Speech delivered by Barr. Laden Babakodong

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Balami Lazarus

Mr. Ladan Babakodong (Talban cham) MFR, FICTr, lawyer and a retired deputy comptroller general of prisons is a popular respected elder of the Tangale- Waja Indigenenes Resident in Abuja.

The Talban has this to say in his paper on the occasion of the reception to the Gombe South members of the 9th National Assembly recently.

Protocol

On behalf of Tangale – Waja Indigenes Resident in Abuja, I formally welcome every one and to especially  our guest of honour and our honorees to whom this speech is particularly addressed.

Mr Chairman, ladies and gentlemen,  I wish to start this short speech by first and foremost acknowledging  and recognizing before you this day the great  contributions and enduring legacies of all past and former  Federal legislators of Tangale – Waja both living and dead.    We particularly remember and pay tribute to those of them that have departed to the world beyond.  They are by all description heroes of our land. These are: late  Rt Hon.  Bulus Dakusang Biliyong Cham, our first Federal Legislator, 1959 – 1961., late Rt Honourable Adamu Yola Ture, 1962 – 1964, late Alhaji Uba Ahmed our first Senator, 1979 – 1983, late Barr. Idris  Abubakar 1999 – 2002, late Hon. Alhaji Yunusa Kaltungo, House of Representative Majority Leader 1979 – 1983, late Barr Tawar Umbi Wada 2003 – 2010, late Barr Senator Ajuji Adamu Waziri, 3 months in 1983 and 2010 – 2011.  With your kind permission, may I move that we all rise to observe one minute silence in honour of these illustrious sons of Tangale –  Waja.

Now, to the crux of my speech on this occasion which is mainly addressed to our newly elected Federal Legislators. You may ask: why did we invite you here today.  In my humble opinion, we invited you here today for two reasons: to first and foremost, as a Community formally  congratulate and welcome you to Abuja, the seat of political power and the place in which you will be spending the next four years discharging the onerous duties of law making, representation and monitoring of Federal Government actions for the benefit of Nigeria  and the  Constituencies that have elected you and mandated you to come down to represent them amongst other Representatives who will be  your colleagues at the 9th National Assembly.

Secondly, we are here to have a conversation and to rub minds on the express and implicit or implied requirements that should define and characterize your mandate and responsibilities which the Tangale Waja people would look forward to seeing you discharge in the next four years. In short we are talking of your legislative and political deliverables.

It cannot be contested that more than ever before, Tangale Waja is in dire need of a leadership that will provide a vision for a sustainable socio- economic – political agenda that can transform Tangale Waja land and its people. This agenda must necessarily be based on the following:

  • A clear understanding of the unique identity of Tangalw-Waja.
  • Clear understanding of the socio-political history of the Tangale-Waja people.
  • An appreciation of the current or contemporary issues, challenges and existential issues  inhibiting the development of Tangale-Waja, its  people in the socio-economic and political context of Gombe State and Nigeria as a whole.
  • Taking steps or coming up with solutions or strategies for solving, resolving or attending to these problems.

 Conscious of the fact that development is a progressive process, and while  it will be unreasonable to saddle you with the burden of solving every challenge facing  your Constituencies, it is my humble view that it will also not be too much to expect and in some instances demand of you actions and interventions in the following areas:

  1. Education

The fundamental importance of education as the tool and vehicle for the socio – economic and political development of your constituencies cannot be overstated. Without it, we as a people would never have been relevant, or even have the opportunity to participate in the social, economic and political affairs of our State or Nation. It is therefore, important that our Distinguished Senator and Honourable Members do develop and implement an education agenda that will restore Tangale – Waja to its pride of place as the hub of education in the North East region of Nigeria. In this regard:

  • You should strive to ensure that no son or daughter of Tangale – Waja fails to attend school for whatever reason.
  •  Your programme should not only inspire but encourage and facilitate our secondary school graduates to proceed further to the Next level – tertiary education.
  •    It is suggested that you put in place a scheme that will facilitate scholarships for serious, gifted – indigent students desiring to proceed to higher institutions of learning.
  •  Ensure that Tangale – Waja gets a deserving vocational and technical development institution that will train our  young persons to develop technical and vocational skills relevant to the emerging economy which is driven by knowledge, skill and technology. By doing this, you are equipping and empowering the next generation of Tangale-Waja to become useful to themselves, the community and the nation as a whole.

What are the take-aways from this strategy?

