By Emmanuel Awari-Jalingo
The newly sworn in governor of Taraba State, Lt. Col. Kefas Agbu (Rtd), has appealed to Tarabans to put aside their differences and come together for the development of the state.
He stated this during his inaugural speech at the Jolly Nyame stadium, Jalingo, yesterday, May 29, 2023.
“Fellow Tarabans, today, I stand on the podium of history with a sacred pledge to God and the good people of Taraba State that as I accept the mantle of leadership entrusted upon me by the people of our dear State.”
He said that he is conscious of the enormous challenges and responsibilities ahead of him and that he will work day and night with deep sense of purpose to be a servant to all.
“Permit me to use this occasion to salute the founding fathers of our dear state, all the past Federal Legislators, Federal Ministers, Administrators and Governors of Taraba State as well as everyone who have contributed in one way or the other to the growth, stability and progress of our state in the last 32 years.
“I equally salute our fallen heroes both at the national and state levels for the great sacrifices they have made to have a country and a state to call our own.
According to him, he is very much aware of the fact that his responsibility as the Governor and Chief Security Officer of Taraba State entails meeting the legitimate expectations of our people.
“Therefore, I promise that those expectations of the workers, traders, artisans, farmers, business owners, students, pensioners, traditional and religious leaders and indeed all residents of Taraba State will be met by the grace of God and with the cooperation of everyone.
Governor Agbu said that his administration will demonstrate a high sense of urgency, transparency, justice and innovation to tackle and solve the problems of welfare, Insecurity, poverty, illiteracy, disease, and poor infrastructure in Taraba State.
“Your Governor will be a people’s Governor. I will be accessible, responsive, consultative and proactive in handling small and big matters in the governance of the State.
“I know that as a product of the collective will of Tarabans, there is a heavy weight of history on my shoulders and I accept the urgency of your expectations, the depth of your aspirations and your conviction in me to build a better State.
He pointed out that he will work based on the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) five point agenda which includes: welfare of workers and Pensioners, Boosting the state’s economy and Home-grown infrastructure policy. Others are, People-focused policy on education, affordable Health Care, Security and Social Welfare and Agro-Based Industrialisation for Wealth and Job Creation, adding that detailed programme of action will soon be unveiled on each of these 5-point agenda.
“Let me quickly give you some insights into our policy direction. It is disheartening to see our State at the bottom of the national educational ratings especially in public primary and Secondary schools examination performance, this will be reviewed.
“My administration will as a matter of urgency, commence a reform to salvage the Taraba State University from collapsing and to focus on improvement of learning environment in all Institutions of Higher learning in Taraba State.
” For Basic Education, we will prioritise in-service training and welfare of teachers, enhancement of school environment, entrenchment of discipline in the school system as well as involvement of the Parents-Teachers Association in our school administration system..
He describe Taraba as an agrarian state with lots of potentials.
“We will regard as critical, the need to boost wealth creation, job opportunities and food security through innovative agricultural reforms covering all the agricultural value chains.
Aside the introduction of modern agricultural practices, we will shift attention to agriculture for export to take advantage of global markets.
“While we target agriculture export earnings, we will establish modern farmers’ markets where producers and off takers can transact businesses..
He said that in his desire to diversify Taraba economy, his administration will target the tourism sector to boost the state GDP and create new jobs, adding that deliberate efforts will be channeled to develop the Tourism potentials of the Mambila Plateau, Nwiyo Fishing Ponds and several other sites in Taraba State.
He described Women and Youths as important segments in his administration’s development programme.
“I will work hand in hand with Youth Organisations in Taraba State to produce an impressive blueprint for youth development. I planned to ensure speedy implementation of their recommendations. More importantly, let me assure our women that our administration will be gender – sensitive in all appointments.
He pointed out that the health sector in Taraba State is in need of urgent attention.
“Our government will give premium attention to improvement of the Primary Healthcare services. We will improve the working conditions of health workers and expand the coverage of our health insurance scheme. We plan to establish a standard Diagnostic Centre using the Public Private Partnership model. We shall revive and expand the Kidney Centre at the Specialist Hospital, Jalingo.
