Tuesday September 3, 2019 is a day the people of Koro Kuje Chiefdom, Lafia Local Government Area of Nasarawa State will remain unforgettable in their hearts for a long time to come.
That day, a large crowd of the people from that Chiefdom was hosted by the Governor of Nasarawa State, Engineer Abdullahi A. Sule at the Conference Hall of Government House, Shendam Road, Lafia.
The people were led by their paramount traditional ruler, the Aren Koro Kuje, HRH Joseph Sunday Namo (JP).
Among the people were some of the prominent sons and daughters from that chiefdom.
Among the people were: Honourable Mohammed Ibrahim Alkali (Member representing Lafia North State Constituency at the Nasarawa State House of Assembly), Hon Abdullahi Angibi (Member representing Lafia Central State Constituency at the Nasarawa State House of Assembly), Honourable Hafsat Abdullahi, Deputy Chairman, Lafia Local Government Area, Chief Anthony K. Ibi (Makongijin Koro Kuje), Dr J. K. Lewa (Gardin Koro Kuje), Dr Barnabbas Ahgu (Wazirin Koro Kuje), Chief George E. Bashi, Hon Bala Ombugadu (Baraden Koro Kuje) and Mr Angbas Stephen (Danburan Koro Kuje).
Others were: Arch Bishop Joseph George Masin (Nasarawa State Chairman of Christian Association of Nigeria), Mrs Rose Aminu Attah (President, ECDA Women Wing National), Elder Obadiah Adgidzi, Dr Emmanuel Sunday (Tafidan Koro Kuje), Hon Obed Mebe Joseph and Surveyor Emmanuel Ibi, one time Surveyor General of Nasarawa State among several other prominent people.
Speaking through Mr Matthew Kuju (Editor/Publisher of Eggonnews Community Newspaper), the traditional ruler, the Aren Koro Kuje, Mr Joseph Sunday Namo (JP) poured encomiums on the Governor for doing more than he promised at his inauguration to accomplish within the first 100 days.
Excerpts of his message to the Governor went thus:
The Chiefdom is blessed with people of high standing in the society, many of whom have paid their dues in the service of this country and by every definition are elder-statesmen. It is a home to highly educated people rendering services in various areas of endeavour. It is an area that God has richly blessed agriculturally and can therefore rightly be described as the food basket of Nasarawa State.
The visit could not have come at a better time than a day that is just three days to Your Excellency’s clocking of 100 Days in office.
Your Excellency, we are aware of the promises you made at your inauguration 97 days ago, precisely 29th May, 2019. Making a pronouncement of far-reaching and almost impossible promises was almost putting your reputation on the line. Your Excellency, let us be among the first to congratulate you for accomplishing even more than you promised. Time will not allow us to enumerate the promises you have made good of and even more. You have indeed exceeded all expectations, and by the grace of God, you will continue to exceed all expectations!
That is a sterling quality of a go-getting, visionary and God-fearing leader – fulfilling promises made. If you could achieve all that you have done within the past 100 days, then the people of Nasarawa State should be prepared for nothing but the best in the years ahead as you engineer the State to the next level!
Why We Have Come
Your Excellency, these people have come with a clear message, that this is not just one of those courtesy visits that merely fulfil the righteousness. To these people, this is more than just a courtesy visit. This is the visit of a people who dearly love their Governor and have come to formally and honestly celebrate with and congratulate him for the victory at the polls and reassure him of their total and unalloyed support. We believe that God has placed you in this position and your success can only be measured by the extent of the support and cooperation of the people God has asked you to lead.
For us in Koro Kuje Chiefdom, you can count on us always.
Your Excellency, the people of Koro Kuje Chiefdom are very much aware of where you are coming from in your service to our fatherland, considering your vast knowledge, experience and exposure. We therefore have no doubt and it is our earnest prayer that God will use you to take our dear State to the next level of development in all ramifications.
Secondly Your Excellency Sir, since the approval of the election of our father, Mr Joseph Sunday Namo as the new Aren Koro Kuje, we have not come as a people to formally appreciate the State Government for resolving the long drawn out tussle for the stool. While thanking the State Government for this move, we wish to assure the government that we are solidly behind our royal father and we pledge to support and be loyal to him as he endeavours to make the chiefdom a haven of peace and development.
With him as our royal father, we shall give you nothing less than one hundred percent of our loyalty and commitment to the development of Nasarawa State.
As a trained teacher and accomplished politician of high repute, a born leader par excellence, we are grateful to God Almighty for bringing His Highness Joseph Sunday Namo at this time as the Aren Koro Kuje.
