…As Unprecedented crowd honours his inauguration in Makurdi
From Scholastica Onyeka, Makurdi
It was an unprecedented crowd today at the Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida, (IBB) Square in Makurdi, the Benue State capital, during the inauguration of the new governor, Rev. Fr. Hyacinth Alia.
As early as 7:30am on Monday, early callers who left neighbouring Local Governments like Tarka, Gboko, Guma, Gwer and Gwer West, had started arriving the IBB square while others from the remaining local government areas joined.
It was observed that at about 10am, the square was filled to capacity with several groups adorned in separate uniforms, all excited to witness the inauguration.
The event which was billed to begin by 10 am didn’t start until 12:30 but the surged until there was no standing space for much movement.
Alia was sworn in at about 1:30 pm by the state Chief Judge, Justice Maurice Ikpambese. After which he inspected the parade to the cheers of the Benue people.
Delivering his inaugural speech, Alia informed the people that the long awaited renewed hope has arrived.
He noted that as a governor his administration will work with security agencies in the state and the Federal Government to curb the crisis of insecurity.
He also promised to prioritize job creation with emphasis on agriculture payment adding that he will clear backlog of civil servants salaries and pensioners within the shortest time possible.
“I will respond swiftly to the crisis of insecurity, dampened morale from non-payment of salaries, pensions and gratuity, dilapidated infrastructure, a broken economy, an even more broken civil service, massive unemployment and underemployment, endemic corruption, and malaise.”
Alia who noted that the period of campaigns is over urged his co-contestants to join hands with him to build a better Benue saying he is not governor of All Progressives Congress, (APC), but governor of all.
“It is now time for governance. I am not Governor for APC. I am the Governor of Benue State. I want to extend a hand of fellowship to you all. Please join hands with us so we can build back Benue
better than it ever was.
Alia said he has ordered all banks accounts of the state to be frozen until the signatories to the accounts are changed, warning that any bank found flouting the order will be doing such at its peril.
Speaking to our correspondent, a resident of Makurdi, Mr Terdoo James said this was the first time Benue is witnessing such mammoth crowd at an inauguration.
“I am not surprised. The Benue people have waited for this moment and it is expected that everyone will converge to witness the inauguration.”
Mr Terdoo however called on the new Governor to settle down quickly to the business of governance and ensure “that he does not disappoint this crowd that have gathered here today.
“Alia must prioritize security and payment of salaries, pensions and gratuities especially in the first quarter of his administration. If this is done, every other sector will follow,” he said.
Another resident, Mrs Angela Onah said she came all the way from Otukpo to witness the inauguration. “I didn’t want to hear it as a story. I came so that I can witness it myself. We civil servants have suffered so much and we are here to behold the face of the man who have promised us hope, celebrate him and wish him well as he takes over from the outgoing government,” she said.