Prof Shija Promises To Industrialize Benue If Elected Governor

A governorship aspirant on the platform of the All Progressives Congress in Benue State, Prof Terhember Shija, Monday, said he would tackle unemployment through job creation if elected.

Shija stated this during a programme monitored by THE WHISTLER in Makurdi. He regretted the state of Benue despite its rich agricultural and solid minerals endowment.

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According to him, “Benue is richly blessed with mineral deposits. Take limestone for instance, you can find limestone in nine different local government areas across Benue.

“However, no administration in Benue State has made conscious efforts or taken practical steps towards setting up cement factories in the state.

“The one that was set up and sold to Dangote was established by the federal government. I will set up cement and other agro-related industries to give employment to our teaming youths.”

The professor of African Literature and Critical Theory decried the deplorable state of things in the state, which he blamed on maladministration and greed of some leaders privileged to serve the state.

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He promised to change tide and ensure that the right thing was done if elected governor in next year’s general elections.

He further regretted the collapse of the local government administration, which he said gave rise to insecurity in the state.

In his words, “The local government system has collapsed. There is poor or near absence of intelligence gathering at the local government level, and it has made our local communities to be vulnerable to mindless attacks.

“When I become governor, I will strengthen the local government system and appoint a commissioner for local government with cabinet responsibilities.

“I will give the local government chairmen ample chance operate, but I will also monitor that tier of government through the local government auditor. I will give no room for corruption.”

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Prof Shija, a former commissioner for local government and chieftaincy affairs in the state, praised Amotekun, a regional security network set up by the Yoruba states in the West. He said if elected, his administration would protect the state through home-grown initiatives.

Quoting him, “Ours will not be an all-out war approach. We will also engage our neighbours in dialogues. They are human beings and we will talk to them.

“I will task the Tor Tiv and all the traditional rulers to engage their counterparts across the country.”

Prof Shija advised the APC in the state to ‘go for the best of the aspirants seeking to fly the party’s flag in the forthcoming gubernatorial elections’. He reinstated his love for direct primaries adopted by the APC stakeholders in the state, saying his first victory that took him to the House of Representatives in 1992 came through the direct primaries.

He however expressed concerns that the process might be hijacked by those ‘who are hell bent on imposing candidates on the party and the good people of Benue’.

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