- Says states must look beyond oil
By Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja
Former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, has advised the people of the North-east zone faced with challenges of poverty and hunger due to destructions caused by Boko Haram insurgency to see education and agriculture as the way to open doors of opportunities for them.
Adamawa as well as other states in the North-east zone has suffered a setback in the field of education and commerce due to insurgency in the area.
Atiku who spoke at the reception organised in his honour by the Adamawa State community in Abuja to mark his elevation to the position of seventh Waziri Adamawa at the Congress Hall, Transcorp Hilton Hotel and Towers, Abuja, also implored politicians and the elite from the state to try and play their politics well to avoid unnecessary in-fighting that may affect development of the area.
He said the state should move away from dependence on oil and federal handouts and build an economy in the state that would be a model for the whole country.
On how to deal with the present challenges facing his people, Atiku said in the past, education had opened doors for him and other prominent sons of Adamawa State.
Speaking on ways which the state can pull through the current economic challenges, Atiku said there is a need for the state to uphold and deepen the legacy by fixing our educational system and other aspects of human development.
“If there is one other thing that unifies the Adamawa elite, it is that they obtained good education. Education helped to open doors for them in the various professions where they have distinguished themselves and in their service to our country,” he said
Atiku who said he was humbled by his elevation to the position of Waziri Adamawa, expressed the belief that the future of the state lies in the hands of its young people.
He said the state should do everything possible to invest in education for the young people of the state, adding that “there is no reason for any Adamawa child to be out of school.
“Let us, as a state and as a people, begin to plan our future without thinking that the federal government will be our saviour.
“Let us think of how we can build up our State: let us continue to encourage our State and Local Governments to repair and expand our schools, to repair our roads, and help our students to learn.
“Let us also improve our agriculture by industrialising it. We need modern tools and modern methods of farming. There is no reason why we can’t be a major supplier of grains, meat, tea and coffee to the rest of the country and beyond.
“We have the land; we have the climate and we have the people. Developments around the world show that crude oil is soon going to become less important as an energy source.”
Speaking about his growth and early life, Atiku said: “As a little boy in Jada, who at a point, wasn’t sure whether he would be allowed to go to school, one thing I know I didn’t dream of was becoming Waziri Adamawa. But the God that we all worship has His plans for all of us.
“What I have done all these years is work hard at whatever position I find myself in and take advantage of opportunities that arise for self-improvement and social advancement.
“Along the way I have had a lot of help from a lot of people, relations, teachers, friends, colleagues, business partners and associates.
The former vice president lamented that Adamawa State and indeed the North-east generally have been in the news in recent years often for the wrong reason.
According to him, one major predicament is the spate of insecurity occasioned by the Boko Haram insurgency in the area.
However, Atiku noted that Adamawa people have done a lot of good over the course of the history of this country and has continued to do so.
“Another thing that gives me hope and encouragement is the sight of thousands of Adamawa children and youths who, with little help, guidance and encouragement, can rise to the highest levels of the professions and the society,” he said.