A former deputy to the incumbent Governor of Nasarawa State, Hon Dameshi Luka Barau, has said that the people Democratic Party in the state risks losing in the forthcoming general elections if he is not picked as the party’s governorship candidate for the 2019 poll in the state.
Barau, who is a governorship aspirant on the platform of the PDP in the state, spoke at the party state secretariat in Lafia, the state capital, when he visited the Executives to formally present his letter of intent at the weekend.
The aspirant claimed that he was one of those who nursed the party to become what it was today, having defected to the PDP from then ruling Congress for Progressive Change sometime in 2013 and had remained a member till date.
Barau argued that it had, therefore, become imperative for the PDP in Nasarawa State to consider him as its governorship standard bearer in the 2019 election.
The former deputy governor, who spent two years in office with the incumbent Governor Al-Makura on the platform of the defunct CPC, but later defected to the PDP, lambasted the style of leadership in the state, insisting that Nasarawa under the present administration of the All Progressives Congress-led government of Tanko Al-Makura had no excuse for paying salaries to its workers in percentages.
According to him, the entire wage bill of the workers in the state is not above N2.2billion, whereas more than N5billion is the total revenue accruable to the state from the Federation account.
The PDP gubernatorial hopeful added that most of the projects seen today as the achievements of the Al-Makura administration were initiated by him, adding that that was why since his exit from the government, no new projects had been designed.
“I have served the state as a commissioner, when cabinet members were not the governor’s rubber stamp. Issues brought forth at that time were well argued, discussed before embarking on its execution, but today it is not so. We can’t continue like this. I make bold to tell you that one of my initiative was the establishment of the fertilizer blending plant, which, before that time, fertilizer was imported at a high cost, and I thought it wise that if we could have a blending plant, the state would not only have sufficient fertilizers for our farmers, but it will help in saving funds for the state,” Barau said.
He said that the previous government before 2011 hardly paid workers monthly salaries without borrowing up to N800million from the banks to augment what had been deducted from the subvention, because of previous loans released to the state from the federation account as monthly.
Barau, however, said through his experience in government, he sought Governor Al-Makura’s permission to meet with the banks, which resulted in some positive steps, adding that the development led to the state realising over N1.02billion, which made it possible for the government to pay salaries of workers without borrowing in the first month of being in office.
He said, “I can authoritatively say that in Nasarawa state, we have no reason whatsoever for paying salaries in percentages. Quote me anywhere, I can defend myself, because the subvention that is coming to the state today, I don’t want to mention figures, but reasonably, above the salaries statutes of the state. That’s the truth and if you take up to 40 percentage of what is released to the state today, I believe the salaries of Nasarawa workers, at most, is not above N2billion. I know, of recent, the subvention that came to the state and other sources is over
“So, supposing you take N2billion plus, you can pay full salaries, without borrowing from anywhere and the importance of doing that is that all will be able to benefit directly or indirectly. But today, the government is the same organ that is impoverishing our people. What is the rationale in giving N100,000 to someone who is supposed to be paid N1,000.000 or N16,000 to a worker who is billed to go home with N30,000. I know this is what is going on. I see these as evil.”
The PDP governorship aspirant said with his wealth of experience in government, if given the mandate he would reverse the trend and lead citizens of the state to prosperity.
He, however, urged party supporters to ensure that they were agent of change by obtaining their PVCs, which he described as the tool that would bring about relief to the state from the burden of the long suffering inflicted on them.
Responding, the PDP Chairman in the state, Hon. Francis Orogu, welcomed the aspirant and his entourage and promised to do justice to all the aspirants seeking to govern the state in the next
Orogu said that the party would do everything humanly possible to ensure that everybody got fair treatment, saying the party was set to recover Nasarawa State from the ruling All Progressives Congress in the 2019 election.
He urged all party members to fully register with the Independent National Electoral Commission and also ensure that they collect their PVC’s to prepare them for the next election.