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FULL TEXT OF SPEECH DELIVERED BY THE EXECUTIVE GOVERNOROF TARABA

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FULL TEXT OF SPEECH DELIVERED BY THE EXECUTIVE GOVERNOROF TARABA Powered By Docstoc
					  FULL TEXT OF SPEECH DELIVERED BY THE EXECUTIVE
    GOVERNOR OF TARABA STATE, HIS EXECELLENCY
     PHARM. DANBABA D. SUNTAI ON THE OCCASION
       OF THE DEMOCRACY DAY AND ONE YEAR
             IN OFFICE ON 29TH MAY, 2008.

FELLOW TARABANS,

Today is an important day in the lives of Nigerians and indeed
Tarabans. It is a critical stage in the struggle for the enthronement
of democracy in our fatherland. Nigeria like most countries of
Africa had a post-colonial experience of political instability on
account of military intervention in politics that deprive its people
basic human rights. In Nigeria periodic elections that allow citizens
to make informed decisions about who governs them, freedom of
Association and expression, and democratic institutions that enable
citizens to hold leaders accountable were alien to military rule.

Fellow compatriots about this time last year the people of Taraba
State demonstrated rare and exemplary faith in democracy, and
against all odds, including the vagaries of weather, by going to the
polls to elect us and confer on us the legitimacy to take critical
decisions on their behalf. We are mindful of the fact that our
people made these sacrifice with the conviction that we shall inturn
provide quality leadership that has the capacity to harness the
abundant human and natural resources in Taraba State for the
common good. Sound judgment demands that we offer our people
the account of this stewardship from time to time and ponder and
reflected at this critical stage. To my mind, 29th May is an
appropriate time to discharge our responsibility to account to our
people.

My beloved citizen of Taraba State, from the onset we saw the
possibility of progress and development only on the basis of
fundamental changes in the conduct of government business. This


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was why we packaged ahead of the April 2007 general elections a
well though-out reform agenda that formed the basis of electoral
issues of the campaigns conducted by the PEOPLE’S
DEMOCRATIC PARTY.

It was on the strength of our commitment to reforms that the
establishment of a Standing Reform Committee preceded all other
decisions in the formative stage of our government. With the
benefit of hindsight, the reform committee provided useful legal,
intellectual and procedural framework for our policies and
programs. It was this same committee that has been transformed
into the Policies, Programme and Project Implementation Unit,
largely responsible for ensuring that government programmes and
policies are faithfully implemented.

It will be recalled that one of the first policy decisions of the
present regime was the restructuring of ministries and parastatals.
We reduced the number of ministries from 20 to 12, and then to 13
with the creation of the ministry of Environment and Urban
Development. We make bold to say that the decision to restructure
ministries was a natural response to contemporary challenges and
needs of governance. I believe that this has been a rewarding
exercise.

In the preceding years the large size of government turned out to
be counter-productive with under-funded ministries performing
overlapping functions. As a matter of fact, we were then unable to
provide decent office accommodation for some ministries and
parastatals. Having reduced the number of ministries, we increased
the monthly running cost of ministries and extra-ministerial
departments from N100,000 to N500,000. Some parastatals were
granted up to N1 million as a result of their special operational
needs.



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Also, at the formative stage of this administration, the welfare and
security of our people received prompt attention. We have beaten
back the threat posed by armed robbers terrorizing the citizens at
the formative stage of this regime. We have done everything to
meet the logistics and technical equipments of security agents to
enable them combat crime effectively. It is my pledge to the people
of Taraba State that we shall remain committed to our resolve to
work towards the entrenchment of peace and security in the state.

My fellow Tarabans, it is our humble belief that true stewardship
and sacrifice to society should be recognized and rewarded. It is as
a result of this that we had to take a decision on the backlog of
allowances of public servants, including serving and retired
Permanent Secretaries. We therefore had to, in spite of the huge
financial implication of this resolve, pay up all outstanding
furniture and severance allowances of such public officers who
served our people from 1999 to date. The sum of N1.07 billion was
expended in this regard.

Fellow citizens of Taraba State, one of the major challenges this
administration was faced with on assumption of duty was the near
absence of operational vehicles for key government functionaries,
ministries and departments. We felt the urgent need to immediately
address this very important issue as it is our belief that no system
can function effectively in the absence of these very essential
working tools. Today, we are glad to state that our decision has
gone a long way in improving service delivery in our public
service. So far, government has spent about N2.69 billion in
vehicle purchases and repairs.

LABOUR MATTERS

Another issue that confronted at the on-set of this administration
was the issue of the labour force. As part of reforms by
government, we reflected on the vacuum created by the long

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duration within which no employment was done in the Taraba
State Civil Service. We discovered a disproportionate distribution
of the various categories and cadres that make for a normal
landscape of a civil service, eg, GL 8-12. We also discovered that
though no significant employment has been undertaken in the state
for over 8 years now, the wage bill of the state hardly goes down in
spite of retirements, deaths and other means by which the civil
service is depopulated. It is in realization of these that the State
Government decided to employ the services of consultants who are
putting in place a bio-metric database for staff on the payroll of the
State Government. It is expected that this exercise will help relieve
us of the burden of ‘ghost workers’ and free our financial resources
for the provision of vital infrastructural and social needs of our
people.

