Re-inventing Kogi State – Adinoyi Onukaba

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Adinoyi Ojo Onukaba, journalist and scholar of repute, is worried over the slow pace of development in his home state, Kogi; hence, his readiness to rescue the state from further stagnation. This, he hopes to achieve by contesting the next governorship election in the state on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). In this piece, he explains his mission to the Kogi State Government House.
Almost all available socioeconomic indices on Kogi State point to a troubling steady slide in the quality of life for the majority of the over three million people living in this potentially rich but regrettably poor state.
Critical infrastructure and public utilities are not in the best conditions. We need to build good roads and bridges to link up our towns and villages. We need to reposition agriculture and small and medium scale enterprises to provide jobs for our young men and women. We need to expand educational opportunities and create a wholesome environment for learning. We need to provide quality health care services in every part of the state. We need to give our people decent and affordable housing. We need to renew our urban centres and provide stable independent electricity supply as well as water and good sanitation to our long suffering people.
The purpose of government at all levels is to provide these basic necessities to enable everyone to live a fulfilled life. Kogi State has the resources, both human and material, to meet these needs. What has been lacking is the political will to take some tough decisions that will lead to fiscal responsibility, financial discipline, elimination of waste and corruption. Indeed, it can be said without any equivocation that good governance has remained a critical challenge in Kogi State in the past 12 years of representative government. Although successive governments have done their best within the limits of available resources and of their individual capability, the state remains largely under-developed with numerous untapped resources.
The challenges we face today are many and complex. Governance must go beyond just being able to pay salaries or build a few roads, schools and houses here and there. We need a leadership that can think strategically, a leadership that can envision a great future for the state and begin now to lay its foundation. How can we grow our internally generated revenue to a level that it can take care of all our recurrent expenditure while the ever fluctuating monthly federal allocations are applied only to capital projects? How can we reposition Kogi State to become one of the best 10 states in the country in terms of human capacity development, the quality of education and health care services, security of lives and property, efficiency and effectiveness of its public service, the quality of infrastructure and the prosperity of its people?
These are the challenges we face. Therefore, we need a dynamic, visionary, disciplined, accountable and transparent leader to lead the state in the next few years. I am that leader. I have the passion, the qualification, the experience, the courage and the vision to take our dear state to enviable heights. This is why I have decided to offer myself as a candidate for the Office of Governor of Kogi State in the December 3rd, 2011 governorship election.
The administration I hope to lead will create thousands of jobs and generate wealth for our people by repositioning agriculture and small and medium scale enterprises as drivers of growth and prosperity. It will invest heavily in education and human capacity development by expanding existing facilities, creating a decent environment for learning and improving the quality of teaching. It will reconstruct our dilapidated roads and bridges, revamp the health care system to become more efficient and responsive to the needs of our people, improve electricity supply by partnering with investors to build a small coal-based power plant, work closely with the federal government to complete the Ajaokuta Steel Company, and provide potable drinking water to our towns and villages.
We hope to fund these programmes and projects through a more resourceful, innovative and vigorous internal revenue generation drive as well as by becoming more prudent and transparent in the use of public funds.
As someone who genuinely loves Kogi State and cares a lot about its future, I hope to do everything humanly possible to make it a better place for ourselves and for our children.

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