Some Benue stakeholders yesterday in Makurdi brainstormed on measures that could foster development in the state.
In their various contributions during the 13th Basil Chianson Memorial Lecture held on the theme: Pathways To Sustainable Development & Prosperity Of Benue State, Pharm. Peter Chieshe, Snr Citizen Richard Asema, Basil Anweh, Aloy Ihyua and others identified the causes of underdevelopment in the state and made recommendations for improvement.
Speaking with newsmen in an interview, former Federal Commissioner, Revenue Mobilization, Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC), Hon. Citizen Richard Asema said there has been no sustainable development in Benue state because the past administrations apart from Aper Aku did not leave any legacy behind for the current government to build on.
He also described the current administration under Samuel Ortom as a government Of Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) which only signs it but nothing is implemented.
“This is Government of MOUs. You just sign that and nothing is implemented. This Government since it came in, they have signed so many MOUs. Personally, I don’t know how many, which one they have implemented, that is why we call it Government of MOU. They started a Cargo Airport, it was Memorandum of Understanding, nothing is there”, Asema wondered!
He asked, “they are talking about Sustainable Development, but what legacy did the past Governments apart from Aper Aku leave behind for the subsequent ones to build on? If not that they have left a heap of salaries to be paid, contract to be paid and all that?
“Our past leaders have not been fair to this state and their predecessors did not leave anything for them to build on and achieve. That is part of the problem of development in this state. It is not that Benue is poor, we are the intellectual basket of the entire Northern region aside being the Food Basket. But the problem is that we have not harnessed our intellectual resources together so that we can chart a way forward.
” This government is supposed to be an economic sublime that can produce calibrated economic agenda. What they are doing now is mere fire Brigade approach. “Anything they like, they go in, they won’t complete and they go there. When there is fire outbreak, you know what the fire Brigade does.
“That is why we cannot move anywhere, they have put this state on the reverse gear of socioeconomic development because of poor leadership”, the former RMAFC Commissioner said.
In a separate interview, a Consultant with Federal Medical Center Makurdi, Mr Basil Anweh attributed the backwardness of Benue state to lack of industrialization, over dependence on revenue from Federal Government and lack of education. He opined that good leadership is the panacea for underdevelopment.
“This issue needs to be tackled through good leadership and as a matter of fact, for me, I subscribe that good leadership requires good follower ship.
“Education is a primary thing that has been eroded to the background. People think that education has to be a university or Polytechnic education or even going to Secondary school. But I remember that in those days we had folktales that heads of households and traditional rulers in our immediate environment organized for the entire village and people went there and learnt lessons from the stories that were told. They took these stories and the lessons they learnt to the larger society for the state’s development. “If you know what happened in the last two years, Benue state has come to have traditional rulers in almost every square kilometre. “Now, these traditional rulers, do they organize these folklores or folktales that will help educate our children and youths? No! We now have Ortar, the Ter Makurdi, the Ter Guma, Ter Gwer and if all of these people are put together and calibrate our education along these traditional lines, we have made a lot of waves.
He continued”, what of the Political office holders? We Councilors, Chairmen, House of Assembly members and at the National level we have the House of Representatives and the senate. “How well are they educating the ordinary youths on the streets so that they will believe that they can even stay where they are in the villages and be successful and in your village, you can even transport yourself to Dubai and to any mega city that you want rather than coming all down to hang in Makurdi and not doing anything. So, these are the kind things that we should look forward to”, Anweh suggested.
He urged people of the state to eschew get rich quick approach and have a change of mindset to achieve the desired development.
In his contribution, a Don at the Benue state university Makurdi, Prof. Aloysius Ihyua called on Legislators to be pass bills that have direct bearing on rural dwellers rather than the Executive bills.
Earlier, Guest Lecture at the event, Pharm. Peter Chieshe posited that Benue state needs agricultural revolution to take her people where they want to go. This according to the Industrialist can be achieved through mechanization, empowerment, and education of rural subsistent farmers to improve productivity.
He argued that the state has been underdeveloped because the people have not taken their possessions and that has made them to be going after Abuja milk.
The renowned Pharmacist recommended that good leadership and human capital resources should be harnessed to develop Benue state. He said that natural resources are not necessary for the development of a country, what is needed is good valuable ideas that can attract money.
The Resource Person cited example on Singapore as a country which has developed by using knowledge without natural resources.