader, Hon. Suleiman Umar, the Commissioner of Works and Infrastructural Development, exhibited leadership quality. Hon. Yaman disclosed this yesterday at Bida Town Hall, where the Committee flagged off the distribution of the palliative for the Bariki Ward.
He said the level of transparency displayed by the committee was highly commendable, as all the ward committee members were carried along.
In his address, the team lead, Hon. Suleiman Umar, said a monitoring committee was set up at the local government level to supervise the activities of the unit committee members.
He pleaded for the total cooperation and understanding of the people of Bida, disclosing that no man can share anything with the people in society perfectly; however, their target was that the beneficiaries should be more than those who might not be so lucky.
The Commissioner of Works and Infrastructural Development disclosed that the palliative was meant to cushion the effect of the fuel subsidy removal temporarily, especially for the most downtrodden in society, adding that, however, the government of Governor Mohammed Umaru Bago was designing a programme that would enable the citizens to feed themselves.
He said the state government was already taking steps such as the Bida Ring Road, Minna township road projects, conversion of the Shiroro Hotel to the IBBU Teaching Hospital project, redevelopment of Three Arms Zone, and others to create job opportunities for our teeming youth roaming around the corners of the state.
Hon. Suleiman then warned the various committees not to shortchange the template given to them as a comprehensive report would be filed after the exercise.
In his goodwill message, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Special Duties, Dr. Murtala Bagana, admonished the unit committee members to distribute the items with the fear of Allah, as they would be asked to account for their deeds.
He said that the committee's priority was to ensure the food items got to targeted beneficiaries, adding that widows, the physically challenged, and the less privileged must be carried along.
Hon. Sadiq Umar, a former member of the Niger State House Assembly who represented the Bida South constituency, pleaded with the beneficiaries to give their maximum support and cooperation to the sharing committee when they ask for their details, such as phone numbers, as the monitoring committee or even Governor Bago may decide to call them to inquire about them.
Five kg of rice and four wraps of spaghetti were given to the beneficiaries, and at the time of filing this report, all 14 wards in Bida had a successful flagged-off ceremony.