Benue’s civil service in intensive care unit – Governor-elect

The governor-elect of Benue state, Rev Fr Hyacinth Alia, said Wednesday that the state’s civil service is currently in Intensive Care Unit (ICU) following years of neglect.

Fielding questions from State House correspondents after a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari, Alia said the state government owed backlog of salaries, pensions and gratuities.

He said his responsibility as the incoming governor was to remain focused and tackle the myriad of problems facing the state.

“I haven’t looked at the books, so I wouldn’t want to be quite preemptive. Once I’m sworn in, I know that what the good people of Benue want is progress and development. And there’s so much that we need to put on track for things to work. Benue state is an agrarian zone and so we must focus on agriculture and upgrade it.

“Benue is very capable of feeding the whole nation, so we are not just the food basket of the nation by name and I am hoping that we will up our game in agriculture and take care of the rest as well.

“It is sad that the life of civil service in the state is near collapse, it’s in the ICU, so I just need to get in there and infuse life in it and keep it moving.

“We have a lot of backlog of unpaid salaries, pensions and gratuities. So, already I got much on the desk to keep a good focus on and I remain hopeful that I am going to do just that.”

The governor-elect on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC), commended President Buhari for making a firm decision for the elections to take place,” he said.

Alia also spoke on the 2023 elections, saying it may not have been perfect overall but a number of areas in the country recorded a near perfection in the outcome of the results.

“For someone to feel that we have never made the stride in the right directions I think that would be flaw of logic. So, we have done so much and I remain quite grateful.

“My visit is a solidarity visit and President leaves office in a matter of months, I came to wish him well. He has done so much for the nation. Remember, I am a Catholic priest and I prayed for all of us too and shared the blessings with him too,” he said.

Asked what he was going to do to address the animosity that pervades the state over the anti-grazing law and pacify, Alia said: “One thing must remain clear, when you say that the atmosphere was quite tensed, let it be on record that the Benue people are very hospital people. We are very friendly people and over the ages, we’ve lived all cultures and different people. And so if some mishap had happened in the last eight years, thank God the eight years has expired.

“I want everyone to feel that Benue is a home for everyone. Remember, before I am stepping in there as a governor, our history reveals that we have all cultures in Benue and so it is, we have all cultures in Nigeria in Benue. So I believe my time will not be any different.

“If there were some errors, I am coming to correct them. But I know for sure we are hospitable, we are friendly and the Benue State Assembly is also a knowledgeable Assembly.

“So the 10th Assembly is going to work for the people and do the work of the people. If by chance anybody perceived us to be a hostel state, please we are a renewed hope of Benue, a hospitable, friendly, law and order people. So, we are all welcome to Benue as we move in there.”