Hon. Jaiyeola Jasper, onetime Senior Special Assistant on youth and security to the immediate past government of Captain Idris Wada of Kogi State in a chat with Atabor Julius in Lokoja, commends Governor Yahaya Bello for giving the youths rightful position in the present administration. Excerpts:
The present government of Alhaji Yahaya Bello is into its two years now, what is your assessment of the administration?
As a grass root politician and someone that had worked closely with the previous governments in the state, I can say without fear or favour that the coming of Alhaji Yahaya Bello as the governor of this state has brought tremendous blessings to the people. God in his infinite wisdom has chosen Alhaji Yahaya Bello to pilot the affairs of the state at this critical time in our history.
The governor in my assessment has performed beyond expectation. He has been able to change the narratives of the development deficit in the state. One striking thing about this government is that, the governor, Alhaji Yahaya Bello has succeeded in pulling down the walls of ethnicity which has slowed down the pace of development of the state over the years. Yes, why he is succeeding is simple, he has assembled competent and resourceful aides.
And one man that is so dear to my heart and that of many people is Engineer Abubakar Ohere, the Special Adviser on Local Government and chieftaincy Affairs. He is a great asset to this government and to the state.
Why are you so particular on Engineer Ohere?
I have the privilege of being close to past heads of the ministry of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs , but , none would I say could stand Engineer Ohere in terms of vision and performance and ability to solve problems. He is not just ensuring that the vision of the administration for the grass root records resounding success, he has entrenched transparency and accountability in the local government system.
Unlike in the past, we now see a lot of developments going on at the local government councils across the state. Apart from that, the traditional institution is also receiving greater attention from the government. Their palaces are wearing new look. All these are happening under the watch of Engineer Ohere. For me, governor Bello didn’t make mistakes in appointing him to oversee such a strategic ministry and with all sense of humility he is the greatest image builder for the governor.
In specific terms, what do you think this government has done that receive your commendation?
A lot of things impressed me about the administration of governor Bello. In the one and half years of the administration, the state has witnessed infrastructural development. I read in some newspapers that the governor said his administration has undertaken over 247 projects across the state, this to me is amazing. The state has never had it so good. There are several road projects, water project, school projects ongoing across the state. Even the new face of Lokoja, the state capital is something worth celebrating. Night life in Lokoja metropolis is quite exciting and secured. The street lights, beautiful road networks all these combined to give the city a welcoming experience.
Another great achievement of this administration which many people are not taking notice is the attitudinal change especially among the civil servants. Through the just concluded staff screening and verification exercise, the state government was able to uncover a lot of compromises and fraud in the civil service and pensions. Now, we have a new thinking, philosophy and dispositions to work and discipline. My happiness is that, we have a governor who means what he says, he promised that no genuine worker would be shortchanged or victimised and he is standing by his words. The government has also made the payment of staff salaries a priority. All the governor need from us is prayers and our unwavering support.
This administration is adjudged to be most especially the government of the youth, what do you have to say about that?
As a young man who has been in the struggle for youth emancipation in the state, it gladdens my heart that the new dawn has arrived for Kogi youth. If anybody had told me that a young man in his early 40s would be my governor now, I wouldn’t believe it. Today, Kogi doesn’t just have a young man who is visionary, but we have a leader that has opened doors of opportunities for the youths of the state.
My greatest joy is that, they are performing the task assigned to them. In fact, over 90% of his appointments are for the youth. The old brigades who lived under the illusion that this government will fail as a result of youthfulness are astonished by the score cards of performance of the present administration.
Governor Bello may be young as in age, but he has a mind of the elderly. The state is undergoing reinvention under his watch. We, in Ogori Magongo LGA have every cause to support this government because of the love and concern we are receiving from the government. As I speak, the road linking Magongo to Ogori is being rehabilitated. we now enjoy stable electricity supply and potable water supply and just last week our daughter Mrs Debora Ogunmola was appointed the state Head of Service. We are grateful to him.
What is your take on security in the state?
The achievement of governor Bello on security is legendary. No government in the history of the state has been able to curb crime and criminality the way he has done. The Governor inherited a state that was making headlines as one of the most dreaded in the country. Kidnappings, armed robberies and cult activities were the order of the day. However, today, the story has changed. The state is not just safe and secured; it is attracting more direct foreign investment. In fact kidnappers and armed robbers have taken a flight from the state.
What is your appeal to the youth?
My appeal is very simple. This is our government. Governor Yahaya Bello is one of us, and we must take ownership and support him to succeed. No government before or in the future would promote the interest of the youth more than what the present administration is doing. Let us embrace and support him to succeed.