Parleying for Efficient Service Delivery

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ABDULLAHI SULE

Igbawase Ukumba writes that Governor Abdullahi Sule of Nasarawa State has initiated a platform for cooperation between all arms of government in the state

Governor Abdullahi Sule had on October 1, 2020 convened the first ever critical stakeholders’ summit of the state, bringing together personalities from the three arms of government: the executive, legislature and judiciary, with a view to understanding and appreciating their distinct roles for efficient service delivery.

Critical stakeholders at the event include: The first civilian governor of the state, Senator Abdullahi Adamu; Speaker of the Nasarawa State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon Ibrahim Balarabe Abdullahi; Chief Judge of Nasarawa State; Justice Suleiman Umaru Dikko; Emir of Lafia, HRH Justice Sidi Bage (rtd), among many other critical stakeholders.

The summit, with the theme: “Examining the Role of Government on Security and Economy of Nasarawa State,” was first of its kind since creation of the state in 1996, and was organized by the office of the Secretary of the Government of Nasarawa State which took place at the Aliyu Akwe Doma Banquet Hall, Government House, Lafia. The parley between the three arms of government was part of activities marking the 60th and 24th anniversaries of Nigeria and Nasarawa State celebrated on October 1, 2020 respectively.
Speaking at the summit, Governor Sule said the summit would provide the opportunity for the three arms of government to understand each other, even as he emphasized that the executive arm of government was receiving maximum support from the legislature and judiciary. He added that the summit would also deepen the democratic process in the state, towards the socio-economic development of the society.

It was against the above backdrop the governor explained that top government functionaries and other critical stakeholders from the three arms of government would facilitate the cross fertilization of ideas, share experience, as well as appraising distinct responsibilities of the arms with a view to evolving the needed enduring synergy for a conflict free administration, as well as reinforcing interdependence of each of the arms, according to the tenets of the constitution.

Sule said: “This is in line with the pledge which I made when I took over the mantle of leadership, to create the enabling environment for the arms of government to effectively and efficiently discharge their responsibilities, for peace, progress and development of our dear state. My administration has supported the call for the independence of the legislature through the provision of required tools for it to carry out its statutory functions with minimum hitch.”

This was even as he added that his administration has continued to sustain its regards and reverence to the judiciary and its independence towards quick dispensation of justice and the interpretations of the laws.

“Considering the journey so far, especially towards entrenching the democratic process in tune with global best practices and the existing unity of purpose have been inspirational given the administration the needed strength to forge ahead in the collective commitment to provide leadership for growth and development. It’s however pertinent to often review certain tendencies that could jeopardize the seeming harmonious relationship between the arms of government, which informed the need for the summit,” Sule stated.

The governor finally harped on the need for maturity and tolerance so that the arms of government could work together to the benefit of Nasarawa State and the People.

Suffice to note that attaining a reasonable degree of security is pivotal to maximising the potentials of any given entity for the growth and development of its economy which is every citizen’s role to play. Hence the need for maturity and tolerance among citizens so that the three arms of government in the state could work together for the benefit of Nasarawa State and the people.

Perhaps it was against this background as harped earlier during the summit by Governor Sule that the chairman of the Nasarawa State Council of Chiefs, Justice Sidi Bage ( rtd) x-rayed the key role that the traditional rulers have to play in the economy and security of the state. Justice Bage, who is the Emir of Lafia, noted that the state had a diversity of culture with over 30 different linguistic units hence underscoring the need for cultural harmony.

Acccording to him, “the over 30 linguistic units alone underscores the need for cultural harmony in the face of threatening tribal wars. The monarchs can ensure that they preach peace within their sphere of influence. They must preach love and oneness that will make the herdsmen value the life of farmers and vice versa. As they sue for peace and security, they must gainfully engaged their subjects in productive activities especially in agriculture, which in my view is still underexploited in Nasarawa State.”

Suffice to state that attaining a reasonable degree of security in any given society is pivotal to maximising of that society’s growth and development of its economy is everyone’s role to play.

Hitherto the paramount ruler of the ancient Lafia Emirate, Justice Bage, opined that all ministries and agencies that make up the executive arm of government in Nasarawa State, ably led by Governor Sule, have a role to play.

“Every lawmaker, regardless of party affiliation, owes Nasarawa State a duty to contribute to the economy and security of our dear state. The judicial also have a very significant role to play as the law has always been an instrument of social reengineering. We the traditional rulers too have tremendous though unconventional role,” the retired Supreme Court Judge said.

Acccording to the revered monarch, “section 5 (2) of the constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) clearly saddles the governor with the governance and security of the state. But the governor is just one man, and that is where his team comes into play. Every ministry in the state must begin to look inward and tinker on how to build lasting value-chain that will contribute positively to the state bottom line.”

“A lot of mining, power generation, manufacturing can be done in Nasarawa State that are not yet done. The security agencies too must keep an eye on the project of the state to ensure probity and security,” the monarch added.