Requests Of Koro Kuje Chiefdom
Your Excellency, we wish we do not have to bother you with complaints and requests today being the first of our visits to you. As much as the gate of Government House shall remain open, we shall have cause to come.
However, do permit us to present a few of our pressing needs and prayers.
It is often said, and it is true, that development follows the road. Roads are the arteries through which the economy pulses. Indeed, roads are vital to any development agenda. By implication, where there is no good road, development is stunted. That is the story of Koro Kuje Chiefdom.
Your Excellency, it is our prayer that you do not have a pressing and urgent need to travel along the road that leads from Kilema and passes through Keffin Wambai to Barkin Abdullahi, the seat of the stool of Koro Kuje in this season. To put it mildly, the road is almost impassable because of the terrible state of the bridges and nature of the road. This road appears to be the heartbeat of the people of this area. The state of this road and indeed all the roads in the chiefdom has no doubt stunted the growth and development of the area. The state of this particular road is a sad reflection of all the roads within the chiefdom.
Over the years, we have cried at every given opportunity for the State Government to come to our aid. We do not wish to say that our cries fell on deaf ears, but that God has left the road for a time like this.
When Your Excellency did promise to fix some rural feeder roads within the first 100 days in office, we prayed hard that this would be one of the roads.
We are happy that yesterday you flagged off the construction of the three rural feeder roads that you promised. Although this particular road is not one of the three, Your Excellency, we are still within the first 100 days and you can make it happen. Just say it and it will be done. We wish to leave this hall with the latest promise that this road will be fixed. Even if it is not completed within the first 100 days, let the definite promise be made within the first 100 days. We know that if you say it, you will fulfil it because that appears to be one of your virtues. Your word is your bond.
It is said that health is wealth. Due to the increase in population in the chiefdom, we hasten to state that the health facilities in the chiefdom are being overstretched. It is for this reason that we plead for the upgrading of some of the facilities.
In years past, there was a promise and an attempt to upgrade the Primary Health Centre at Barkin Abdullahi to the status of a General Hospital. Unfortunately, it did not materialise.
Considering the teeming population in Barkin Abdullahi and environs, there is the compelling and urgent necessity for the upgrading of the health centre to a full-fledged General hospital. That will indeed take tertiary health services closer to the people and will reduce the risks of having to travel long distances to access health services and this will reduce the burden on facilities at the other tertiary health institutions.
iii. Social Amenities
Your Excellency, our various communities in the chiefdom are in dire want of social amenities such as electricity, potable water and the like. Gratefully, the people do not completely wait on government to provide everything because we are conscious of the fact that, due to paucity of funds in the midst of competing needs, government cannot provide everything.
For instance, the Keffi Wambai community had tried to extend electricity from Kwandere to the village. It may interest Your Excellency to know that the project was partly funded by Nasarawa State Community and Social Development Agency and the community. The Agency paid N9, 000,000.00 while the community was expected to pay the balance of N7, 000,000.00. High tension poles were fixed and wired from Kwandere to Keffi Wambai but the work was stalled due essentially to lack of resources. If resources were available, the project should have been commissioned since 2014.
The four major problems on ground are as follows:
1. The crossing of the railway line at Awuma village with the wires was stopped by the Railway Corporation which insisted the community had to pay N500, 000.00
2. Absence of up-rising wires from the transformer to supply electricity to the houses
3. Lack of about 40 low-tension poles and wires to supply electricity to the houses in the village
4. Workmanship for the work
Your Excellency Sir, the Community is praying that, in line with your rural electrification project, the State Government would come to its aid by completing the electricity project that would change the social and economic fortunes of the people of the area.
Your Excellency, for our people right from time past, we have placed high premium on education of the children.
However, we hasten to say that the deplorable condition of facilities in public primary and secondary schools, where they are available, has negatively affected educational development in our rural areas, Koro Kuje Chiefdom inclusive. This has seriously affected school enrollment and retention in our chiefdom.
We would be most obliged if the State Government addresses the disrepair in the infrastructures in our schools.
v. Upgrade The Chiefdom
Your Excellency, we wish to passionately plead that the stool of the Aren Koro Kuje be upgraded to a higher status. Considering the rich history of the chiefdom and stool, the contributions of the people of the area to development, as well as the magnitude of the responsibility upon the shoulders of the traditional ruler, the chiefdom deserves an elevation.
Your Excellency, you may wish to note that Koro Kuje Chiefdom was among the first 27 Chiefdoms that were created and gazetted in February 2003. Our Chief died in 2014 and replaced in 2019.
By all reckoning Your Excellency, this chiefdom deserves upgrading. We therefore passionately request Your Excellency to consider this request.
