Kogi @ 26; Reaching for Greatness Via A New Direction

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The birth of Kogi State from the then Kwara State and Benue State twenty six years ago was not an accident. The founding fathers of the State see a burning need to come together as one entity. It was the dream of many that with New KOGI, equity, fairness and justice will guarantee accelerated development both human, economic and physical infrastructures.

Permit me to say that Kogi has had her fair share of the good, the bad and the ugly in leadership. From the military Khaki Administrators to the very flamboyantly dressed Prince of the Niger, from a charismatic Ibro to a somehow conservative Wada, and now to the young divinely chosen Alhaji Yahaya Bello. Although it has not been an ‘eureka’, it is not a total failure for Kogi as a state.

It is also true that Kogi should not be where we are today considering our abundant human and natural resources. The fact that Kogi shares boundary with about ten States including the Federal Capital Territory should be an avenue to translate Kogi to economically viable State. We may want to blame successive leaders for this. But all hope is not lost.

The coming of His Excellency Yahaya Bello as the fourth Executive Governor is divine. It beats logic and human reasonings. Consider the words of the Vocal distinguished Senator Dino Melaiye during the swearing in ceremony ” Kogi people voted for Audu, but God voted for Yahaya Bello”. Succinct abi? You must agree the gods are wise!

Let me attempt to bare my mind truthfully here. The manner through which His Excellency Yahaya Bello emerged has contributed in no small measure in the way people perceived his government. Majority of the party stalwarts today will criticize the government because they still see HE Yahaya Bello as an usurper. I think the party especially at the national level should take the blame avoiding the stitch in time that could save nine.

We have the youngest Executive Council in Kogi with men and women of outstanding qualities so one should naturally be optimistic that the government will succeed. I share this optimism!

The government of New Direction in less than nineteen months has shown her capacity to secure lives and properties of people. We are all witnesses to how unacceptable the rate and incidence of kidnappings and armed robbery had gone before this government. Even the greatest objective critic of this government will agree that Kogi is now relatively secure than we use to have it. This is as a result of massive resources dedicated to that sector by the government. If the primary responsibility of a government is to secure life and properties of citizens then the government has done excellently well in this regard.

In the current reality of dwindling revenue generated from crude oil and it adverse effect on the finances of federating States, you will agree with me that repositioning of the Kogi State Board of Internal Revenue to boost Internally Generated Revenue of the State by His Excellency Yahaya Bello couldn’t have come at a better time. Building a world class office for the outfit in less than a year in office is phenomenal. A testimony to the fact that the government want them to work under a conducive atmosphere for effective service delivery.

Another area where one can not fail to give kudos to this government is transportation. The Government transportation Company known as Kogi Travellers that ones had over fifty buses had gone totally comatose by January 2016. In less than a year in office, His Excellency Yahaya Bello constituted a committee made up of experience managers in the transport business to manage Kogi Transport Company, release ten new buses to the management team and today the company is poise for a total turn around as they recently added two buses to the fleets less than a year of operating with global best practice.

On Agriculture the government is using a stone to kill two birds. Investing in agriculture to provide sustainable food security and jobs to the teeming jobless Kogi youths. Work is ongoing in Omi to build a world class rice mill after acres of land has been allotted farmers for all year round rice production supported by irrigation from the Omi dam.

Under the New Direction administration, Kogi forests and produce are now protected by activating relevant laws with the intention to generate revenues and protect the environment by discouraging indiscriminate lumbering and other practices dangerous to the ecological system. It is also a win-win too for the teeming youths as thousands are recruited by the Ministry of Environment to serve as forest guards.

It is near magic that the Ministry of Women Affairs was able to rid beggars, destitute and hawkers off public infrastructures in Lokoja. This was painstakingly done by taken into consideration too the rights of these citizens and making sure those rights was not trampled upon. The State’s Rehabilitation Centre was renovated and ready for use, the School of the handicaps in Sango Daji Lokoja is wearing a good look with over two hundred People Living With Disability receiving aids and appliances and some empowered to be productive.

And the Civil Service reforms….

In the words of Hon Femi Fanwo, D.G Media and Publicity to the Government, ” the civil service reforms is a necessary surgery that Kogi must go through to free up funds for Kogi people. This monies has hitherto ended up in few hands and private pockets. They are the enemies of Kogi workers and not the Physician(The Governor) performing the surgical operation ”.

The screening no doubt like every surgery has come with pains and challenges. The Government has demanded for understanding and cooperation. Now that it has ended, Kogites are going to be the ultimate beneficiaries of the reforms. That was what His Excellency Yahaya Bello promised. Already, majority of the cleared workers and pensioners have been receiving alerts while government is working round the clock to regularise others with genuine complaints. But to all unintended beneficiaries, to diaspora workers, to people with fake certificates and ghost workers, it is good riddance to bad rubbish.

I share the optimism that this government will succeed. It shall!

– Oluwi Sesan.

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