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COLUMN/OPINION

CHALLENGES AND PATHWAYS OF DEVELOPMENT: GOVERNOR YAHAYA ADOZA BELLO’S VOYAGE IN KOGI STATE

 

By Fanisi Babatunde

Lying within every man is a desire to make impact while also striving to build a legacy that will outlive him. Good governance as easy as it flashes in the minds of the populace is confronted with lots of challenges that could also make the dream of making impact a wild goose chase. It takes an extra focused and dedicated team to lay a very solid foundation that will lead to verifiable results.

For opinon moulders and those who plan to make an impact someday, it is expedient that they follow the systemic rise of Governor Yahaya Adoza Bello especially as it bothers on journey so far in the leadership and development of Kogi state.

Governor Yahaya Adoza Bello’s journey started with a burden to depart from status quo. These status quos were not limited to an over bloated wage bill at both the state and the local government level, a decayed civil service system, large deficit in infrastructures, dwindling standards in the educational sector cum lack of policy documents, Lack of corporate governance and accountability in public finance, gross insecurity, several litigations arising from pre- election and post election matters from the lower court up to the supreme court.

These bagages of challenges ordinarily were enough to make a focused and serious mind loose balance that will take a very long time to get coupled back together.
The Major challenge that confronted the then new direction government was how to manage the meagre resources of the state. Meagre resources I say because the government came at a time when revenues from the central purse was on a low and kept dwindling even till as we speak. The government then identified the pandemic called “Ghost workers” milking state resources day in day out for no work done by invisible persons. The new direction government ventured into the painful task of cleaning the entire state payrolls. Those familiar with payroll cleaning will understand the challenges associated with the entire processes. These challenges ranges from resistance by those benefiting from the loosed system to conflicts with labor. This process took longer time than expected but at the end of the day, it was worth the time as the state was able to save well enough to stabilize the system.

Another challenge that confronted the regime was how to scale up the IGR of the state as the total IGR of the state was staggering between 300 Million and 350 Million Monthly. There was no way the state could develop under such tight fiscal arrangement. The New direction government fast tracked policies and granted the state revenue service an autonomous status. A magnificent structure was also erected to complement it’s new status. All these were quick to yield results as the IGR of the state took a massive leap from the meagre #350Million to about #600M and Subsequently shot to as high as over a billion. Let’s also quickly be informed that these strategies also created over a thousand jobs both directly as employees of the KGIRS and also through several consultants. The leap in the revenue base of the state has allowed the state to expand spendings and has also increased borrowing capacity. What a success sorry.

While basking in the euphoria of the rise in the state IGR, the state through consistent efforts invested billions in the establishment of a rice mill in the state. This rice mill have since been commissioned and started production. Many agricultural affiliate businesses that complements the rice value chain businesses like farming, bagging and logistics have since sprang up in response to the state efforts. Kogi in the time of His Excellency Alhaji Yahaya Adoza Bello joined the league of rice producers in Nigeria. This to me is a novel move to reposition the economy of the North Central State.

There is hardly any society in the world that could attain excellence in an atmosphere that lacks peace. Development as we all know could only be sanctioned under a secured atmosphere. The new direction government came at a time when insecurity attained a crescendo. Kidnappers had hitherto made Kogi State it’s hot bed while thuggery reigned supreme as that used to be the most viable empowerment from the inglorious PDP rulership to the youths of Kogi State. The New Direction Government came in and built a security model and template that was quick to over run the various criminal elements in the state as many of those criminals relocated outside the state with Thier known properties demolished to send a strong signal to others. Purposefully, the state vigilante Service was birthed with the training of thousands of personnels with the provision of brand New security vehicles and thousands of motorcycle to aid it’s operations. In a quick swipe, crime was zeroed in the state and hence the present peaceful atmosphere we now dwell as a people today. Solar Street Lights were installed along flash points in the state capital to offer an extended operating hours for businesses in the state capital. Military outposts were also established in almost the 21 local Government of the state to compliment the local security arrangements on ground. The new direction government also invested heavily in the provison of security vehicles and payment of special allowances to some categories of security agencies in the state. An unprecedented move that in turn boosted the moral of the men of the armed forces who in turn reciprocated by providing a secured state for kogites to dwell.

As the administration progressed, elements who had suffered electoral defeats both within the party and on the side of the opposition whom were still nursing the pains of defeat ventured into the business of hate and negative propaganda against the new direction government. they sponsored all sorts of negative press that seems to have portrayed the state in bad light against the masses. These propogandas revolved around the massive civil service reforms and claims were everywhere that the governor was owing workers a whopping 38 Months Salary. The opposition bought all known available media outlets to launder thier fake news, all in a bid to stop the governor from seeking another term in office. It took the state a whole lot of time and energy to avoid being distracted.

The first tenure of His Excellency Alhaji Yahaya Adoza Bello was almost marred and distracted by protracted litigations upon litigations on issues that borders on the validity of the regime. From one court to another on pre and post election litigations characterized the whole of the first tenure. For those in the know of happenings in a political system, Court cases are strategies designed by oppositions to destract a sitting government from attaining some expected mileage. These various litigations were so enormous that the Senior Special Assistant to His Excellency on Legal Services had to put it up recently as a book ” Through the cases”. An insightful compendium that provides insight to the real actual battles of His Excellency Governor Yahaya Adoza Bello in the anals of history of the Nation’s judicial system.

Against all odds, the new direction Mandate was once again sanctioned via the polls. With solid foundation laid and a peaceful atmosphere for development to thrive, the new direction government has made tremendous progress that is so enviable to all and has since silenced the mouths of distractors and chronic electoral loosers who were bent on destroying the state through the sponsor of hate and negative propaganda. These progresses spans from massive infrastructures in the health sector across all zones of the state, roads across the 3 Senatorial districts of the state, formulation and implementation of strong educational policies, massive investments in the education sector. The urban renewal projects have also recieved a massive boost as the state specialist hospital is being upgraded into a more beffiting facilty and the ongoing construction of the “Iconic” Ganaja Junction Flyover. The Central reference hospital in Okene is a legacy project that potends an end to medical tourism outside the shores of not just the state but Nigeria at large. There are also mega regional hospitals being built to complement the central reference hospitals. The state recently procured state of the art ambulances to serve the various health institutions. In a bid to position the state as self reliance in the field of technology while making plans for the future manpower to drive our growing economy, the Governor in his wisdowm quickly conceptualized the idea of a university of science and technology. This university have since been completed with academic programs started already. These are few to mention amongst numerous projects going on around the 21 LGA of the state. A solid systemic foundation gave birth to all the developmental strides being achieved today in Kogi Sate

Looking at the paths of his voyage, one would understand that the development of a state lies squarely in it’s leadership’s ability to stabilize it’s ship in the midst of deliberate storms as the voyage to development is naturally rough. Developmental leaders are known during challenges.

It is however not surprising that Kogites and Nigerians are yearning and calling on the governor to take a shot at the number one position in Nigeria. Empirical evidence abounds in kogi state. Governor Yahaya Adoza Bello has the strategies it takes to turnaround the nation Nigeria.

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