Agriculture, insecurity and infrastructure have been identified as priority sectors in order to create wealth and employment for the teeming youths in Benue State.
The Governorship hopeful in the 2023 election, under the platform of the All Progressive Party, (APC) Hon. Richard Tersoo Mnenga, said this in Abuja on Wednesday while addressing journalists on the critical areas his administration will focus on if elected in the general election.
Hon. Mnenga who is also a Member, Governing Council of Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) and Federal University Otuoke, Bayelsa State, said as an agricultural state, famous for the production of food, there is the need to focus on irrigation farming which does not only increase yields but also encourage dry season farming.
Citing examples of Israel, Thailand and Kano State here in Nigeria, the governorship aspirant said upon assumption of office, he will construct dams across the states as well as provide other irrigation implement to farmers to boost food production, after which the state government will serve as off takers to prevent wastage.
“Farming activities can be carried out all through the year and it’s very simple to do because Benue people are proud farmers. Instead of our youth engaging in political thuggery, waiting for politicians to give them money, we will keep them busy with mechanised farming because the major priority in Benue is to give a new dimension to Agriculture.
“See the way yams are cultivated in Benue state and if we decided to build Yam flour mills now, it would solve unemployment and enrich the farmers and same thing goes to Orange, Pineapple and Mango, and I will give attention to these areas that have not enjoy attention by previous administration”, he said.
Speaking on the issue of security which has become the bane of development in Nigeria, Hon. Mnenga said there is need for diplomacy and dialogue with Northern elders to find a lasting solution to farmer-herder clashes which has rendered some indigenes homeless from their ancestral lands.
According to him, “Our greatest challenge in Benue state is insecurity but through proper consultation, we can be able to put it to an end, if the criminal activities are curtailed, farmers can go to farm so that our government economy would be improved.
“If I become a Governor, I will dialogue the issue with the relevant stakeholders, especially Northern leaders because I have a good relationship with them so that we can bring it to an end. Insecurity is a global issue, President Buhari home town is not left out and Zamfara is even worst, all these are Fulani State,” he said.
Hon. Richard Tersoo Mnenga said there is the urgent need to improve on basic education and his position as a council member has availed him that singular opportunity to reposition the sector in the state if he is voted the next governor of the state.
He said, “As member representing the North-Central zone, will use my experience in UBEC to upgrade the level of primary education in the state.
“We have travel to many countries, to do a comparative analysis on their basic education and that of ours so as to know how to improve,and there were some basic innovations we have brought to basic education to Nigeria.
” If you must properly train a child, you must start from the basic education and my experience in UBEC, I will do that very well, but my manifesto will inform you better” he explained.
Speaking further on improving Internally Generated Revenue of the state, Hon. Mnenga said his administration will adopt transparency in revenue collection and expenditure, which was hitherto adopted by Governor Aper Aku and Reverend Father Orshio Adasuu.