Is the development in Kogi State commensurate to its 25 years of existence? The answer to this draws the attention of SECURITY MONITOR as the incumbent Governor Yahaya Bello, despite inherited infrastructure challenges and political cataclysm poised to wear the state a new garment of infrastructural development
Despite its proximity to Abuja, the Nigeria’s seat of power, Kogi, a state dubbed as Confluence state is undoubtedly an eye sore to both strangers and residents of the state. From Lokoja to Anyingba, Okene to Yagba, the state is enmeshed with outdated structures, dilapidated infrastructure and bad roads. The economy situation in the state is nothing to write home about.
Residents of the state lived in abject poverty as government remained the largest employer of labour. Aside Dangote Cement Company in Obajana area no other meaningful industry could accommodate the teeming unemployed youths. No wonder the state is fast becoming the headquarters of kidnapping in the country.
Lokoja, the state capital is at a sorry state when the administration of Governor Yahaya Bello came to power view months ago. A tall, handsome and intelligent young man, Governor Bello’s passion to uplift the state reflects in his subtle beginning. Upon his emergence, he ordered the demotion of archaic structures in the state apparently to reconstruct befitting ones. Major in Lokoja has been awarded for reconstruction and as at the time of visiting the state for the purpose of this report. The Road from Nataco junction through the police Command has been completely reconstructed.
In his attempt to curtail unnecessary expenditure of the state government, Governor Bello inaugurated a Workers Screening Committee which has recorded a landmark achievement by identifying some of the leakages through which the state loses huge financial fortune. In a chat with SECURITY MONITOR, the Secretary to the State Government, SSG, Ayoade Folashade Arike affirmed that the state could save over one billion naira by the end of the screening exercise. The SSG noted that out the population of about 4 Million people, the state over the year has been paying monthly salary to about 3 Million. Ayoade however promised that the screening exercise was not a witch hunch as it been speculated in some quarters, stressing that no qualified workers will lose his or her job after the exercise.
A cross section of residents of the state who spoke to SECURITY MONITOR hails the governor for his passionate stance and aggressive infrastructure and developmental policies. Adajo Friday Nichodemus, Administrator of Olamaboro Local Government state ALGON Secretary told this medium that the governor has given them mandate to pay all outstanding local government workers salary. The ALGON Scribe noted that “this is the first time youths are participating in the administrations of the state” Nichodamus however praises the “performing” governor for implementing the age long adage that “the youths are the leaders of tomorrow”
In his view, Dr, Theophilous Akinbode Ajala, a school proprietor and Pastor of First Baptist Church, Lokoja told SECURITY MONITOR that Yahaya Bello has started well and that if given the chance the governor could turn around the state. “For the past one year, water has been a scarce commodity in the state but we now have frequent portable water running through the pipes courtesy of the governor prompt intervention in the sector. And I must tell you that his starting point is marvelous. He has the seal, the experience and the strength to propel this state to a greater height”
Imam Ibrahim Garba from Koton Karfe added his view that the APC led administration in the state is on the path to stardom. The Islamic Cleric noted that the last time the state experience little development was between 1999 and 2003 under the leadership of late Govdernor Audu Abubakar but since then, the PDP leadership has thrown the state into oblivion.
Came into power three months ago, Governor Yahaya Bello who was the runner up to the late Price Abubakar Audu during the APC primary election emerged the party’s flag bearer after the demise of the former governor and APC candidate in the November, 2015 gubernatorial elections. His emergence was not without certain political upheaval as the running mate to the late governor; James Faleke who also of the same APC is challenging his emergence. This at the moment will be determined by the judiciary. Despite that however, Yahaya Bello who is obviously loved by the teeming youths of the state carries on the mantle of leadership in the state in a progressive pace.