By John Walker Iguve
A child born in 1976 is a full grown man now at 40years and if he/she is yet to find full bearing in life, then the saying that 'a fool at forty is a fool forever' can be used to refer to such individual. This is akin to our dear state of Benue- a state with so much promise but yet to fulfill its full potential and be a rallying point in the comity of states in our country Nigeria.
Strategically located as the belt holding the fragile north and volatile south together, Benue is blessed with everything necessary to make it a hub and exemplary state of business, culture and tourism, educational excellence, peace and security, agro-allied industries, commerce, social activities and centre of religious tolerance.
The presence of a mixed variety of people ranging from the Tivs to the Etulos, the Idomas to the Ufias and Igedes as well as Jukuns, Hausas and a large Igbo and Igala people with a sprinkling of a few Yorubas resident in our state is a testament to the human resources necessary to transform Benue to an enviable status. Add all that to the presence of natural resources such as fertile and arable land, limestone, water, clay, sand, timber and forest resources, multiple food crops,etc and you will agree with me that the modern state of Benue should be the 'Texas' of Nigeria.
Traversing the length and breadth of our dear state from Gbajimba to Agila, from Orokam to Vandeikya, from Katsina-Ala to Naka etc, one cannot but weep for our dear state. The people live in penury and abject poverty, the roads are horrible, diseases prevalent everywhere, cultism and youths restiveness abounds, prostitutes litter the streets of Makurdi,Gboko, Otukpo and other towns, workers live in misery due to months of unpaid salaries and to add salt to injury, herdsmen are killing our people with none so far arrested to face the law. I weep for Benue.
In the midst of all these, Benue sons and daughters have occupied very powerful positions at the centre in recent and past times. The developments attracted home by such individuals are a far cry from the necessities on ground. Successive state governors have equally failed to maximally affect the lives of its citizens for good. No stable investments at home. Our big men build companies and set up business abroad and in other states of the federation and leave the state as a beer parlour economy.
Men of little understanding, bereft of the required knowledge, vision and technical know-how are the ones who stumble into leadership positions or are sponsored and planted as stooges and conduits through which the state's coffers are milked dry and necessary projects which would enhance the lives of our people abandoned with reckless impunity. Our local governments don't function as almost all our council chairmen live in Makurdi or Abuja and only come home to collect what's available and fly out again. The first constituencies of our politicians entrusted with leadership positions to change our fortune are concubines and girlfriends.
How long shall we continue like this? When are we going to unbuckle ourselves of these shackles of non-performance and reckless i-dont-care attitude? When shall our state be known for positive news and greatness rather reports of communal clashes, fulani herdsmen attack, fighting btw our political elite, divisions here and there between the tivs and idomas,tivs and tivs,idomas and idomas?
We need to wake up. Our traditional institutions and Religious leaders must wake up to their responsibilities of reawakening people to their consciences, they must speak the truth especially at election times and must constantly lead the people to demand for fairness and equity in governance as well as accountability and performance from our representatives.
Every individual aspiring for political office must be subjected to a background check where his role as a Father, husband and antecedents must be subjected to a thorough check. Failures in their marital responsibilities have over time proved abject failures in the public domain as well.
The youths must be invested in and given a chance to effect changes. The state government must as a matter of urgency search for brains outside of the state that have garnered the necessary education, experience and exposure and bring it to bear in the affairs of our state.
The government must not wait for just federal allocation and bailouts. Efforts must be made in harnessing the rich potential of the state through improved internally generated revenue, industrialization and opening up the state to investors. Globalization is a trend which is growing at speed of light.
We too must embrace this and anchor on our strategic position to be a pace setter state and hence advance the course of the common man. I look forward to the days when we shall get there. Good is not enough when better is possible. The onus lies in our hands. God bless our state and Nigeria at large.
Dr. John Iguve is from Utonkon, Ado local government Area. He holds an MBBch, a B.Sc and an MPH. He lives and writes from Lagos.For Advert: Call 08171607004, 09058228464 Follow us on Twitter @idomavoice, @idomanews Send us releases at firstname.lastname@example.org