Presented by: Tavershima Adyorough, Special Assistant to the Honorable Minister
1. This is my 2nd time as the Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, that I would complete plans to be with you at the annual convention but, to be informed last minute of a Presidential assignment. In 2012, when you were in Grand Rapids, Michigan I came as close as Detroit, Michigan before the President called that I was needed at the Ministry’s budget defence. This year, the last minute Presidential decision to travel with my senior colleague means that I must be in the country to steer the Ministry’s affairs.
2. Distinguished August visitors, MUTA brothers and sisters, MUTA friends and MUTA’s second generation Americans I want to thank the Almighty God for His grace upon my life and countless blessings. Also, I want to thank God for the wisdom of MUTA’s leadership to give me this exceptional opportunity to address you at your convention, once again. I very much appreciate MUTA’s leadership for recognizing me in the cabinet of President Jonathan’s administration. Our demographic strength as the 4th most populous ethnic group in Nigeria, should have given us more than one ministerial position. But, for us to have only one cabinet position of the Minister of State means we have been marginalized at this time in this dispensation and are loosing out speedily in influence and policy shifts.
3. I want to re-echo again, that the Tiv nation must be united and her sons and daughters repent and come back to God for us to recapture our lost ground. Job 36:11 says, “If they obey and serve him, they shall spend their days in prosperity, and their years in pleasures.” and the same Job 36:12 says, ” But if they obey not, they shall perish by the sword, and they shall die without knowledge.” I want to acknowledge MUTA’s role in bringing peace and unity in Tivland.Yours is the only institution that has stood tall in the past 22 years in supporting Tiv causes in nonsectarian ways. You must remain apolitical.
4. The Tiv people of yesterday were their brother’s’ keepers. What has happened to those virtues of Tiv people? As recently as 1999, we projected a united front and things were well for us in Nigeria. Our brothers and sisters, sons and daughters had the President’s ear with befitting federal appointments. To crown it all, the Chairman of the People’s Democratic Party, the largest political party in Africa was our brother. We are no longer looking out for each other. We’re fighting each other for crumbs. We have thrown away our core values and no longer cherish our ideals of consensus building in selecting our leaders. For the Tiv people of today and tomorrow to be relevant in Nigeria and achieve harmonious growth and development, we must come together and pray to God to fight for us so that we can have peace and progress. [Exo. 14:14]. We must love each other and discuss regularly to find a common ground for our development aspirations.
5. The Transformation Agenda of President Jonathan has created exciting opportunities and development initiatives in Nigeria. The challenge in Nigeria now is to cultivate the culture of work, honesty, and savings. At the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment we have created a conducive environment for FDI and domestic investments. The personal income and corporate tax laws have been overhauled to spur and attract investments. My ministry has launched crucial development programs aimed at industrialization and job creation. The National Enterprise Development Program (NEDEVP) links all the key sectors of primary & industrial production together for policy planning and implementation. While the New National Automotive Policy is aimed at reducing automobile imports and making Nigeria’s highways safe from unworthy vehicles, the President’s privatisation of the power sector initiative has been reported as one of the major policy accomplishments of this administration because it’s the key to unleashing the entrepreneurial ingenuity of Nigerians.
6. Finally, it might interest you to know that while supervising the Ministry of Aviation, we initiated a few programs and identified opportunities that have positioned Benue State on a new path for rapid industrialization.
i) Negotiated the reopening of commercial flights to Makurdi. Now, Overlook Airlines schedules flights to Makurdi from Abuja for Wednesday, Friday, & Sunday.
ii) Have identified Greater Makurdi as an Air Cargo transportation hub that can eventually become an aerotropolis where industrialization can take root. This hub will become a distribution centre and export zone for fresh farm produce in Nigeria. With this, an agriculture value chain export-oriented economy can emerge in the Benue valley. This is a wealth creation strategy for our people.
7. I understand MUTA is a nonprofit organisation, so I cannot discuss my political ambition in this goodwill message. However, my campaign Director-General, Hon. Tsenongo Abancha is in your midst and will discuss my gubernatorial aspirations and vision in an appropriate forum. He will also participate fully in your fundraising event on my behalf.