Justice Bage however said the state’s laws were so far good but as all known, the only thing that is permanent is change. Consequently he was of the opinion that the lawmakers must continuously review the state’s laws to ensure that more business channels are opened up with ease.

He continued: “They are to ensure by legislation that the state runs with S.M.A.R.T budgets. In order words, appropriation laws must be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time based.”

However, the royal father admitted that lawmakers are not to be rubber stamps, but most importantly, they are not to be clogs in the wheels of progress. He added that they must also put in place adequate legal frame work to proscribe crimes and facilitate trial of offenders.

He said that the court and every member of the judicial arm of the government needs to discover ways of doing things differently.

“There are a lot of lessons to learn from other states, especially Lagos. Business thrives when there are minimal legal tussles. It is important to note the key players in the judiciary will still earn their living even in a legally peaceful atmosphere. Alternative Dispute Resolution Mechanism must be highly promoted. Special Practice Directions can be put in place to fast-track revenue-related cases in the state. The crimes that are prevalent in our state could also be accorded fast-track trial and speedy dispensation of justice,” the Emir of Lafia concluded.

Perhaps the theme of the first ever Nasarawa State Critical Stakeholders’ Summit: “Examining the Role of Government on Security and Economy of Nasarawa State”, was timely for the Speaker of the Nasarawa State House of Assembly, Ibrahim Balarabe Abdullahi, as he said when presenting his paper at the summit that the state has made so much progress in the democratic process as a state. However Speaker Balarabe recounted that recent times Nasarawa State and indeed Nigeria had witnessed unprecedented crop of crises and insecurity each leading to the loss of lives and destruction of property.

Acccording to him, “the state has witnessed cases of armed robbery, human trafficking, kidnappings, murder activities, activities of the Boko Haram, communal crisis, farmers/herders conflicts and drug addiction. All these has led to increased cases of insecurity.”
The state assembly speaker buttressed his above assertion with a graphic picture of insecurity incident that occurred in Nasarawa State in recent times by recalling that 26 Road Safety Corps Officials on a trip to FRSC Training Academy in Enugu State were abducted by suspected bandits along Mararaba Udege community. While on January 8, 2019, the Nigeria Army recovered 45 weapons and 701 assorted ammunitions from Bassa militia’s camp in Zuere in Toto Local Government Area of Nasarawa State.

He continued: “On August 21, 2019, five policemen lost their lives when gunmen attacked the convoy of the deputy governor of Nasarawa State, Emmanuel Akabe, at a hill popularly known as “Many Have Gone”. Again on August 11, 2020, His Royal Highness Amos Obere, the head of Udu community in Nasarawa Local Government Area was killed. In May 2020, the CAN chairman was kidnapped at his resident in Lafia, the state capital. On April 2020, we saw yet another kidnap of another traditional ruler, the Aron Ugah, Alhaji Abdullahi Magaji. We recently witnessed the rising of another terrorists group, Dar-Ur-Salam, in Toto Local Government Area that led to the death of many innocent citizens.”

Acccording to the speaker, “these and many more recurring insecurity challenges informed the establishment of 4 Special Forces of the Nigerian Army at Doma, as well as the Police Mobile Training School at Endehu, both in Nasarawa State. Regrettably, the Chief of Army Staff, Lt Gen Yusuf Buratai, observed that terrororists threat is shifting to the North Central part of the country.”

The adverse effects of these insecurity on the state has led to the social dislocation of citizens, particularly farmers, from their farming activities. Also there was diversion of government attention and scarce resources from creating thriving economy, even as government attention focus on spending the scarce resources on crisis and security management in order to maintain.

Speaking on behalf of the judicial arm of government in Nasarawa State, the Chief Judge of the state, Justice Suleiman Umaru Dikko argued that there was no way one could have economic development without having security. Nevertheless, the state Chief Judge commended the government and other security agencies for maintaining security in Nasarawa State.

“Recently the security agencies were able to force out the terrorists group in my Local Government Area, Toto. That is the requirement to have economic development,” he said.

Justice Dikko however raised the alarm that the judicial arm has seen that the president has signed the executive order 10 for the independence of the judiciary but what was happening was that the 36 state governors have gone to court to truncate it.

“I just want to advise His Excellency, Governor Abdullahi Sule, to advise his colleagues to please withdraw that case from the court,” the Chief Judge concluded.

QUOTE

Perhaps it was against this background as harped earlier during the summit by Governor Sule that the chairman of the Nasarawa State Council of Chiefs, Justice Sidi Bage ( rtd) x-rayed the key role that the traditional rulers have to play in the economy and security of the state. Justice Bage, who is the Emir of Lafia, noted that the state had a diversity of culture with over 30 different linguistic units hence underscoring the need for cultural harmony. Acccording to him, “the over 30 linguistic units alone underscores the need for cultural harmony in the face of threatening tribal wars. The monarchs can ensure that they preach peace within their sphere of influence