Benue State Governor-elect, Hyacinth Alia, met with the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), at the Presidential Villa Abuja on Wednesday.
After a closed-door meeting with the president, Alia expressed his concern about the state of the Benue State civil service, which he described as being in a state of near-collapse and in Intensive Care Unit.
Alia acknowledged that the state owes a backlog of salaries, pensions, and gratuities, and he hopes to remain focused and tackle the myriad of issues on his desk when he takes over office on May 29.
He stated that the people of Benue want progress and development, and there is a lot that needs to be put on track for things to work.
The governor-elect emphasized the need to focus on agriculture to upgrade it, stating that Benue State is an agrarian zone and is very capable of feeding the entire nation.
He noted that the life of the civil service in the state is near collapse, and he plans to infuse life into it and keep it moving.
When asked if he would probe his predecessor against the backdrop of his letter to the Benue Investment Property Company, warning them of financial transactions with the incumbent governor, Alia said he hasn’t looked at the books and wouldn’t want to be preemptive. Once he is sworn in, he intends to focus on progress and development in the state.
In his words; “I haven’t looked at the books, so I wouldn’t want to be quite preemptive. Once I’m sworn in, I know that what the good people of Benue want is progress and development.
”And there’s so much that we need to put on track for things to work. Benue state is an agrarian zone and so we must focus on agriculture and upgrade it.
“Benue is very capable of feeding the whole nation, so we are not just the food basket of the nation by name and I am hoping that we will up our game in agriculture and take care of the rest as well.
“It is sad that the life of civil service in the state is near collapse, it’s in the ICU, so I just need to get in there and infuse life in it and keep it moving.
”We have a lot of backlog of unpaid salaries, pensions, and gratuities. So, already I got much on the desk to keep a good focus on and I remain hopeful that I am going to do just that.”
The governor-elect commended President Buhari for making a firm decision for the elections to take place. On the animosity that pervades the state over the anti-grazing law, Alia stated that the Benue people are very hospitable and friendly, and he plans to correct any errors and work for the people.
He said; “One thing must remain clear, when you say that the atmosphere was quite tensed, let it be on record that the Benue people are very hospital people.
”We are very friendly people and over the ages, we’ve lived all cultures and different people. And so if some mishap had happened in the last eight years, thank God the eight years has expired.
“I want everyone to feel that Benue is a home for everyone. Remember, before I am stepping in there as a governor, our history reveals that we have all cultures in Benue and so it is, we have all cultures in Nigeria in Benue.
”So I believe my time will not be any different. If there were some errors, I am coming to correct them.
”But I know for sure we are hospitable, we are friendly and the Benue State Assembly is also a knowledgeable Assembly.
”So the 10th Assembly is going to work for the people and do the work of the people. If by chance anybody perceived us to be a hostile state, please we are a renewed hope of Benue, a hospitable, friendly, law and order people.
”So, we are all welcome to Benue as we move in there.”
Alia emphasized that Benue State is a renewed hope of Benue, a hospitable, friendly, law, and order people, and all are welcome to Benue as they move in there.