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Opinion: Dear Abdullahi Usman, You Can’t Thwart The Progress Of Taraba State By Oluwatosin Alex




The good governance the people of Taraba state desperately wanted for several years finally arrived with the emergence of Governor Agbu Kefas. Since he became governor, He has been able to successfully position Taraba state among the best-performing states in terms of economy, education, job creation, standard of living, and several others.

Within just three months in office, Dr. Agbu Kefas’ achievements have not only directly benefited the people of Taraba state, but they have also made even ‘outsiders’ become envious of the miraculous turn-around that has happened in Taraba state. In Nigeria and across party lines, Dr. Agbu Kefas is one of the best-performing governors at the moment.

Within a short period, Dr. Agbu Kefas’ style of governance has become a template for other states and will continue to be for a long time. Many didn’t believe a Nigerian governor can make his cabinet consist of 80% of the youth population but for Kefas, it happened quickly without any hassle. He is the only governor who has only youthful commissioners, one of them is just 27 years old.

Arguably, Dr. Agbu Kefas’ government is one with a human face, every decision and action he has taken since he emerged has been for the benefit of the common people of Taraba state. His first point of call was to engage women and youths for sweeping jobs in the state, he recently announced that 10,000 youths will be engaged for another batch of sanitation jobs and will be paid N15,000 monthly.

We shouldn’t also forget that he announced free secondary and primary education, acquired 750 tractors from the Czech Republic, ordered the renovation of government secondary schools, recently approved palliative measures to cushion the effects of fuel subsidy removal, and many other things all for the sake of the good people of Taraba state.

Dr. Agbu Kefas have promised to ensure that Taraba state moves forward under his administration, He has been vocal about his promise since the days of the campaign and sincerely, Taraba state has tremendously moved forward within a short period.

All of these necessary moves by Dr. Agbu Kefas come with a price. He won’t use his funds to run the government and we all know that the immediate past administration left a huge debt behind. The former governor took loans that didn’t affect the people in any way. He didn’t pay salaries, pensions, or benefits of civil servants in the state despite the loans. He left an empty treasury for Dr. Agbu Kefas. How then is the new governor expected to perform excellently well without any tangible funds in the state’s treasury?

On realization of this, The Taraba House of Assembly approved the N206,778 billion loan request by Agbu Kefas, governor of the state to fund the 2023 supplementary budget. Truth be told, there has never been any politician that has shown transparency like Kefas did after getting approval for the loan request. He publicly announced the banks where the loans will be gotten from, how the loans will be disbursed, and the repayment plans.

The loan will be taken from four commercial banks — Zenith Bank, United Bank for Africa, Keystone Bank, and Fidelity Bank — to execute various projects in the state.

A breakdown of the budget showed that the sum of N50 billion was earmarked for the Ministry of Education, N40 billion for infrastructure, while agriculture, security, and health got N30 billion each. Micro-finance bank, judiciary, and house of assembly got N5 billion each.

The women’s affairs ministry, digital economy, and waste management received N2 billion, respectively.

Other sectors got N5.476 billion, while N5 billion was reserved to settle gratuity and enroll more local government retirees into the state’s pension payroll.

However, one Mr. Abdullahi Usman has written a petition to the central bank of Nigeria (CBN) to stop the banks from approving the loan request because ‘it will move Taraba to a state of abject poverty’.

The petitioner also claimed that Taraba State was already indebted and could not pay back $206 billion within four years, as assured by the governor.

Although, certainly, the CBN will not honour such a worthless petition but Usman needs to understand that this is an attempt to thwart the progress of Taraba state. For years, the state has been on a standstill and finally, we have someone willing to push the state forward yet one Usman is going all out to stop the progress. It will not stand!

While Usman has the right to criticize the government, it is expected to be done with a high level of intelligence and not in a way to advertise ignorance. The governor has set out plans to repay the loan before the expiration of his tenure, how come Usman who isn’t part of the government knows that Taraba can’t repay the loan within four years?

Of course, politicians have failed the people of Taraba state in the previous years but Dr. Agbu Kefas is different. Others may have not fulfilled their promises to repay loans but for Kefas, It will be a different ball game.

Abdullahi Usman should try to read the room, the masses are in support of the loan because they understand that Taraba needs it. They know that Dr. Agbu Kefas will use it judiciously for its purpose. Taraba state is a moving train, no amount of Abdullahi Usman can stop it!






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