In his response, the Nasarawa State governor, Engineer Abdullahi Sule, while commending the people of Koro Kuje Chiefdom for making agriculture as their mainstay, warned government officials against selling forms for the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) agribusiness capacity training for youths across the state.
Engineer Sule expressed dismay that information reaching him indicated that the forms, which are meant to be free, are being sold to prospective applicants, mostly youths.
He said: “The forms are meant to be given free and not be sold,” the governor declared.
He called on prospective applicants to report any official extorting money from them, emphasizing that the forms are absolutely free.
Engineer Sule said the training is coming on the heels of the recent collaboration with the Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL), an agency of the Central Bank of Nigeria, aimed at establishing agribusinesses across the state.
He told the Koro Kuje community that agriculture is the backbone of Nasarawa State which explains the policy thrust of his administration to enhance agriculture by vigorously pursuing commercial farming which will create wealth as well as generate employment.
“The training is being funded by the Central Bank of Nigeria and at the end, the CBN will provide a loan facility to beneficiaries to establish agribusinesses. The forms and the training are free but the loans are meant to be paid back,” the governor further explained.
Commenting on the demands made by the members of the Koro Kuje chiefdom, particularly their demands for roads, education and upgrade of the Aren Kuje stool, among others, the governor promised to send officials to conduct feasibilities on the construction of the Keffin Wambai-Barkin Abdullahi road.
Engineer Sule equally agreed to look into the issue of the upgrading of the Koro Kuje stool created and gazetted in 2003.
He said: “I will hate to tell you that next week I am coming to construct the road to Koron Kuje and don’t come back, that will not be proper.
“So what I will tell you is that we will engage the people who will value the road, because I don’t promise and then reverse, but I will send people to estimate and know what will take to construct the road, and then we will build it into our cash flow. By the grace of God, it is a road that we can also do the best for the people.
“As I said, we are going to continue on the good work of Tanko Al- makura by continue in the roads construction in the urban area, but I will also want 50 per cent of my effort in the rural roads.
“In the next two weeks we are going to commission some major roads from Sinsin Baki to Farin ruwa, also from Mararaba to Udege will be commissioned.” He explained.
While explaining his administration plans on agriculture, the governor stated thus:
“I want to thank you for identified the area of your strength, one of is the agriculture. Agriculture is the back of not just Koro Kuje, but Nasarawa state, so we decided that we going to focus on agriculture, and if you look at what we have done so far you will be surprised.
“Right now there is a training exercise going on to train the youth so that they come back and ensure that member of the community also receive proper and appropriate founding to engage in an agriculture in a commercial nature so that this state will show its capacity nature blessed with agricultural space.
“I urge you as member of the Koro Kuje community to buy into that idea, I was told that they are buying the forms, we don’t sell them the forms are free.
“We from the part of government suppose to support the youth so that they will end up benefiting from the loan coming from the federal government.
“The training is free, coming to take the loan is also free, but payment is not free you have to pay back.
“Thank you for imbibing on agriculture as a back of the community and I want you to continue doing that.”
On the area of heath, he added; “it is this that we are working very seriously because strongly believe that without good health you can do anything. We are working from our primary health care unit, and we are going to be build strongly into all the areas you mentioned and some preventive diseases that are endangering our lives.
“We have started to put on track all those new facilities in our hospitals, we care about the health of our people.
“On the social services areas that you mentioned; the roads electricity, and health of what we promise to the people of the state within hundred days, but our promise is for four years and we can continue with all these areas in line with our vision and strategy for the future of the state.
“In fact, going into agriculture, we will not be happy until we bring in investor to commercial agriculture who are going to help promote our local farmers to be able to survive and also help create employment, revenue and development for the various areas.
“On the education, luckily for us we do have resources for education, we just went round and there was a tender actually published, we are going to close that tender and ensure that three corners of the state to bring in basic for education to the area.
“Anywhere for Nasarawa state to be developed, we are going to develop, because the children who are going to benefit from it are innocent, and once we are doing that for them is because they are from Nasarawa state.
But we are hoping that their parent will also see the goodwill for what they APC government have done to also reciprocate. So education is key to what are going to doing.
“On the chiefdom, you said it has been there since 2003, is may be because of some tousle that has been there, but more importantly God has made it was my father that will come in. That’s how God does his work.
“But I am telling you it will be my greatest joy that I will be the one to upgrade this gentleman. Again as I always done my things I will check to know what it will take before the exhibition, what do we need to do that, we will look at it critically, and believe me I will be the most happiest to upgrade him if there are no tousle, it is nothing to worry about”, he assured.