Vice President, Kashim Shettima, on Wednesday urged the newly-reconstituted board and management of North-East Development Commission (NEDC) to prioritise access to quality education, healthcare and economic opportunities.
Shettima made the call while inaugurating the board and management of the commission at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
The vice president, who emphasised the importance of human capital development, noted that progress was also about empowering minds, cultivating talent, and fostering an environment where dreams can flourish.
“Today, we must remember that development is not merely about bricks and mortar. The commission can only guarantee the safety of the emerging and future generations if it nurtures the seeds that will produce them.
“For Nigeria to regain its stability, this commission must refuse to be extinguished even in the face of adversity, as it has since its establishment.”
Shettima said the inauguration of the newly-reconstituted management was not merely a political protocol but the renewal of the nation’s hope, the making of a legacy and a testament to the commitment of the Tinubu administration to the reconstruction and rehabilitation of the region.
“President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s investment in human capital and development trajectory of the North-East fuels the enthusiasm with which he has prioritized the affairs of the NEDC.”
“I have no doubt that the leadership of this commission is prepared to shoulder the trust placed on it by the government, as it has done in the past years.
“Your impressive fiscal discipline and financial transparency, which have resulted in a credit balance of N222.9 billion in your coffers in the wake of the second quarter of 2023, are marks of the managerial expectations and character for which NEDC is known.
“We must don our combat gear to fulfill our promise of preventing any lapses in our intervention, providing the people an escape from undeserved realities. We must restore the glories of the North-East as a vast land of history and culture, crafts and industry.”
He appealed to leaders and the people of the northeast region to support the new board and management to deliver on its mandate of transforming the region.
According to him, this is a journey we cannot afford to undertake divided.
In his remark, the Chairman of the NEDC board, retired Maj.-Gen. Paul Tarfa, thanked President Tinubu for finding them worthy to serve.
Tarfa assured that the present board would, among other things, focus on implementing human capital development projects in line with the “Renewed Hope Agenda”.
In an interview with newsmen shortly after the inauguration, Gov. Babagana Zulum of Borno, urged the commission to ensure medium- and long-term sustainable solutions and development in the entire North East.
“Because of insurgency, many of our road infrastructures have been damaged. One of our key challenges now is the means of livelihood. So we want to see how the North East Development Commission will invest in critical infrastructure like road infrastructures, and agriculture.
“And then as a result of the removal of fuel subsidy, we want to see how the North East Development Commission will key into the objective of Mr President to cushion the effects of subsidy removal by procuring Electric Buses to ease transportation hardship of the entire people of North East.
“The governors in the zone have promised to provide the desired leadership so that we can work with the North East Development Commission for the growth and development of the entire north east states.”
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the members of the inaugurated board present at the event included the Managing Director of the Commission, Mohammad Alkali; Gambo Maikomo, member (North-East Taraba); Abdullahi Abbas, member (North-West Kano); and Steven Tsav member (North-Central, Benue).
Others are; Mutiu Lawal-Areh, member (South-West, Lagos); Samuel Oni Ebo member (South-East, Abia); Frank Owhor, member (South-South, Rivers); Musa Yashi, Executive Director, Humanitarian Affairs (North-East Bauchi); Ahmed Yahaya, Executive Director, Operations, (North-East Gombe), and Abubakar Iliya, Executive Director Admin and Finance, (North-East, Yobe).
The event was witnessed by some dignitaries, including the NDLEA Chairman, retired Brig.-Gen. Buba Marwa, the Deputy Chief of Staff to the President, Sen. Ibrahim Hadejia; Senators Kaka Lawan and Musliu Obanikoro, and Lagos State APC Chairman, Mr Cornelius Ojelabi, among others.