  • Resuscitation of education as the number one resource of Tangale – Waja.
  • Mobilization and orientation of the youth to embrace education and vocational training.
  • Establishment of scholarship schemes for needy students and  sponsorship of inter school competitions amongst our schools.
  • Renovation of school structures.
  •  Involvement of traditional and religious institutions as stakeholders in the education transformation agenda.
  • Economic Development

For any people to develop economically, such people must identify their natural resources and the areas of which they have competitive advantage. In short, they must know what they have or can produce and exchange between themselves and the outside world. In our own case, it is evident that agriculture is the main economic activity that can provide the highest employment and sustenance of the people. This makes your constituencies an agrarian community.

In this regard, we should be reminded that Gombe South is an area naturally blessed with land, hills, mountains, streams and valleys. Studies by both Federal and State Governments identified Tangale – Waja as potential area for economic development. Based on this  a feasibility study for water development in the area was carried out which led to the establishment of some dams for irrigation and fishing, while some other dams are still at various stages of construction and repairs and construction of others yet to commence. No doubt, when these dams are completed, there will be increased availability of water to enable all year round farming activities thereby providing the youth with opportunity to be engaged in farming and other forms of gainful employment in the agricultural value chain.

In view of the tremendous benefits to be derived from the implementation of the dam projects, it has become necessary that your assignment for the next four years should, among other things include the completion of the construction of some of the dams and to see to the commencement  of those dams yet to start.

Aside from addressing the issue of the dam projects, it is also incumbent upon you to take time to study and understand the daily challenges for sustenance our poor but hardworking people go through to eke out basic sustenance of their lives and their families in the face of a society that has little or no regard for  its poor and vulnerable members. Therefore, you will be doing their lot in much deserved service if you would use your good offices to ensure that some of the difficulties they experience are reduced or ameliorated. In this regard, your intervention in the areas of early sourcing of fertilizers, construction of boreholes or even wells, building of bridges and feeder roads for movement of people and goods are critical. The other issues relating to agriculture have to do with provision of basic  agricultural inputs and the encouragement of the farmers to organize themselves into  cooperatives and farming groups so that you can assist them access the various agricultural facilities currently available with  the Central Bank of Nigeria and similar development institutions.

The social intervention programmes for young people, poor families under the Office of the Vice President of Nigeria should be extended to the people of Tangale-Waja. The added advantage of being Members of the Ruling Party should make it easier for you to access these economic programs for the benefit of our people, your people!

3      The Youth

    There is no denying the fact that the youth of any society are its most valuable asset. This is because it is an accepted axiom that the youth are the leaders of tomorrow. Therefore, by necessary extension, any society that neglects the development of its youth has consciously or unconsciously consigned its future to predictable retrogression and even irrelevance. It has therefore become your bounden duty as people with responsibility to come out with robust, practical initiatives with long lasting impact for this generation of Tangale-Waja youths. What should the programs address?

  • The programmes should address the prevalent slide of young, verile children of ours into the abyss of idleness, hopelessness and dysfunction through drug addiction and other vices.
  • You should come out with unique programmes that provide more attractive alternatives for useful encouragement so as to dissuade the most idle youth from truncating their potential and otherwise bright future as the future hope of Tangale-Waja. In this regard, it is important that necessary contacts be made with Organisations and agencies involved with combating drug addiction and managing  its consequences.  It is my earnest appeal that you should not take this issue lightly because of its far reaching negative consequences on our society which is your constituency.

4.   Effective Representation

The final point I want to canvass here  has to do with the desire  of Tangale- Waja people that you acquit yourselves well as their well-deserved Representatives and have as such become the  voice, mouth-piece and conscience of our people.  As standard bearers and the image makers and voice of Tangale-Waja, it is expected that you will approach your assignment from a well-informed position at the National Assembly. Our people are looking forward to and have high expectations concerning your performance at the National Assembly. This expectation is legitimate as you were nominated and later elected as the best from a large number of contenders for the positions you are currently occupying. Therefore, all eyes are on you to justify the confidence so widely reposed on you. It is my prayer that you will not betray this public confidence and trust. On our part, we pledge our support, cooperation and willingness to work with you and assist in any way that will make you succeed in discharging this mandate. With your caliber and track record, we are confident that with God’s help and your willingness to be servants to the people, you will succeed beyond measure and once more redeem the fallen image and glory of Tangale-Waja land and its people.

Thank you all for your attention.

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