“THE BENUE MIRACLE”
MY VISION AND BLUEPRINT FOR PROSPERITY:
ITS TIME TO MAKE POVERTY HISTORY
2015 is the Year. Who is the man?
It’s fast approaching. We know it, we feel it, and we all wait eagerly in great anticipation. It is the year, set for the real democratic change many of you have always longed for.
The year 2015 presents a golden opportunity for a new hope. Hope for a better future. A living hope for a new wind of prosperity under a new government; a government with a new vision and new direction. I know you all look forward to such; a government that will open a new chapter in our lives. I know you look forward to a new government that will rewrite the story of your life and the history of our dear Benue State. For your heart desire a better life, for you and your children.
Make no mistake about it, this coming election is all about a choice between two alternatives: change or a maintenance of the status quo. Change means – a democratic change in leadership, change in government, change in the direction of government. This election is not about me. It’s about you; your future, your life and your destiny. I believe we are standing on the threshold of new era – an era that presents new choices and challenges.
I also believe that under the demands of the times, we need a new kind of leadership. A leadership committed to change; a leadership that will reinvent government; a “virgin” leadership that is not be mired in the divisive and acrimonious politics of the past. We need a new leadership that is not bound or limited by old ways of thinking and doing things; a leadership that can solve the real problems of real people. Today, we need a leadership that will be the “answer to the “Question” of the times. This is why I stand. And I believe its time.
We certainly do not need a governor who doesn’t know that to do for the people of Benue State.
We need a Governor who knows what to do with the abundant natural wealth of the State. We need a Governor who knows what to do for the good people of Benue. Talk is cheap, so we need a Governor who walks the talk – who can convert potential wealth to real wealth.
The world is fast changing at an unprecedented speed. Our governments too, must change. Without equivocation, I make bold to state that its time for our government to change course and open a new chapter. Its time to change its way of thinking and doing things. To do otherwise, or to pursue the maintenance of the dead orthodoxy, tradition or status-quo as some clamor and campaign for, would be inimical to progress. Majority of the people are already hurting, under the pangs of extreme poverty and despair. A change of course is the most appropriate line of action to toe, if we must move out of this economic quagmire that besets us.
This is why I stand. I seek to reinvent the government and to make it more efficient and more effective. It takes a smart government to build a strong economy.
We are in difficult times. Times that require a necessary rethink under a visionary leadership. Genuine change is imperative. This change is not a mere cosmetic or simple change of guard or partisan affair. Because, real change is not a proprietary property to any person , group , or a political party. Rather, it springs from above, and is transcendental, cutting across the divide of the ever blurring lines of our political parties. Change is the one common denominator and currency in the Nigerian political landscape today. as some migrate into different political parties and exit same with equal gusto, it is all in the quest for that ideal, or pursuit actuated by the desire for change. It must be placed into the hands of a “Change Agent” if we are to progress and develop.
It’s time for a great New Beginning.
And in the beginning was God! To time be honour and glory and praise, now and forever. Amen. It is my privilege and honor to speak to you.
Before I go on, I must first recognize and honor all our forebears and past leaders; Presidents and Heads of State, all military and Civilian Governors, who have at various times and seasons, and in various ways contributed to Benue Story. Secondly, I express my appreciation for the efforts of our incumbent Governor whose policy thrust and energies have been focused toward laying a solid foundation for the future of our dear state. I would also like to use this opportunity to express my deep appreciation to our Governor for rising up to the demands of the times and challenge of the insurgency by the Fulani Herdsmen. My special appreciation also goes to Mr. President. This, I say from a pure conscience in truth. Thomas Jefferson once declared that, “In matters of fashion, swim with the crowd. In matters of conscience, stand like a rock.” So I stand.
Government is a continuum, and he who lays a solid foundation, sets the tone for a building that will last; he sets the tone for a state and an economy that will endure. Because most “foundations” are often buried, the cynics may not always appreciate, yet with loud eloquence the works speak. The building of a first class infrastructure is foundational and very critical to the socio-economic development of any nature of state. This, he has initiated, earning for himself the appellation “Mr. Infrastructure”. To this, we doff our hats.
For me, come 2015 when voted into office, I shall continue the job of building, albeit differently. I seek to be the answer to the demands of the times; to be the people’s Governor, a Mr. Development, who will empower the people and rebuild the lives of those shattered by years of denigrating poverty. Throughout history, I am yet to find that single leadership, that single President, that single Governor, who initiates, exhausts and completes all works and ends of job of nation – building in his limited tenure.
There is always something someone else could have done a little bit more, or a little more differently. That is why the democratic system makes for the periodic change of leadership and government such as 2015 offers us. Shall we not seize this golden opportunity? For this change epoch signifies the end of one’s tenure in office; it is neither an indictment of this administration, nor in judgment of it; but rather a character and culture of the democratic process. It is a season and a change worthy of a double celebration.
