State government must build viable economy, stop depending on federal hand out – Atiku

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By Theo Adegoke

Nigeria’s Former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar has called on the different states in Nigeria to stop depending on federal hand outs and build a viable economy that will be the envy of all.

Speaking at a dinner in his honour by the Adamawa community in Abuja, Atiku said recent development had shown that crude oil will soon become less important as a source of energy across the world, a development that will grossly affect resources available to government.

He said the elites in the country owe it a responsibility to the younger generation to help state government to develop their states.

“We can have our political differences and political fights, but let us know when to apply the brakes to ensure that what is destined for Adamawa – be it projects, provisions or positons – are not lost because of our petty quarrels and what some call “pull-him-down syndrome,” he said.

“I believe we will be remembered not by the number of people we pulled down, but by the number of people we lifted up.”

While appreciating the organizers for the honoring him, he said, “as 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.

“Adamawa and the North East generally have been in the news in recent years often for the wrong reason: the spate of insecurity occasioned by the Boko Haram insurgency in the area. But we are more than that. We have more than one story. Our story is not just the Boko Haram story.

“A lot has happened in Adamawa and Adamawa people have done a lot of good over the course of the history of this country and we continue to do so. That is one of the things that give me hope even in moments of despair.

“Another thing that gives me hope and encouragement is the site of thousands of Adamawa children and youth who, with little help, guidance and encouragement, can rise to the highest levels of the professions and the society. People who would in the future make enormous contributions to the development of the state, the region and, indeed, the country.

“Just think about it.  Nigeria’s story would be incomplete without discussions of the contributions of Adamawa sons and daughters to the development of Nigeria. And they have done so in a variety of sectors of our national life.

“Just think of the contributions and sacrifices of such Adamawa elite as late Muhammadu Ribadu, Nigeria’s Defence Minister in the First Republic, Ahmed Joda; IGP Gambo Jimeta, Jibril Aminu, Bamanga Tukur, Mahmud Tukur, Haladu Hananiya, Murtala Nyako, Buba Marwa, late AVM Alfa, Air Marshal A. D. Bello, Air Marshal Bade, late IGP M. D. Sulaiman, late Senator Mahmud Waziri, Wakili Hassan Adamu, Nuhu Ribadu, Babachir David Lawal, and Musa Bello, just to mention a few.

“We even gave our President, Muhammadu Buhari, his very smart and beautiful wife, Aisha, an accomplished professional in her own right. I stress that this is certainly not an exhaustive list but just to underscore that Adamawa has produced distinguished sons and daughters who have contributed and continue to contribute to national development.

“So don’t let anybody tell you that we have not contributed or that we are a basket case. We are not; and we are not defined by the current challenges. We are more than it. And we have the potential to be greater than we have been and to contribute more than we already have.

“Therefore, there is a need for us to uphold and deepen this 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. Education opened doors for me also. It is, therefore, imperative, in my opinion, that we should do everything possible to invest in education for the young people of our state.

“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.

“The future of Adamawa State lies in the hands of its young people, but we need to prepare them for that future by giving them good education so they can go out in the world and compete with the best of them. That is what produced the Adamawa elite who have not only done well for themselves but have made enormous contributions to the development of this country.

“Let us also improve our agriculture by industrializing 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. So we should, now that we still can, 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. We the elite have that responsibility and we owe it to the generations coming after us.

“I also implore us to fix our politics as well. We can have our political differences and political fights, but let us know when to apply the brakes to ensure that what is destined for Adamawa – be it projects, provisions or positons – are not lost because of our petty quarrels and what some call “pull-him-down syndrome.” I believe we will be remembered not by the number of people we pulled down, but by the number of people we lifted up.”

He also appealed to the people to always remember that many of their brothers and sisters, including children, “are still stuck in camps for internally displaced persons (IDP camps).

What hurts one of us should hurt all of us. I am aware that many of us rallied and still rally to the aid of these unfortunate souls. We must not relent in our efforts to assist them until they are able to get back to normal lives and leave this terrible trauma behind.”

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Godwin Okafor is a financial journalist, Internet Social Entrepreneur and the Founder Naija247news Media Ltd He has over 16 experiences in journalism, which cuts across traditional and digital media. He started his journalism career in Business Day, Where he was a senior editorial graphic artist, before he left to start Naija247news, An Online Financial Newspaper in 2010. He has won series of awards and he is the chairman of Emmerich Resources Limited, the publisher of Naija247news.com and also sits on the board of Students In Business Awards, (SIBA).

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