As a result of the misrule and mis-governance of the people’s democratic party and past administrations in Kogi state since its creation in 1991 which was evidenced in lopsided development of the different parts of the state, lack of dividends of democracy and basic infrastructural amenities like portable drinking water, good and motorable roads, provision of farm inputs, improved health care delivery system, and prompt payment of workers’ salary, the people of the confluence state looked forward to the present administration of Governor Yahaya Bello with positive and high expectations to hit the ground running and do the needful in delivering the much craved and yearned dividends of democracy. More so, giving the circumstance that surrounds his ascension into power and the fact that he is the first ever occupant of the Lugard House from the central senatorial district of the state, the burden of expectations and the need to right the wrongs of the past in terms of allocation and citing of developmental projects becomes even more inevitable and challenging.
However, it is glaring that the administration of Alhaji Bello’s hands are already tied and wouldn’t be able to do much to meet up with the “mountain” of expectations from the present APC led government in the state. This is especially so if the prevailing economic down turn which has negatively affected the state’s share of federal allocation since the present government took over the mantle of leadership earlier this year. To conclude that Governor Yahaya Bello won’t be able to record any meaningful achievement if the present regime of economic challenge persists is to merely admit the obvious. Hence, the need for a concrete and calculative approach to be devised to boost the state’s internally generated revenue (IGR) to be able to have more money to meet up with the huge demands of running government and the yearnings of kogites.
The fact that Lagos state has been able to boost its IGR from a little above 3billion monthly in 2007 to a monthly internally generated revenue of 21.6billion in 2015, which means that Lagos alone has an IGR base that is higher than that of 32 states combined excluding Delta, Rivers and Ogun whose IGRs are relatively impressive makes Lagos a reference and a model to the rest of the states of the federation, especially Kogi state which obviously has plenty to learn and imbibe from the IGR “magic” of Lagos state. As it currently stands, more than 15 states are already bankrupt and can not stay afloat without federal allocation due to lack of foresight in revenue generation drive. It has becomes increasingly difficult for states to keep faith with prompt payments of workers salary, pension and allowances even after some sort of bailout funds was made available by the Federal Ministry of Finance. The fact that many states still owe huge arrears of salary has even awaken the need for the Federal Government to commence a process of dolling out yet another round of bailout.
Until Kogi state government puts the right people in place who has the right awareness, commitment, vibrancy and foresight to do the needful by learning and imbibing the Lagos template which will in turn translate into an improved IGR, the confluent state will not only continue to live from hand-to-mouth, but the present situation in which the state government is unable to meet up with the challenge of clearing the backlog of arrears of salary of civil servants, let alone paying promptly will persist and the dream of meeting the yearnings and expectations of Kogites by providing the much needed dividends of democracy would be a mirage.
– Hussain Obaro, Lokoja
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