Our incumbent Governor has laid the foundation. He has navigated the ship of state through stormy seas; against overwhelming odds – such odds that would have sunk many a captain or caused him to suffer shipwreck. Notwithstanding the imperfections of man and the continuing storms of adversity, he sails on, his hands ever at the helm, suffering no shipwreck. This he done to lighten the load in some areas for whoever will take over the mantle of leadership from taking over the baton, or Helmsmanship from him come 105 – the year set for the real democratic change many of you have yearned for. Yours sincerely is a veritable change agent who comes with a new wind of change and prosperity for all.
Throwing My Hat in the Ring.
I speak with my Hat for the 2015 guber race in my hand. With all sense of humility, responsibility, and honor, I am most pleased at this occasion, to formally let you know that at the right time, I shall be throwing this hat, right before your eyes, and in your presence and under your applause and approval, into the ring for the guber race come 2015. This is a bold step; the audacity of Hope and a faith unfeigned. Faith in God and confidence in the power of your vote. That same audacity that saw Senator Barack Obama into the Whitehouse as the 44th President of the United States of America.
I belong to the do – something generation.
I have chosen not be abdicate from the great task before us; a great burden and responsibility to bring beneficial change and impact my generation. This, I realize is a Herculean task with enormous demands. Yet, I my proceed undaunted, knowing its time. Its time for our government to change course under a new Captain at the Helm. Its time to cross over from poverty to prosperity. Its time to eradicate poverty and introduce shared prosperity. Yes, its time and yes we can.
I throw my hat in the ring with the quest confidence that power in this democracy resides with you, the people, through the freedom of choice that only a democracy can avail you. I step forward, knowing fully well that in this election, you will make the right choice on the side of a new face and a new vision for prosperity; and that your votes will count. For you shall protect them (your votes) like the ferocious lion, her cubs. I stand as a new face on the scene, to open a new chapter in our lives. I come before you with a new vision, new thinking and new direction come 2015.
PETER CHIESHE – the Change Agent from Within.
The change I seek is a systematic change, a change of pathway, policy, style and direction of government. I shall take a different path and strategy when in office. I stand as a change agent from within the ruling PDP. I am disillusioned with the way things are – with the state of the economy. I know my government is hamstrung. Properly repositioned, PDP will be the preferred darling party it once was. But I love my party, have been a loyal member since 1999, without any personal democracy dividend to benefit from. Yet, I refused to jump ship or decamp. That will be cheap abdication and not too responsible a move on my part. Staying to bring the needed change from within is my objective.
I seek change because, I hate the dead traditional orthodoxy. When elected, I shall seek change; a change away from the traditional orthodoxy of running government. I intend to follow a different path toward development and governance. This not in condemnation of the status-quo which some seek to maintain; but more in preference of the most excellent way that meets the demands of the times. The whole world is changing at an unprecedented speed, will our governments not change? Change is imperative.
The people are reeling under the yoke of poverty, a denigrating poverty. They care less about party ideologies, empty rhetoric or circuitous bureaucracy that guzzles up good plans, projects and the commonwealth. The people simply want a “True Democrat” – they want genuine democracy and a caring, responsible and responsible govt.; a government that opens up the economy and opportunities for development and upward social mobility; a government that helps the people; that empowers them to maximize their potentials. That is the government that I will run when elected.
2015: THE BIG QUESTION ABOUT THE ELECTION.
I know that 2015 election is about an Answer to the Big Question regarding our fate and destiny as a united people.
The big question is a bundle of burning issues of; mass poverty, a weak domestic economy, the feel of a distant government; an agrarian and civil-service oriented state; a state so dependent on the monthly allocation from the Federation Account – allocation that is fast dwindling. The Benue issue concerns the rising youth unemployment.
This is a time bomb! We must rise up to diffuse it. Yet the big question isn’t limited to only these issues. This is the big question for which I seek to be the simple answer if elected as Governor. The times call for someone with a matching vision and roadmap for wealth creation, employment generation, purposeful and accountable leadership. It calls for an entrepreneurial government, with a new vision and new direction. It calls for a new leadership with a new vision; new thinking, and new ways of doing things.
It calls for a wealth creator, and job creator. Someone who would expand, diversity and deliberately grow the Benue economy away from its current dependence on the allocations from the Federation Account. It calls for someone of unique vision who would go beyond tradition and lip-service to open up the tremendous opportunities for economic growth, industrialization, and investments in the agricultural sector. It calls for someone who would unlock our potentials an get the people back to productive enterprise. Someone who will engender a new wave of entrepreneurship and the growth and blossoming of a dynamic private sector as the engine of growth for the new economy.
THE ANSWER TO “THE BIG QUESTION”.
