Photo: Governor Ortom of Benue state
Makurdi is a city Capital where both political and commercial importance of Benue state is placed. Located within the confluence.
Of Nigeria, lying on the southern bank of the Benue river following the division of Benue-Plateau state into two states, Makurdi was selected as the capital of Benue state in 3 Feb. 1976.
Makurdi is located on the main highway network linking states like; Enugu, Ebonyi, Kogi and Nassarawa. As an agrarian state, Makurdi is known for its high production of sesame seeds, sesame old, cotton, yams, sorghum, millet, rice, cassava, shea-nuts, peanuts, soyabeans, just to mention but a few. As a state capital, it inhabit the Igede’ Idoma’s, the Jukun’s and the Tivs who are the aborigines.
Been recorded as one of the oldest state capital in the middle belt but had regrettably suffered neglect from the cooled hand of egocentric leaders, merchant of loots, who parade themselves as leaders.
If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to view a city from a bird’s perspective, you won’t like to fly through the Benue state capital as the view to behold will not be pleasant at all. For since its creation, the beautiful capital had remained behind development. Comparing Makurdi with some state local government headquarters is never out of place as one can hardly see well defined streets, workable streets lights, functional factory or industry and any 4 star hotels in the state.
As a link state, Makurdi can only be known for its popular Wurukum roundabout with a decaying foodbasket which for long had lost touch with modern sculptural modification. Unevenly, sociological literature had established a clear link between modernization and increasing levels of criminality ( Galbraith-1958) especially crime had been on the loose as high rate of kidnapping, rape, cultism just to mention but a few is masquerading itself in the very nose of state security service.
This entire aforementioned are associated with non interest of the state governor on youths empowerment. This is no doubt the by-product of visionless leaders.
It is surprisingly therefore, that the mass exodus youths from the state is as a result of hardship. Development they say brings happiness. But in Makurdi instead of a well planned infrastructural development, unplanned shanties kept mounting pressure thereby making the state not admirable by passersby, due to its impoverishment; these disorderly growth has no doubt promoted social dis-valued for no rightful thinking investor would like to invest in an unplanned capital city.
This social dis-value has promoted child abuse and by extension, the state law enforcement agencies are relatively inefficient, ill-equipped and corrupt, while policies designed by state government are apparently targeted at low income earners in the state.
Forty one year after creation, Makurdi still remained an abandoned property, waiting for God’s mercy.
Benue state has produced sixteen governors whose impact were not felt except for the effort of spirited individuals who used their tenure in bettering the life of the people here on earth and for the rest governors, only God know the account they will give hereafter
History will never be in a hurry to forget; Mr. Aper Aku(1979-1983) for his name has ever been on the line burner as a true man with conscience, single handedly he planned Makurdi to what it is today.
Then African had not embraced digitalization but the records of his developmental strides were visible. Roads, streets, industries, bottling company and the rest you can think of were initiated by him alone followed by Rev, Fr. Adasu who’s effort to better Makurdi still remain bold but was letter truncated by enemies within. Since army handed over power to civilians and democracy became an option which has been accepted by all, no meanful development has been recorded in Makurdi.
Regrettably, Dr. George Akume’s administration of 1999 snowballed the vision-less syndrome we have talked about in Makurdi, followed by Dr. Suswan who the people have had cause to regret why they voted him into government house Makurdi, a man respected by all before, finally engulfed himself with lies corruption and above all his quest for mundane things became his priority and it is on note that, in several occasion he had bragged to be the most richest Tiv man. His eight years has nothing to show.
While his successor, Dr. Samuel Ortom, the most respectable role model had also got himself roled in the mud of the worst performing governor, these ex-minister and a minister of God had not initiate any meaningful project in Makurdi, neither has he done anything to halt the incessant killings of his people by the marauding Fulani’s as a chief security officer in the state.
The only complain these non performing governors have always is; ‘the federal allocation to the state is too meager to meet up with eminent challenges. It could be recall that, Benue, Gombe, Nassarawa,Bauchi fell into the same figure of this national share. And these states have even done well by developing their state capital, making it attractive. But what is wrong with Benue? The street light you see this year is what you will see in the next one or two decades, no meaningful changes here and there, the recent FAAC released figure had really shown that behind even states who’s figures are far below that of Benue state: plateau state, 5.7bn. Nassarawa state. 7.41bn. Anambra 8.7bn. Bauchi 7.9bn. Borno 9.74bn, Gombe 6.35bn while Benue 8.16bn just for this year. But the current governor of gombe state with his meagre allocation was able to; build roads,flyover,fix streets lights and the rest thereby bringing the state to eyes of admirers. the Benue state governor should not forget that, there had never been reasonable excuse any failure.
Dr. Ortom should make his leadership impervious to external influences and correct the ills of the past administration by hurriedly coming up with an eye catchy architectural prototype of a modern Makurdi.
To this end, i urge the peoples governor to look in the direction of bettering Makurdi the abandoned state capital and should also install transparency in job execution and dove tail effectively into the APC mantra project. More importantly the governor should as a matter of urgency help salvage the people leaving along the Wurukum road, and its environs from the life of squalor, deprivation by providing infrastructure such as good streets road, and ensure stable electricity supply by distributing enough KVA’s transformers to help boost power supply as these areas have become a milking point of discos without commensurate supply of electricity.
It is on record that, this is the first time a leader closer to the people would emerge from within them ( Executive governor) to be abreast with the challenges being faced by the people.
By. Comr. Paul Edoh, Jnr.
An Abuja based columnist and an education activist