By Wole Mosadomi , Minna
When I took over in 2007, we took agriculture as our priority and we were doing all we can at a point as we encouraged every farmer to grow more but we discovered that the major problem was the problem of transportation of their farm produce to the market as a result of bad roads and we thought the best way to go about it was to purchase Heavy duty equipment to open the roads to facilitate their goods.â€
That was the declaration of governor of Niger State, Dr. Muâ€™azu Babangida Aliyu on what necessitated the purchase of seventy five-heavy duty equipments to the twenty five-local government Councils in the state.
In 2007 when he took over the mantle of leadership, the governor made a public declaration of transforming the state especially through the rural areas to an enviable one and he particularly anchored this on vision 3:2020 which simply means making the state one of the top three economics and developed state in the country in the year 2020.
One of his main targets of accomplishing this dream were through Agriculture. His administration immediately purchased tractors and distributed to the various Councils and to different co-operative societies to enhance their efforts in food production.
Knowing fully well the future bumper harvest expected from these areas and the likely problem of transporting the produce to the market, the governor initiated the purchase of Heavy duty equipment to open up the rural roads.
On Monday 24th of May, the promise was fulfilled with the launching and distribution of twenty-five bulldozers, twenty-five graders and twenty five-wheel loaders for all the twenty local government areas of the state. Invariably, each of the local government went back home with three of the Heavy duty equipment comprising of one bulldozer, one grader and one wheel loader.
Addressing the mammoth crowed at the occasion, the governor, Dr. Muâ€™azu Babangida Aliyu reminded the Chairmen on the need to take the equipments like their personal property by making maintenance culture their watchword.
He observed that if government properties have been maintained in the past, attention would have been given to other areas of our need adding that a situation where governments come to start from the scratch at the assumption of duty should be discouraged.
The Chief Servant pointed out that besides the local government roads which should be opened up, the ten kilometer roads which have already been mandated to be completed across each of the Councils should be completed within the next six months.
He directed that contract of the roads already awarded should be properly reviewed and monitored and that the chairmen in collaboration with the ministry of local government should not hesitate to revoke projects poorly executed.
The governor reminded the chairmen and other stakeholders that the state will not be able to take any other bond until the N6b taken is exhausted and adequately accounted for saying, â€œthe era of sharing government money and not executing the projects is over and will never come back to the state again.
He reminded the custodians of the equipment of the rules guiding the use of government vehicles pointing out that they should be strictly used to open up the rural roads to give room for easy transportation of the people especially their farm produce to the market and thus boosting food production.
The state commissioner for local government and chieftaincy Affairs, Barrister Abdullahi Bawa Wuse in his speech explained further that the rationale for the purchase of the equipment is to effectively equip the local government with road construction equipments so that the rural areas can be opened up for increased economic activities.
â€œThe rural areas are he the closet to the people in terms of space and experience and the people on the immediate infrastructural provisions within their vicinities to advance their personal and economic fortunes which also make the idea of democracy meaningful to them, â€œthe commissioner stressed.
He said discussions have also reached an advance level with the experts to open up three workshops along zonal basis. Workshop in Borgu to take care of the distance of that area to the other zones.
Minister of works, Senator Sanusi Daggash in his speech before commissioning the machines also preached the gospel of maintenance which he said is one of the problems the country is facing.
He commended the state governor, Dr. Babangida Aliyu for his initiative and called on him not to relent describing the state as very â€œspecial and importantâ€ most especially because of its proximity to Abuja, the federal capital.
According to him, â€œthis state is very special and important meaning that whatever you do, whatever strategy, whatever project and whatever programme that you embark upon, there is a spillover effect at the federal capital that some people who are not your indigenes will continue to benefit weather in terms of education, health, housing, roads, rural electrification among others.â€
Senator Daggash said the federal government is mindful of the role being played by the state of governing more than just a state within the limit of Niger State saying, â€œwe are grateful for this spill over effect that has empowered and enhanced the living condition of the people within the federal capital territory.
The Minister pointed out that the idea of distribution of the equipment apart from opening up the rural areas will in no small way boost food production in the country when farm produce are easily transported to the cities and thus contributing toward the achievement of one of the seven point agenda of the federal government which is achieving food security for the nation.