It calls for leadership with a vision to build an economy that will last and provide good, well-paying jobs for all our youths. Someone who will industrialize the state focusing on the manufacturing sector – with cement manufacturing, food processing, modern commercial agricultural and agro-industry being the cornerstone. Someone who will build an economy that will break our dependence on Abuja – allowing us to banish poverty from our midst; to savor or to enjoy true economy liberation with the freedom thereof. We need someone who will wean Benue off this Abuja “milk”.
This to me, is the Answer come 2015. May I, under the mighty hand of God together with you, be the Answer.
I realize that who of you who have known me for sometime will attest that come 2015, Peter Chieshe will make a square peg, in a square hole of Government House Makurdi if you put in there, through the power of your choice and vote. Or a round peg in a round hole.
Ours is no longer a smothering or fledgling democracy. We are learning hard lessons and fast maturing into a stable democratic Nigeria. T he current hiccups in the system only go to show the inner reflux of our democratic practice under necessary trial, growth and refinement. For the cynics and doomsayers, Nigeria will not break up. We are a resilient people our people are simply exercising their freedoms of choice, association and speech, albeit sometimes in ways that are in breach of the democratic and civilized ethos seen in the long – matured and stable democracies.
I know that in me, you will be choosing a governor of vision, industry and known antecedents, who will unite the people under a common goal. A visionary leader who will initiate and speedily execute programs that will move us away from the shackles of poverty to the bliss of prosperity and hope. To a better future for us and all our children. I know you desire a genuine change in the affairs of your lives, your state and government. I know that in your innermost hearts, you yearn for this change and are searching for a governor who will be close to you like a friend, and a good helper who does not grow weary. A helper who will walk the rough road and walk of life with you.
Your heart searches for a governor who will have a heart and a listening ear for you. A governor who will help take away the shame of poverty from you. A governor who will empower you. A governor, who will embrace everyone irrespective of where he/she comes from. A governor, who will not be a MINDA Governor. Yes, a Governor who will not be a JERCHIRA Governor. A governor will not be an IDOMA Governor. A governor will not be given to the limitations of mediocrity, parochialism, tribalism, clannishness, and a narrow worldview.
Come 2015, Benue needs more than a governor. We need a servant – leader, someone with an all-embracing, big-picture mentality, one who will be the true leader and governor of the whole Benue state irrespective of our political leaning or tribe. This again, I hope you will find in me. For there is only one Benue State of Nigeria and I shall be the governor of a united Benue offering equal opportunities and access to all.
We are in very unusual times, trying time, difficult times that stretch our endurance beyond breaking limits. Mass poverty pervades the entire length and breadth of the land. The twin problems of mass poverty and raising youth unemployment bedevil the people. Before 2007, there was poverty in the land. This poverty we know, preceded the incumbent Governor’s election into Government House Makurdi. And it shall not disappear with his exit from office come 2015. Yet for many exit options from poverty remains a nightmare.
For majority of our poor folks, despair and a growing sense of hopelessness is fast crystallizing in their hearts. Many are wondering if life is even worth living. We appear set on a downward spiral of despondency in the sea of the common man who is the majority in the land. No one is left out, except perhaps for a select few; the privilege. But abundant life and prosperity is not a preserve for a select class. It is for all of God’s children. It’s time a voice speaks for the voiceless.
These things bother me profoundly. I have lived with you long enough to know your pains, frustrations and deepest hopes and yearning for a better and brighter future. I know poverty firsthand. It denigrates, I have been here. It dehumanizes. I know the pangs of business failure arising from financial suffocation without life support or help coming the way of a young budding indigenous entrepreneur, manufacturer and industrialist. I have been denied support and patronage at critical times; and excluded from the commonwealth by all my governments.
For those of you who have felt your government has been too far away from you, and has left you to stew in your toil, and sweat, your frustration and seeming helplessness, I share your plight and know your pains and heart prayer for an accessible government and a governor who will grant you access in your hour of need. I say to you, hope and help is on the way.
Do I blame the government? Maybe not. For government cannot do all things for us. This we realize. But that notwithstanding, government can and should do a lot for us by performing its obligatory constitutional duties. Duties which explain the very need or raison d’être of all government in the first place. The performance of such roles justifies the need for government, most especially, during a democracy or the people’s government – where we enthrone a government of the people, for the people, by the people. So we expect much from our governments. And successful governments are those who do so much for their people.
Mass poverty, skyrocketing youth unemployment, a weak domestic economy amidst dwindling monthly allocation from the Federation Account presents a dangerous mix. This is a mix that is a recipe, rife for a time-bomb if left unattended to. This ugly situation is totally unacceptable to any good conscience. Shall we not rise up to action? The future and destiny of all our people is at stake. This calls for someone to rise up to the challenges of the times. So rise I. I stand. I shall speak more.