It is also the policy of administration that we maintain a well-
trained workforce. This we have been making efforts to achieve
through sponsorship for workshops and seminars within and
outside the country. A number of civil servants are presently in
various institutions of higher learning under the sponsorship of the
State Government.

From the inception of this administration, we had made up our
minds to maintain a good working relationship with our labour
force. This informed our prompt payment of the 12.5% salary
increase, and later the implementation of the 15% increase. We
also put in place strategies for the settlement of arrears of pensions
and gratuity. So far, we have been able to pay out N350 million as
settlement of outstanding gratuities and pension arrears.

On the inception of this administration, we resolved that we must
foster close relationship with Federal and multi-lateral agencies
who are vital development partners. I had to undertake series of
visits to such agencies and also urge members of my cabinet to
maintain close contacts with them. We are pleased that these

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efforts have started yielding positive results. Early this year,
Taraba State ranked second out of the 19 states that applied and
scaled through the hurdles of the Millelium Development Goals
conditional grants. We secured the sum of N1.8 billion under this
Grant. Already, the people of Taraba State have started feeling the
impact of this gesture. Also, the state is presently among the four
pioneer states in the country that will kick-start the Community
Social Development Programme (CSDP).

Fellow Tarabans, permit me at this juncture to give a brief
breakdown of our efforts in key sectors of our socio-economic
development.

WATER

Within the framework of our reform agenda, government has
achieved sustainable water supply in water stations which hitherto
had epileptic water supply. This it did by not only adding but
ensuring steady release of funds meant for operational cost at Jen,
Lau, Ibi/Wukari and Gembu. In addition to the resuscitation of thee
Lau, Jen and Gembu water schemes, Government approved and
released the sum of about N370 million for the expansion of water
supply in Jalingo. Also, Government paid off the sum of N106
million for the completion of the water projects in Zing and N47
million for the completion of the Ibi/Wukari water scheme. You
would also remember that on the inception of this administration,
Government drilled 150 hand pump and 12 motorized boreholes
across the state.

HEALTH

Other sectors have also experienced the impact of our reforms. In
the health sectors, appreciable progress has been achieved in the
efforts to put the Jalingo Specialist Hospital on its footing;
recruitment of personnel to man all departments, final installation

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of facilities, procurement of consumables and a host of other
requirements have been put in place, resulting in the
commencement of operations. Awards of contracts for the
complete renovation of the Gembu General Hospital and the
continued funding for the completion of the new Takum General
Hospital attest to our commitment to improved healthcare delivery
for our people. So far, about N373.5 million has been spent on
these projects by this administration.

WORKS, TRANSPORT AND HOUSING

In our commitment to the completion of all on-going projects, we
have continued work on the 21 township roads. The Jalingo Sport
Complex is nearing completion while the Airport is also at an
advanced stage of completion. This administration has committed
the sum of N2.27 billion to the completion of the airport and N150
million for the Sport Complex. We have also awarded contracts for
the construction of Karim Lamido and Mararraba-Baissa-Abong
roads at a total cost of about N10.9 billion. Works on these roads
are in good progress.

EDUCATION

My dear Compatriots, the most important resources of any society
are its people, and if for any reason a large segment of its
population are unable to live up to its full potential on account of
lack of access to education, then the chances are that the country
will not live up to its full potentials. It is for this reason that nearly
every one agrees that governments must be involved in the
provision of education for its people. On our part, we are
committed to the provision of quality education for our people. It is
on account of this that we paid our counterpart funds under the
UBE to the tune of N500 million that enabled us draw funds to
execute the on-going projects under the state Universal Basic
Education Board in the 2006 action plan. I have directed for the

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establishment of Model Primary Schools in each of the Senatorial
zones in the state. We have also approved the sum of N1 billion for
the implementation of the 2007 and 2008 action plan under the
State Universal Basic Education Board.

Fellow Compatriots, we have also directed the establishment of
Model Secondary Schools in each of the senatorial zones of the
state. Efforts at putting in place the basic infrastructure and
facilities are on and the various regulatory and supervising
agencies are under instructions to maintain the pace. In it in this
spirit that government acquired the Universal Mobile Science
Laboratories to the tune of N360 million for distribution to selected
schools in Taraba State. In addition, this administration has so far
paid scholarship to students in higher institutions to the tune of
N37,470,000 and WAEC/NECO fees to the tune of N170 million.

It is with deep sense of satisfaction that I mention the
establishment of a State University. A committee had earlier
worked and submitted sets of recommendations, on the basis of
which we established an Implementation Committee. The
Implementation Committee is working round the clock to put in
place the necessary infrastructure and facilities for the take-off the
Remedial and General Studies in October this year. So far about
N1 billion has been expended on the provision of infrastructural
facilities for the take-off of the university.

