HYPPADEC: A Case For Nasarawa State

BY RAYYANU BALA. During commissioning of Hydroelectric Power Producing Development Commission (HYPPADEC) headquarters in Minna, Niger state, penultimate week, the Managing Director of HYPPADEC, Alhaji Abubakar Sadiq Yelwa was quoted as saying that the commission is proposing to include Kaduna, Gombe and Taraba states amongst HYPPADEC states of Niger, Kebbi, Kwara, Benue, Kogi and Plateau. Setting up of HYPPADEC no doubt is aimed at reducing the sufferings people of these states are facing as a result of devastation of their farmlands by Hydro Dams, just as the people of Niger-Delta are benefitting from the Niger Delta Development Commission as a result of destruction of their land by oil exploration; and also just as the people of North East are benefiting from the North East Development Commission following Boko Haram carnage. However, the question that readily comes to mind is: What were the yardsticks adopted by the Federal Government in arriving at the states of Niger, Kwara, Benue, Kogi and Plateau as the only states that could benefit from HYPPADEC?
While one will not like to view this action of the federal government as motivated by political considerations, as things stands, it would be difficult for one not to reach the conclusion that exclusion of Nasarawa state from the benefitting states has much to do with politics. If states like Benue and Kogi could be listed as HYPPADEC states, there is no reason why Nasarawa state should not be listed also, since River Benue also passes through Nasarawa state, if at all that was the reason for inclusion of Benue and Kogi. And besides, being in the North-Central zone, Nasarawa state has Hydro-electric project at Farin Ruwa ( though work at site has stopped) which has already gulped billions of Naira and devastated large farmlands of our people. If Plateau could also be listed as a member state by virtue of contributing certain percentage to the national grid through the Nigeria Electricity Supply Corporation (NESCO) then Nasarawa state ought to be listed too by virtue of Farin Ruwa Hydro-electric power project which when completed, would add no fewer than 30 mega-watts to the National grid.
Nasarawa state also belongs to the party that controls the government at the centre like the other states in the North Central zone. However, I don’t want to believe as I said earlier, that politics might be the reason for excluding Nasarawa state from HYPPADEC. Out of the six states that constitute the North-Central zone, only Nasarawa state received the disqualification hammer as member of HYPPADEC, despite meeting all the conditions as highlighted above. Freedom to belong to any political party is an inalienable right of every citizen of this country. Our decision to remain in the APC should not be misconstrued. Our people in Nasarawa state have been turned to ‘beggars’ as it seems only selected few favoured states are enjoying the so- called dividend of democracy from the Federal Government.
Even though from all practical purposes, we in Nasarawa state have no regret whatsoever in voting APC, we cannot continue to watch hands akimbo while our rights are being trampled upon through sentiments of a few.
Since Nigeria belongs to all of us regardless of our political persuasions, I feel that Nasarawa state should not be denied membership of HYPPADEC since the resources to finance the agency belongs to all of us. In this connection however, my appeal is to members of the National Assembly from Nasarawa state to join forces and ensure the inclusion of the state in the HYPPADEC league. They must seize this opportunity since the commission is about adding some states to the list of HYPPADEC states. History will certainly not forgive our present lawmakers at the National Assembly if this inclusion of Nasarawa state fails to see the light of the day. Luckily, today we have the architect of Farin Ruwa Hydro- power plant in the person of Senator Abdullahi Adamu as chairman of the ruling party. I believe he will do everything humanly possible in this direction. The governor of Nasarawa state, Engr Abdullahi Sule also has a prominent role to play as state chief executive. He must galvanize all resources and opinions towards this direction, more so that lobbying for good things to come to Nasarawa state is not a new terrain to him.
Going by the way things are moving in this country today, if we do not fight for what rightly belongs to us, nobody will do it for us. Like I observed earlier, our elites must come together and make this a reality. Our people are going to benefit immensely in our being in the HYPPADEC league, if not now, then certainly later.

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