By Kingsley Fanwo
The Ocean of confusion created by the advent of social media, the readiness of the conventional media to be used as a derogatory pawn, the desperation of the political class to intimidate and harass the truth and the unfortunate gun-to-the-head of facts; have combined to create a centrifugal force against the laudable leadership in Kogi State.
As a state, we weren’t without our problems. Both the leaders and the followers were guilty of wrong choices. From an incompetent leadership to an unprepared leadership, the citizens continued to make wrong choices. The roads government is constructing now, the hospitals government is building, the school projects across the state and many more would have been put in place in the era of boom. But rather than hold the leaders down to the balcony of accountability, we hailed them on as they used 90% of the resources to build their private businesses and the remaining 10% to arm our youth against our population. We hailed the benevolent ignoramuses, blowing up the future that has come!
Also, the leaders of yesteryears in the state knew they had no meaningful achievement to sustain their avarice for power, hence, the resort to ethnic jingoism to perpetrate their political perfidies and set the people against one another. It worked for a while and while it lasted, the state was balkanized along ethnic banks. It was a case of poor people fighting one another, a bait of the political manipulators.
Our roads were derelict. Our hospitals were ‘hospitalized’. Our schools were testaments of monstrosities and wicked neglect. And they say we shouldn’t refer to the past. They kept reminding us that Governor Yahaya Bello knew the enormity of the task ahead of him. We can’t forget the past. If we do, the future will be worse. We need to constantly remind ourselves of where we are coming from.
How our children were sitting on the floor to learn while their leaders’ hotels were built with glasses in Abuja. We need to remind them how their son was Governor for nine years, yet, his village has no electricity. We need to remind them GYB is not taking half of what they were taking and yet he has done more for the people. The past is a guide to the future, a guard against the hawks of destinies, a gourd of reference to the maladies of misadministration, a sound reminder of where we can be when united as a people.
The advent of Governor Bello has redrawn the sharing formula for the big “elephant”. It is no more for the few oligarchs who see themselves as the gods of the land, but for the good and welfare of the people. He is rebuilding the damages done by past leaders who never saw a future giant in Kogi. He is rebuilding our infrastructure that was left to rot. He is constructing roads, hospitals, schools, water facilities and many other social infrastructures to better the living condition of the people.
The angst of the elites is the failure of GYB to patronize them and share the allocations to them or use state resources to pay staff of their private hotels or private radio stations. If he were to be doing these, he would be seen to be the “best” Governor ever. He is the “worst” Governor ever because he has stopped children from sitting on the floor to learn by providing the right environment and facilities for learning. He is a “Pharoah” because he has stopped the syphoning of revenue generated by repositioning the KGIRS to generate more revenue for the development of the state. He is a “coronated” Governor because he has given good roads and electricity which they refused to give their own people. He is “politically naïve” because he decided to stop the multi-million-naira monthly fraud in the civil service and pensions through a thorough verification exercise. He “doesn’t pay salaries” because those found to be unmerited beneficiaries and ghost names were removed from the payrolls. As mighty as the pen is, truth is mightier.
It takes a revolution to confront the Kogi Cabal. They have fought with everything and sponsored spurious reports to discredit the State Government. But the young and focused Governor has remained undaunted. Just as we didn’t suffer the maladministration of the past immediately, the remedies of the present may take time to yield fruits.
Meanwhile, the low-hanging fruits are already in our hands. Road projects are going on across the state. Our tertiary institutions are witnessing awesome transformation. Medicare has received a boost as government is providing the right equipment and incentives. A diagnostic centre project which was abandoned has been turned to a world-class facility which will be commissioned later this year. It was remodeled, repackaged, expanded to become the best in the country. GYB Model schools are going on in all the wards in the state. Water provision has been a top priority. Agriculture has been thrusted at the center of his economic diversification agenda.
We are the biggest producers of cashew and cassava today. The Indigent Fund has been established to cater for people with health challenges in the state. The Omi Dam Project and similar ones in Osara, Ibaji and Bassa have helped to engage thousands of our youth. They were given guns in the past but this government is giving them jobs. With the Health Plus Initiative, he has dragged down the maternal mortality rate in Kogi State.
There is no doubt that the ongoing reforms in Kogi will survive the elite’s conspiracy to take the state to the dark days. Even the critics cannot deny the excellent performance of the Governor in the area of securing the state. He is not only looking at saving lives, but sharing prosperity through the New Direction Agenda.
Kogi will get there.
Fanwo Kingsley is the Director General of Media and Publicity to the Governor of Kogi State.