FINANCE

One of the critical areas of reforms is our capacity to generate
revenue internally. Government observed the heavy dependence on
revenue accruing from the Federation Account and the fact that
internal sources are either not explored or that leakages were not
addressed. Far-reaching measures have been put in place and it is
expected that very soon, we will revolutionalize our internal
revenue activities.

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CO-OPERATIVE AND POVERTY ALLEVIATION

Fellow Tarabans, the world over, poverty alleviation programmes
are targeted at women and youths. In Taraba State, strategies have
been put in place to address this monster called poverty. The main
vehicle in our strategy is the Micro Credit Scheme. We are
collaborating with Federal agencies and NGOs that are in the
business of Micro Credit activities. This is within the limited
institutional framework of Government intervention and
participation in micro credit activities. Government in this
endeavour has so far released the sum of forty seven million. This
is in addition to the sum of sixty million Naira paid by the state
Government to assist Micro finance banks in Wukari, Ussa and Jen
to recapitlise in order to meet the requirement stipulated for them
to qualify to continue operations as micro-finance banks. Already
plans are underway to promote the establishment of new micro-
finance banks in Jalingo, Bali and Gembu. You would remember,
fellow citizens, that recently Taraba State counterpart funding of
N500 million for the NAPEP poverty Alleviation programme.

COMMERCE

In order to boost economic activities in Taraba State, Government
has made efforts to resuscitate the Lau sugar Company and
facilitate the completion of the Taraba Cassava Processing Plant.
The new ultra-modern market in Jalingo will also be completed
soon and commissioned.

INFORMATION

On the inception of this administration, we made efforts to
complete the Taraba Television booster stations in Zing, Takum
and Nguroje. The State printing press is currently undergoing
reactivation. Very soon the State newspaper outfit will commence
operations. We are pleased to inform our people that in the next

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few months, Taraba State Broadcasting Service project on State-
wide coverage will be completed.

AGRICULTURE

Fellow Citizens, we are all aware that agriculture is the main
economic strength of Taraba State. This administration has
resolved to ensure that Taraba indeed works towards attaining its
position as the food basket of Nigeria. The promotion of
production and processing of agricultural products is the main
focus of this administration. Government has made effort to ensure
timely availability of farm inputs at subsidized rates. Our efforts at
providing tractors and other farm implements will continue to be
sustained. It is our hope that the resuscitation of the Tractor Hiring
Unit will boost agricultural production in the state from this year.
With the installation of machines in the Taraba Cassava Processing
Plant already in progress, our efforts will now be geared towards
strategies for the massive production and processing of rice.
Already, the Africa Export-import Bank is prepared to finance our
rice programme.

DUE PROCESS, PROBITY AND ACCOUNTABILITY

Fellow Tarabans, as heirs of democracy, we recognize that power
resides with the people. We shall therefore remain accountable to
you. It is in this spirit that we use this period to account for our
stewardship, a critical component of which is the judicious
utilization of resources and making available statistics public to
our people. During the period under review a total of
N28,776,182,890 in revenues. These funds, together with the
backing of our bankers, were resources at our disposal that we
have so far used in implementing our projects and programmes to
the tune of N42,477,249,676.



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My beloved Tarabans, the legal and intellectual framework
provided by our reform agenda has yielded dividends. We have
achieved a good measure of sanity in the conduct of government
business:

As a means of reducing waste, the State Government did not only
reduce the number of ministries and parastatals, it also established
AND institutionalized due process in the conduct of government
business. The essential components as it were are competitive
bidding and adherence to procedure as stipulated by existing rules
and regulations. Tarabans will testify to the sanity that is restored
to us and the success recorded. Within the period under review,
due process as an institution and administration Three Billion six
hundred and fifty one million seven hundred and seventy two
thousand eighty nine kobo.

Having said this, ladies and gentlemen, I must say the journey has
not been altogether smooth. There are unresolved issues which we
also inherited but do not intend to hand them over to our
successors. They include unresolved Chieftaincy disputes and
other related issues that continue to undermine mutual co-existence
in some of our communities. We shall employ all necessary means
to arrive at negotiated settlement of all issues in dispute to make
for a lasting peace in all parts of the state.

We reckon that Taraba State is potentially rich but manifestly poor.
We had mentioned our efforts to improve our revenue base. We
shall not only improve the capacities of the relevant agencies to
generate revenue but shall also look elsewhere with the view to
expanding our revenue sources. I must acknowledge the
contributions of development partners and our resolve to fulfill our
side of the bargain.

As we reflect on the significance of the 29ith of May and continue
to take stock, we may not guarantee everything leadership that is

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people-driven and shall continue to solicit for your support for a
Taraba of our dream.

Thank you all and may God continue to bless the people of Taraba
State.




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