BEING THE INAUGURATION ADDRESS OF HIS EXCELLENCY, HON. UMAR MOHAMMED BAGO ON THE OCCASION OF HIS SWEARING-IN AS THE EXECUTIVE GOVERNOR OF NIGER STATE, AT THE TRADE FAIR COMPLEX, MINNA ON MAY 29, 2023.
My fellow Nigerlites.
I am extremely humbled and grateful to ALLAH (SWT) for making today possible; this is a day that will resonate in my mind as the beginning of a new chapter in the history of a New Niger State. I am grateful to all the people of Niger State for entrusting me and my Deputy, Comrade Yakubu Garba with the mandate to serve you for four years in the first instance, with effect from this historic day, Monday, 29th May, 2023.
Let me begin by assuring all Nigerlites that your overwhelming support and admiration of our Party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) throughout the campaigns and your votes during the 2023 general elections will not be taken for granted, as we are here to serve you, and I will be a governor for all the citizens of Niger State, irrespective of religious, ethnic, socio-economic backgrounds and political affiliations.
I stand before you today, not only as your governor but also as a team leader in the collective task of rebuilding our dear State and laying the strong foundation for good governance. This requires that we remain focused and committed to our shared values and development aspirations. In doing so, we must be mindful of the existing development gaps, the challenges and the sacrifices needed from all of us to build New Niger State. Inshaa Allahu.
I declare before you today with humility and a deep sense of responsibility that the confidence reposed in us is not misplaced and we shall work responsibly with our team towards repositioning our state for greatness. I have no doubt that by the special grace of God and with your cooperation, we shall achieve remarkable milestones beyond expectations (Inshaa Allahu).
We shall be dutiful and diligent in implementing policies, programmes and projects that will add value to the lives of the people. We will be ambitious in setting our goals, taking into account the deficit in our development. While we appreciate the fact that ours is a state with abundant resources, we must act differently to maximize our potentials. In otherwords, it can not be business as usual, rather it should be business unusual for the greater good of all. Our goal is simple and clear, to serve the people of Niger State with fear of God.
We have taken serious notes of all submissionsthe from different quarters.
We sincerely appreciate the enthusiasm and support of our Party by the people. We shall create an enabling environment for everyone to feel the positive impact of the policies our government.
We assure you that Transparency, Accountability and Fiscal Discipline shall be our watchwords because we know the importance. We understand the expectations of the people from but we have no doubt in our capacity to deliver, we have chosen to do things differently, Insha Allah. We must be prepared to leave our comfort zones if things must get better.
Let me quote the iconic founder of Singapore, Lee Kuan Yew: “A nation is great not by its size alone. It is the will, the cohesion, the stamina, the discipline of its people and the quality of their leaders which ensure it an honorable place in history.”
Let me at this juncture reiterate to Nigerlites the pillars of our campaign promises and our policy initiatives, which will be the fulcrum of the development agenda of our administration. In other words, we shall pay serious attention to the following strategic areas:
The most compelling task ahead of us is to tackle insecurity with the intensity and urgency it deserves. Security is a serious matter as enshrined in our Constitution Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) that the primary purpose of government issecurity and welfare of citizens. Therefore, we shall boldly defend that constitutional tenet and ensure that security will be given premium in our administration. Therefore, we shall collaborate effectively with security agencies at the national and sub-national levels to combat crime and ensure safety of lives and property throughout our State and beyond.
EDUCATION, SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
My fellow Nigerlites, our administration will pay adequate attention to the development of education, science and technology as the backbone of our aspirations. We will therefore make education the centre-piece of our development agenda. Our educational policies will focus on revamping the sector toprovide qualitative, affordable and accessible education, including special interest in the girl-child.
We shall also address the challenges of basic education and make it free and compulsory as enshrined in the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) Act. We will also bring innovative ideas on how best to reposition our secondary schools especially the Science and Technical Schools in the state with the aim of revamping technical and vocational education in public schools to check the rising unemployment amongst the youth. We also have a special interest in revamping our tertiary educational institutions.
We are an agrarian state, sitting on 76, 363km2 of land and large water bodies of water for irrigation. Our agricultural policies and interventions will be geared towards improving the value chain in agricultural development to boost agricultural productivity crops, livestock and fishery for wealth creation and employment.
Fellow Nigerlites, we believe that if we improve on our ease of doing business and provide favourable incentives to existing businesses and to attract new investors, Niger State has all it takes to become the business destination of choice. We shall vigorously and responsibly pursue all counterpart engagement opportunities with various development partners.
Invited guests, ladies and gentlemen, in our deliberate efforts to harness and develop our potentials in tourism, we have a well-articulated tourism master plan for the State. We have identified some local government areas, districts, towns and villages that will be designated as tourism centres. We will make Niger State the country’s tourism destination with ongoing efforts and investments in Gurara Water Falls, Shagunu Beach Resort among others.
Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, the foregoing represents the framework of our development agenda for the first tenure. That is not to say that attention will not be paid to the other critical sectors. I don’t have to bore you with the details of what we intend to do; however, it suffices to mention even briefly that, among others, the civil service remain the engine room of government and will witness reforms that will engender professionalism, productivity and effective service delivery. We are determined to transform the civil service through capacity building, and rewards and punishment system.
Fellow Nigerlites, a lot needs to be done for our health sector. We shall invest in the health sector to enhance effective, efficient, accessible and affordable healthcare delivery in the State. We will look critically into the immediate challenges of basic primary healthcare delivery and the General hospitals across the state; we will also address immediately the issue of inadequate manpower in our primary and secondary health facilities in the State.
