Second Term Expectations: Open Letter to Gov Yahaya Bello

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Dear Governor Yahaya Adoza Bello,

Your Excellency, I want to first of all condole you on the demise of your elder sister Hajia Rabiat Bello, please accept my heartfelt condolence and may her soul rest in peace Amen. I also want to congratulate you on your re-election as the fifth executive Governor of Kogi State and swearing in for your second term, may God give you more wisdom to provide leadership and may this new term bring in prosperity unity and progress to our dear state. Amen.

Your election into the position of executive Governor of Kogi state in 2015 was to signal a new dawn and not only this, it fulfilled a lot of our aspirations. I and a lot of people never believed it was going to be possible for someone not from the majority ethnic group to emerge as the executive governor of Kogi state, not to contemplate a young man for that matter, but God in his divine wisdom made this possible and made you become the number one man in the state. You have made history as a first and my prayer is that God will use you in your second term to alleviate the sufferings of your people and bring prosperity, development and unity to the state. I believe your emergence in the first place is a master stroke and for the purposeof unifying the state and making Kogi a pace setter in terms of development and giant strides.

Your Excellency, having used your first tenure to put in place structures to build upon in your second, I believe your second term will be better than your first and de-mystify the general believe that the second term of a governor is always worse than the first. In your case I see a marked difference and departure from this assumption and myth. We are in support of you and know that at the end of this term, we will all thank God for a very successful and remarkable tenure. We will also reap the dividend of democracy and Kogi State will be a prosperous and united states.

Our amiable Governor, the expectations of all Kogi indigenes are high and I will want to convey some of these in my letter to you because you carry our burdens and aspirations and if you fail, God forbids, we have also failed. Your success is our gain and success. We desire a prosperous and egalitarian state and this letter is just a token of my desire and advice for us to attain this status after your tenure.

My Governor, I will plead with you that you look into the composition of your team, you are a detribalised Governor as shown in your first term, however I will advise that you bring in more technocrats into your Government and people who can drive your vision to a logical and successful conclusion. I have read your body language and know thatyou are set to give your best to the state and make it stand out among states in terms of growth and development.

My Governor, I will advise a blend of technocrats and politicians, a team that will be able to deliver on the promises made and the legacy your Excellency wants to leave behind. A team of people who have the will power to deliver on areas they have been assigned to administer and manage.

Sir, there is nothing bad in rewarding those who have laboured for the actualisation of your mandate during the electioneering campaign, however you need to rejig your team and have a good mix by bringing in Kogi state indigenes who know their onions and have excelled in their areas of specialization either in the public sector or private sector.

Your Excellency, it won’t be out of place if you have a selection committee chaired by you and comprising resource people, psychologist and experienced people to interview the nominees for positions in your Government and the right people selected. This will be a first in the country. A great policy with the wrong team will result into a failed Government. Sir, getting the team right is key to success. Not all the people that you appoint into your Government have genuine reasons for joining, while some have selfish plans others have ulterior motives. God will give you the ability to discern and assemble a great team that will deliver the good and development we crave for in Kogi state.

Your Excellency, you have started some road projects in your first term, however I will advise you look into some intra city roads such as the township road in Lokoja, Okene, Kabba and Idah and some intercity roads linking the towns such as from Lokoja to Okene, Kabba to Omuo, Idah to Dekina etc. Sir to make great impact in road rehabilitations and construction, Government will need to construct and rehabilitate up to 2,000 Km of road across the length and breadth of the state in the next 4 years. Money can be saved by having a public and private initiatives with Dangote Cement Company in the use of cement for the construction. Some of the constructed roads can be tolled to generate income for the state. Good extensive road network is a catalyst to development and the effect will be felt across the state.

Another area we have opportunity to improve upon is in the area of housing, a housing policy will encourage the people to build houses through some sort of policy and incentives from the Government, also the state Government can build at least 5,000 housing units across the state in 4 years. These will go a long way to solve our housing deficit in the state and allow Kogi indigenes to own houses. The houses can be built as an expansion of the old towns or even new towns in the state. Improved but cost effective materials can be used in building these houses to suit the taste of the people. Massive construction of owner occupied houses is what Kogi needs at this point in time. This initiatives will bridge the housing gap as expereinced now.

Sir, water they say is life, you have done much in these area in your first term by upgrading the Osara dam, however I will suggest your dynamic government look into , revamping the  greater Lokoja water project, expand same project to 4 big towns and seeing that almost every community in Kogi have access to portable and clean water. Boreholes can be sunk in the villages and small communities so as to ensure your people live a healthy life. There are some communities that desperately need this amenity. You can magnanimously target to drill 5,000 borehole project each year for the next 4 years. These will ensure that apart from having clean water, water borne diseases are reduced to a minimal level.

Despite the privatization of PHCN, getting constant power has become elusive in the state, what the populace go through everyday canbe better imagined, sir I believe the state can build and own an independent power generating station . The station can be powered by coal or gas to generate up to 150 Megawatts of power in the first phase for the state.  Irrespective of the laws associated with generation of power, an amicable arrangement can be made with the Federal Government. This will go a long way to ameliorate the hardship and boost the commercial activity of the state. Your Excellency, owning an independent power generating station will be a great asset for the state and this can also generate revenue for the state. The Federal Government is very serious about revitalisation of Ajaokuta steel company and so the state Government should partner the Federal Government so the state can benefit greatly in terms of power, employment etc.