According to him, in line with campaign manifesto, his government will ensure local government autonomy in line with the provisions of the Nigeria constitution.
“We will restore the lost glory of our local governments in order to make them more responsive to the needs of the people at the grassroots. All policies that are not favourable to the growth of effective local government administration will be reviewed in accordance with the law..
“My administration will restore the integrity of the civil service which has been bastardised through favouritism and political considerations. We will give the civil service a better orientation with a view to restoring its professionalism.
“In doing this, we will be fair and firm as we act only in pursuance of public interest and public service rule.
He assure labour unions in the state of his administration’s willingness to protect workers interest and promote their welfare at all times.
“We will be a labour friendly government.
On Security, he said that he will embark on a security sector reform that will target crime prevention, detection, neighbourhood policing and better synergy among security agencies..
“The Taraba Marshal will be revived and be strengthened while our administration will ensure operational linkage between local hunters and Taraba Marshal. A “Know Your Neighbour” security initiative will be implemented.
“By the grace of God, and very soon, Taraba will return to its old nature of being a haven of peace.
He thanked the national leadership of the party, the People’s Democratic Party, the Former Chairman, His Excellency Sen. Iyorchia Ayu, Acting Chairman, Umar Damagum and his National Working Committee for their immeasurable support.
“I also thanked our Presidential candidate during the February Presidential Elections, His Excellency Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, GCON, Vice Presidential candidate His Excellency Sen. Ifeanyi Okowa, CON, all PDP state Governors, the Minority caucuses of the Senate, House of Representatives and Taraba State House of Assembly and other party stakeholders who worked so hard for the victory of our party.
“Let me also thank the Working Committee of the State PDP and all party leaders in the 16 Local Government and Development Areas of Taraba State. I thank you for your steadfastness, loyalty and commitment to the ideals which the People’s Democratic Party represents.
He appreciated the Nigerian Judiciary and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for their uprightness, neutrality, professionalism and courage in protecting our democracy without fear or favour.
He also commended security agencies for providing a peaceful and conducive atmosphere before, during and after the electoral process.
“I extend my thanks to party men and women, friends, associates, supporters across party lines, the Media and the courageous Taraba voters who stood resolutely to defend this mandate. I am most sincerely grateful.
He disclose that he have a grand vision of a new Taraba State. But I cannot do it alone.
“I therefore seek the support and cooperation of everyone to make this happen.
I hereby extend a hand of fellowship to the other arms of Government, the Legislature and the Judiciary.
“I call on all political parties to unite in the best interest of our dear state.
“Election is over. Now is the time for governance. Tarabans should therefore feel free to approach us with fresh ideas in line with our manifesto.
“For the purpose of emphasis, I will be a Governor for all Taraba people regardless of differences in language, faith, political affiliation or any other considerations.
Welcome to a new Taraba State, Nature’s Gift to the Nation.
He thanked Retired General Theophilus Yakubu Danjuma for his mentorship. He also thanked his predecessor Darius Dickson Ishaku who stirred the ship of the state for the past eight years.
The Inauguration ceremony featured the presentation of the instruments of governance by the former governor Darius Dickson Ishaku and a colourful parade by Men of the Nigeria Police Force, Nigeria Immigration Service, Road Safely Corp and Taraba Marshall led by District Superintendent of Police, Victor Zaro.
The oath of office was administered on the new governor, Kefas Agbu and his Deputy, Aminu Alkali by the State Acting Chief Judge, Phillibus Agya.
Speaking shortly, Elder Jadiel Balanko said that the inauguration of Agbu Kefas as the governor of Taraba State is a huge success.
Balanko encouraged Tarabans to accord the needed supports to the new governor of the state for better development.
Elder Jediel Balanko, who was one time chairman of TSBS governing board appealed to the new governor to improve the standard of the TSBS stations both in Jalingo, Wukari Bali, and Gembu.
He noted that the stations equipment were obsolete and needed morden equipments to meet up with the demand of the day.