Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday said that the insecurity and corruption challenges confronting the country were tied to underinvestment in education and healthcare for decades.
He stated this when he had audience with Governor Umaru Fintri and a delegation from Adamawa State at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Buhari who condoled with the governor over the loss of his father, Alhaji Umaru Badami, described the interaction with the Adamawa people as a family meeting.
The President said: “I am delighted to receive your delegation today. Adamawa is home away from home to me as you are all aware. Therefore, this meeting is more or less, a family gathering.
“I am pleased to hear your remarks, specifically focused on issues around education and health. These areas remain priorities for this government especially as we strive to achieve social inclusion and collective prosperity for all Nigerians.
“Many of the issues confronting our nation today, especially in the areas of insecurity and corruption, are directly or indirectly linked to the decades of under-investment in education and healthcare
“At the federal level, we are doing our best to address these issues. But the Federal government cannot do it alone. We need the state and local governments to do their part. This is not about politics. It is the reality.
“Today, majority of Nigerians are below 20 years old. And it is projected that our population growth rate will remain amongst the fastest in the world. This means any plans we have today must take into account, the needs of tomorrow.
“I have taken note of your requests and recommendations. We shall review and act accordingly. I would suggest however that you make a formal written submission to my office in due course.”
Speaking with State House correspondents after the meeting, Fintri who is of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), said that the state needs the support of the Federal government in the areas of agriculture, human development and roads especially the dilapidated federal roads in the state.
The governor reiterated that most of the bad roads in the state causing the people nightmare were federal roads, expressing happiness that the contracts have been awarded and the contractors have started mobilising to sites, adding that the people would soon heave a sigh of relief.
Fintri who said security, education, infrastructure development were among his top priorities said: “We have given a very serious attention to security, health, infrastructure and education, agriculture and human development.
“I want to see that our youths are completely emancipated, empowered so that we don’t have the youth restiveness that we had that culminated into the Boko Haram.
“When I came in, I met a serious challenge of youth in criminality which was nicknamed “ASILA” and today they are no more. So these are serious areas of concern and I have given it serious attention and it’s working well.
“Kidnapping as well, has reduced drastically, you hardly hear people being kidnapped again in Adamawa this is as a result of the collaboration we have with the security agencies and the support we have been giving them to ensure that they curb the menace of the criminality and criminals in the state.”
On the purpose of the visit, Fintri said that his concerns were about governance and the welfare of the people and not politics or elections.
He said: “Today, we are not talking about election, we are talking about governance. Really we have come to see Mr President and if you see from the cream of the personalities that we came with, they cut across party lines and ethnic nationalities.
“We look at ourselves first as Adamawa and secondly, the problems that concern us and we have come to where it would be solved. By God’s grace, we have made our cry loud and it would be solved by Mr. President.”
On the support he was expecting from the President, he said: “We really need a lot of support in agriculture, human development like I have said among the youths.
“On infrastructure, the president has awarded the contract and we still believe that some of the roads that are giving us serious concern and challenge should be addressed by the Federal government while the state concentrates on the state’s roads and we have given a serious attention to it.
“The speaker is here, he will soon pass the supplementary budget for us to start constructing some of these new roads and the abandoned roads by the last administration because our concerns like I have said earlier, are Adamawa and these roads are in Adamawa.
“So my administration will not leave any road unattended to because they were started by the last administration. I will complete all the abandoned roads projects in the state and start new ones and also complete them before my four years term will expire.”