SPEECH DELIVERED BY THE NATIONAL PRESIDENT OF NATIONAL UNION OF
BENUE STATE STUDENTS (S) COMRADE TITUS TSAVWUA AKO ON
THE OCCASION OF THE COURTESY CALL ON THE SENATE PRESIDENT OF
THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA SENATOR ANYIM PIUS ANYIM ON THE
12th DEC. 2000.
Other Principal Officers,
Gentlemen of the Press,
It is my special gratitude to God that we all have the privilege to sit here today in this office under a people based democratic environment. Some two years ago various degrees of skepticism prevailed on our minds and tended to sway our reasoning far away from such a day and moment as this. We must remain glad to God as being among His chosen to see this hour.
Though belated, let me congratulate you on behalf of my Exco and the generality of Benue Students for your well deserved election, your successful swearing-in and final assumption of office as the Senate President of our great country Nigeria. The enormity of the task can not be overemphasised, but the people of your constituency and other Nigerians found you most fit and capable to fulfil their aspirations. We, the Benue Students share this trust commonly with our fellow Nigerians. This is the moral responsibility which you have undertaken to hold for Nigerian people.
Although it is not for mortals to command success everyone who has had the fortune of knowing you, affectionately and sincerely believes that you deserve this honour and much more. For you have touched the lives of many with love and generosity. Your inspirational life has remain one shining example for others to emulate. Today, Benue Students’ hearts lift and thrill in joy, admiration and appreciation that the Messiah the House of Senate have been looking for has come. We are also sharing in the joy of your achievements and the height you have attained. May the garment of honour and these bold imprints last for a lifetime.
As student leaders, we salute your impressive start by the maturity and civilised modus operandi of the House. On this note we also pledge our support and loyalty with the recognition of their precise relevance in our common pursuit to transform Nigeria from potentially great nation to a realistically great and enviable nation.
The National Union of Benue State Students (NUBESS) is the umbrella forum for all students of Benue State origin. When it was first started in the 70’s by our illustrious fathers, it aimed to created a central body that would vanguard the cause of fighting for the protection of the right of Benue Students within Nigeria and in the Diaspora.
Today however, with the proliferation of vices in our educational system such as cultism, examination malpractice and such negative attitudes as early marriage and neglect of girl-child education, the scope of objectives of NUBESS has inevitably widen to embrace these.
Today, the central concern is not only to be the voice of Benue students. It is also the soap and water to wash clean and restore the image of Benue students from the dirt of these vices. My government has already launched an active campaign against cultism, examination malpractice and we are also launching an Anti-Violence Campaign and presentation of NUBESS National Awards in February next year. At this juncture, Mr. President, we plea that, you be the special Guest of Honour and also present the Awards to the deserving personalities on that day.
Distinguished Senate President Sir, Your favourable disposition to other distinguished senators and the generality of Nigerians is a clear indication of your resolve to carry everybody along and this is highly commendable. Sir, we the Benue Youths are very happy and remain highly appreciative to your kind heartedness and sense of a united Nigeria and oneness for having appointed one of our illustrious sons, Hon. Terwase Orbunde as your special assistant. This gesture is a clear demonstration of the beauty of democracy, we are also assuring you without reservation that, He will never disappoint you.
While we remain supportive to your leadership, it is our humble desire to bring to your Atice that, Benue State considers Agriculture and Education as the only viable keys to unlocking the clutches of poverty and setting the state on developmental course. It is in this direction that, emphasis is laid on Agriculture hence that has boosted the state as the Food Basket of the Nation.
On the part of Education, we wish to present these request to the appropriate authorities through your humble self that:
(1) Benue State has eight (8) tertiary institutions including a state owned university in Makurdi, two Colleges of Education and others. Among the two Colleges of Education, one is desired to be converted into a Federal College of Education.
Frantic efforts have been made and several appeals made to the Federal Government to at least take over any of the Colleges of Education as to reduce the financial burden on the state and in order to bring Federal presence in Benue State.
(2) NATIONAL LIBRARY
It is disheartening to note that, Benue State is the only state in the federation that does not have a National library since its creation in 1976 out of Benue Plateau State. In the mist of all these spectacular absence of Federal presence in the state, Benue Student suffers on his own to farm and concurrently go to school without good library, dilapidated facilities in schools and the future remains gloomy. This is not a demand but a necessity.
(3) INTER STATE KILLING OF BENUE PEOPLE
Your Excellency, as leaders of tomorrow, we the Benue students and the entire Benue people want the House in which you are the leader to note that, At all times when our collective fate and destiny is threatened it behoves on us to stand up and fight the reactionary forces of retrogression. We owe ourselves this duty and the generations to come will not forgive us if we watch the destruction of the future of our state with stoic silence. Sir, we draw the attention of the House of Senate to the killings of the people of Benue State by the people of Taraba State with Amour tanks, and if one may ask, where are they getting these weapons that are meant for the federal government? Enough is enough.
(4) FEDERAL SECRETARIAT.
Equally noteworthy is that, inspite the fact that one can find notable administrators of Benue State in virtually all spheres of life in the country, it is rather unfortunate that, the state does not have a Federal Secretariat. A cursory look at other states reveals that, in terms of federal presence, Benue State is seriously left behind and it is either that the Federal Military Government in the past does not have the interest of the Benue people at heart or something is fundamentally wrong in the state. We want you to correct this before your tenure ends.
(5) REV. FR. MOSES O. ADASU’S ISSUE
This issue is a common topic of absorbed discussion among students/youths and the entire people of Benue State all over the country. We wish to state here very clearly that, who ever made the choice of the Revd. Gentleman as a member of the Ant-Corruption Commission, made it in the interest of Benue people and the love for Nigeria. The intelligent and highly disciplined fellow students of Benue State have always remained passive even at the highest point of provocation ensuring that our leaders will safe-guard, protect and advance the interest of all Benue students. In this regard we are hopeful you will play your fatherly role to advice other members of the House to still stick to that choice.
Mr. President sir, We wish to humbly appeal that when good times come in the House of senate for the allocation of project(s) like those mentioned above or other issues, you would be disposed to any argument in favour of Benue State by virtue of your official position and personal capacity as a highly illustrious son of Nigeria, our father, pace-setter and by your characteristic considerate disposition.
Finally, I can not end this speech without praying to God to grant you good health, wisdom, understanding, the spirit of compromise, dialogue consensus building and good conscience to effectively perform your duty. Count on our total support and loyalty in your effort to make Nigeria what it should be.
Once again, accept our pleasure at this privilege accorded NUBESS at this occasion.
Long live the Senate President.
Long live National Union of Benue State Students.
Long live the Federal Republic of Nigeria.