I will want to appeal to you sir to look into building and equipping health facilities in all the local Government areas, this will ensure the health services are brought to the grass root. Some of the general Hospitals can also be upgraded tospecialist or referral hospitals. Sir, building a new 1,000 capacity bed hospital for children, orthopaedic and cancer patients will ensure we have a robust health system and have our own share of the health tourism market. We can also have our state Health Insurance Scheme and establish a state owned Health Management Organization. This will ensure easy access and affordable health services for all Kogi indigenes and particularly the civil servants.

Education is light. The school curriculum could also be restructured and customised to suit easy and interactive learning. Efforts could be made at rehabilitating all the dilapidated schools and making them conducive for learning. The Government can also build newcolleges for the gifted in all the senatorial districts including one at Lokoja and equip the existing schools to promote education. The Government can also look into building a campus of the state University at Okene probably for medicine and engineering and a university campus for agriculture at Kabba or better still build full-fledge specialised universities in these locations. This is very possible if the Government can partner stakeholders in and outside the state to make this happen. Kogi state is one of the most educated state in Northern Nigeria and so having more than 2 Universities should not be a problem.

Sir, a lot of our youths are without jobs, the government can provide an enabling environment for job creation to take place and at the same time increase the internal generated revenue. The state internal revenue services is doing a great work as presently constituted, but they need to widen the net and cover more items on their revenue list. They also needs to be determined and aggressive. The revenue services could employ more staff or contract the collections to contractors so that a thorough job can be done .The state IGR can increase to N7 billion monthly from the present N1billion if adequate measures are employed. The state is so blessed with mineral resources and the space can be opened by licensing mining companies to come and explore the state. This will provide employment for the youths and generate revenue for the state Government through taxation. Kogi state is blessed with oil and gas in the Ibaji axis and so the Government should encourage oil firms to explore for oil there. We need to replicate what is done in the Anambra axis here. Agriculture is a veritable tool the Government can use to create massive employment.

Your Excellency, The government can establish the Kogi Food Company with subsidiaries like Kogi mechanised farms, Kogi dairy products, Kogi Meat Company etc.The company will run as a private business of the state and replicated in all the LGAs and employments will be created. Government can also establish the Kogi Government market in each local Government where food items from the food company are sold to the public. This can be run by the state Government and will guarantee employment for the youth and food sustainability in the state. The Ejiba confluence rice mill in Yagba west is a testimony of your ability and capability to deliver the much desired dividend of democracy at the door step of your people and I am sure investing in agriculture will give Kogi the lift needed in terms of value.

Tourism is a means by which we can generate revenue, Kogi state has places of historical importance to Nigeria and indeed the world. The natural phenomenon where by the 2 important rivers – Niger and Benue met is of great importance. Thereare huge potentials the Government can explore for revenue generating purposes. The government can re- built and reconstruct the confluence motel and also rebuild and re-design places of historical importance and use these tourist attractions to generate revenue. These steps will enhance the tourism potential of the state. We can also have the Kogi carnival or confluence carnival, whereby we showcase our cultural heritage. This will boost tourism and put the state in the spotlight and expose all those ancient and important places tourists will like to see. Local businesses in the state will thrive and lives will be touched positively.

Your Excellency you have carried out a good reform in the state civil service, however your Government can take it further to enshrine the principle of transparency and accountability.Every worker must justify his pay and not just show up at work.Further reforms in this light will do that. Apart from the current reform which has ascertained the number of Kogi state workforce, further reforms will be needed to reduce wastages and corruption in the civil service so as to ensure effectiveness, efficiency and transparency. Government can implement the model in the private sector to mirror the public sector. Apart from the state MDAs, Government can create more state agencies to take care of the traffic, skills acquisition and trainings, sanitation, drugs, the conservation of environment, Tourism etc. We can have our own state anti-corruption agency. These new agencies will ensure a working state and provide employment for the youths.

I will plead with you sir to continue the prompt payment of salaries which is needed to motivate the workforce. The full implementation of the contributory pension scheme should also be looked into. Retirees under the defined benefit scheme should also be paid their gratuity and pensions.

The security architecture as built by your government in your first term has yielded fruit, but it will be necessary to reinforce the system and a more formal agency back by law is introduced. These outfit will be an intelligence gathering one and also have the power to arrest and prosecute offenders.

Finally, history beacons on you and I know you will make history, God who has chosen you to occupy this position will not fail you. The indigenes are also backing you and praying for you to succeed. I now that at the end of your tenure, Kogi state will be among the top best states in terms of human capital development as well as infrastructural development. Congratulations in advance your Excellency.

Yours Sincerely,

Olajide Itiafa Ayodele MBA, ACIPM MNIM
Pioneer National President,
National Association of Kogi State Student (NAKOSS)

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