President Muhammadu Buhari has met with the Benue State Governor-elect, Hyacinth Alia, at the Presidential Villa Abuja on Wednesday.
Speaking to State House correspondents after the closed door meeting with the president, Alia frowned at the condition of the Benue State civil service.
According to him, the state’s civil service is in a state of near collapse and in Intensive Care Unit (ICU), but he has come to infuse life into it and keep it moving.
Alia noted that the state owes backlog of salaries, pensions and gratuities and he hopes to remain focus and tackle the myriad of issues on his desk when he takes over office on May 29.
Asked if he would be probing his predecessor against the backdrop of his letter to the Benue Investment Property Company, warning them of financial transactions with the incumbent governor, Alia said:
“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.
On the animosity that pervades the state over the anti-grazing law, 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 hostile 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.”