We shall mainstream Public Private Partnership (PPP) into our infrastructural development programme to enable us attain quantum leap in the provision housing, roads, railway, aviation. It is also gratifying to note that deliberate efforts will be made to revive the State’s Urban & Rural Development Master Plans, in which priority attention will be given to the provision of potable drinking water as well as the provision of electricity through renewable energy to communities in desperate needs in the State.
We will partner with the Federal Ministry of Transport to construct a standard gauge rail-track between Minna and Abuja. During this period also, we will pursue the activation and viability of Baro Port for it economic importance to the nation.
EXECUTIVE, LEGISLATURE AND JUDICIARY & TRADITIONAL INSTITUTION
Fellow Nigerlites, as we open a glorious new chapter in the history of our State we shall strengthen the relationship within the three arms of government. We also understand the role of our traditional institution as the custodians of our cultural values and norms. As such, we shall bring them into governance.
Dear Nigerlites, it is unfortunate that despite our endowment, we are battling with poverty and economic malaise and perpetual dependance on Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC).
To our development partners, we acknowledge your various contributions in the state. We are aware of all existing partnerships and obligations between the Government of Niger State and your good services. We shall sustain and honour our obligation therein.
LOCAL GOVERNMENT ADMINISTRATION
We shall ensure accountability and transparency in local government administration. We will review the challenges of Ward Development Initiative and strengthen the framework for efficiency at the micro level so that people can participate in the development of their communities.
WOMEN AND YOUTH DEVELOPMENT
Fellow Nigerlites, our administration’s determination to create a better future for the youths and women will be unwavering; we will create opportunities for gainful employment for them within the state and beyond. I am confident as always that the engagement of our women and youth in skills acquisition and skills will create the desired multiplier effects to change the socio economic our women and youth.
We will mobilise our local resources to reduce poverty and ensure the attainment of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) We will also partner with Non Governmental Organizations and Cooperate bodies through their social responsibility in building empowerment capacity of women and youths.
Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, from the foregoing, we have made ourselves clear about our social contract and shared vision for a New Niger State. I can assure you that from the Transition Committee Reports and Roadmap that I received a few days ago are comprehensive and robust enough to guide our successful take-off.
Permit me therefore, to appreciate my predecessor for overseeing a seamless and peaceful transition to the new administration. Similarly, I extend my sincere gratitude to the outstanding men and women who worked in the transition committee over the past six weeks under the distinguished Chairmanship of Dr. Suleyman A. Ndanusa, OON and his Co-Chairs, Engr Mustafa Bello, FNSE and Comrade Yakubu Garba for a job well done.
We will carefully study the report and diligently execute the recommendations therein as we promise to be transparent, accountable and methodical in our approach the issues while evolving meaningful and practical solutions capable of propelling economic growth and shared prosperity.
Ladies and gentlemen, this address will be incomplete without special tribute to the following great people who have significantly impacted my life:
- My father, Late Alhaji Mohammed Techno (Baraden Nupe) and my dear mother, Late Hajiya Aisha Mohammed. May their souls rest in Aljana Fridausi. Aameen Thumma Aameen;
- Former President, Gen. Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida, GCFR;
- Former Head of State, Gen. Abdulsalami Alhaji Abubakar, GCFR;
- My predecessor, the outgoing Governor, Alhaji Abubakar Sani Bello and our outgoing Deputy Governor, Alhaji Ahmed Mohammed Ketso;
- The Deputy Governor, my confidant and loyal compatriot, Comrade Yakubu Garba;
- Former Governors, HRH Mallam Awwal Ibrahim, late Dr. Musa Inuwa, my late uncle, Engr. Abdulkadir Abdullahi Kure, and Dr.Muazu Babangida Aliyu, CON; and indeed all former Military Administrators who served in the state
- HRH Alhaji Dr Yahaya Abubakar, CFR, Chairman, Niger State Traditional Council and Coordinating Chairman, National Traditional Council of Nigeria and all the traditional and religious leaders in Niger State;
- Members of National and State Assemblies;
- My senior brother and fellow contestant, Alhaji Isah Liman Kantigi of the PDP for his exemplary sportsmanship with his symbolic phone call in the wake of my victory;
- Members of my campaign team, inauguration committee and the entire members of the National and State Working Committees of our great party, the All Progressive Congress (APC);
- To my dear wife Hajiya Fatima Mohammed Bago and our amiable children; Marwan, Aisha and Yazid, my siblings, my nuclear and extended families, friends and well-wishers across the country and beyond, and
- You, the electorates, our employers, as well as all those who have one way or the other contributed to see me standing here today. May Allah (SWT) reward you all.
Let me also use this occasion to, once again, congratulate the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, His Excellency, Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu, GCFR; the Vice President, His Excellency, Senator Kashim Shettima, GCON and all Governors inaugurated today. There is no doubt that we are all on the verge of history with a new covenant with the people of Nigeria, and we must live up to their expectations by serving them selflessly. This may be the best opportunity for us to make the much-needed difference in the lives of our people, who are earnestly yearning for security and development.
I call on all Nigerians to rally round and support the President, the Vice President and all elected officials in our collective resolve to build a new prosperous and united country. We have a date with destiny to banish poverty, ignorance, diseases, corruption and surmount the hydra-headed insecurity in all ramifications.
Finally, it is important at this juncture to commend the Independent National Electoral Commission for its commitment to ensuring that our democratic values are deepened and strengthened through the electoral process.
Let me conclude with the quote of Abraham Lincoln’s second inaugural address in 1865: “With malice towards none, with charity for all”.
Thank you for your kind attention.
H.E. Hon. Umar Mohammed Bago,
Governor, Niger State.