By Kingsley Fanwa
Kogi people around the world had always dreamt of having a Governor who will launch the state on the national and international stages; a unifier who will collapse the walls of division; a patriotic leader who places service above elections; in Alh Yahaya Bello, their prayers were answered.
Why Kogi People Are With Their Governor
Before the advent of the present administration, the State was sharply divided along ethnic lines, corroded by disunity as politicians planted division in the minds of our people for their selfish political gains.
The first three appointments of the Governor immediately after his inauguration on January 27, 2016, were spread across the three Senatorial Districts. Hon Edward Onoja from Kogi East became the first CoS in Kogi State to emerge from a zone different from that of the Governor. All the Governors before GYB had ensured their CoS emerged from their Zone. A Governor came and changed that. His SA Media was appointed from Kogi Central and his CPS from Kogi West.
It was a fresh breeze that reshaped the mentality of the Kogi People. They were glad to have a unifier as Governor. Projects were spread all over the State and the institutions of government were ushered into a new vista of development. All the appointments under his administration were spread, a situation which has helped beak down the barriers of ethnic jingoism.
Also before the coming of the present administration in the State, insecurity was rife. Robbery and kidnapping were perpetrated with reckless abandon. The State gave up while the reign of terror continued.
But Governor Yahaya Bello has changed the narratives today. He provided over 200 utility vehicles for patrol and procured sophisticated gadgets for the Operation Total Freedom established by the present administration to stamp out criminality in the State. Intelligence gathering became seamless and properties which were proceeds of crime were destroyed to serve as a deterrent to others. The result is here: Kidnapping and armed robbery has dropped by over 92 per cent!
We thank all the organizations home and abroad that have honoured Governor Yahaya Bello as the best Governor insecurity. The gains are here. Investors are pumping in and our youth are getting engaged. Though those who are unemployable are still gathering Mabushi Friends to share one million Naira protest windfall to spread falsehood.
Farmers now produce more as they have no fear some kidnappers might take them off and be demanding for ransom. Security is key to development and even the opposition has testified to the fact that the Governor has delivered on that.
When the real stakeholders of Kogi State APC pay a long overdue courtesy call on the national organs of our party, we will be sure to deliver to the three editions of our annual referral compendium. Each itemises Governor Yahaya Bello’s achievements in each of the last three years of his stewardship. Nevertheless, let us itemise a few of these achievements here to highlight the Governor’s love affair with the people of Kogi State:
The present administration in Kogi State is not operating on a guess board but on a well thought-out agenda known as the New Direction Agenda. The Governor of the State, who is the Youth Ambassador in Governance has been focused on getting the job done despite the untiring efforts of political opponents to misrepresent the person of the Governor and his administration to the outside world.
We have therefore come out to state clearly, some of the achievements of the present administration in the state under the dynamic Governor who is silently turning Kogi to the epicentre of development.
One of the areas the administration of Alh. Yahaya Bello has performed most beautifully is the area of security. From being one of the most insecure and dreaded states as at the time Governor Bello took over, the state has risen to become one of the safest states in Nigeria today. The administration’s determination and commitment towards securing the state was borne out of the conviction that security is the primary and most important function of government. More so, security is the bedrock of growth and development in any society. It is heartwarming to note that the National Bureau of Statistics has named Kogi, Kebbi and Bauchi as the leading states with less reported crimes. The Governor has also won awards on security from the Nigerian Police, CSOs, media and other reputable organisations.
How did the administration achieve the security feat?
1. The administration purchased more than 200 security vehicles for different kinds of security operations across the state. This is unprecedented in the history of the state.
2. Over 500 motorcycles were provided for security operations to allow security agents access to the hinterlands where most of the heinous crimes are committed. The Vigilante service men and women use the motorbikes to access difficult terrains where criminals reigned as terror lords since those locations are inaccessible.
3. On the assumption of Office, the Governor met daunting statistics of an average of 25 kidnap cases per month. As of today, it has dropped to an average of 2. In many months, there were no cases of kidnap at all. The 92% crash in cases of kidnap and robbery was achieved through the right policies. The launch of Operation Total Freedom, which has driven fear into the criminals, heavy investment in communication gadgets and training of security operatives , the Security Whistle Blower Policy which exposed the criminals, the Vigilante Service Operation and the domestication of the Criminal Justice Code were all instrumental to the excellent security of lives and property in the state.
4. To curb Highway Crimes, the administration of Governor Yahaya Bello ensured the clearance of 40 metres on both sides of highways to ensure criminals have no hiding place.
5. Provision of assorted security equipment for security agents in the state.
6. Construction of Army Forward Operation bases at different places across the state to enhance the security of lives and property
7. Encouraging a robust relationship between the State Government and the various security agencies in the state. This has boosted the morale of the security agents to defend the Kogi territory.
8. Demolition of structures owned by criminals in the state to serve as a deterrent to others
9. Training of Forest Guards to protect our forest resources from pilferers.
10. Recruitment of thousands of Vigilante Corps to compliment the efforts of the conventional security agents in the state.
11. Provision of Free Toll Lines to encourage citizens in giving information about criminals and crimes to security agencies.
12. In order to avert Farmers/Herdsmen Clashes, the State Government created a dialogue and cooperation platform for a free flow of communication between the Government and the herdsmen on one hand and the Communities and herdsmen on the other hand. This excellent relationship has ensured both farmers and herdsmen are living peacefully together in Kogi State.
13. The State Government has been able to create a synergy between the various security agencies in the state.
14. The government has supported the training of security operatives to equip them with modern knowledge of crime control.
15. The morale of security operatives in the state has been boosted with better working conditions, equipment and their welfare. They are well motivated to give their best to the people of the state.
The Governor has won several awards including an award by the Inspector General of Police. Kidnapping and robbery have dropped drastically due to the determination and commitment of the Governor to ensure Kogites are safe.
Quality healthcare delivery has been one of the greatest achievements of the present administration in Kogi State. Apart from the ongoing state-of-the-art Medical Diagnostic Centre that is threatening to be the best this nation has ever witnessed, a lot of achievements are ongoing:
16. The Healthcare Plus Program has been hailed as one of the best healthcare policies in the nation today. The Honourable Minister for Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole said it is one of the best in Nigeria today. The program has made it possible for pregnant women to have access to no-cost medical services across the state. It was borne out of the commitment of the Governor to ensure women don’t die anymore in the process of giving birth to children. This a big plus to our battle against maternal mortality.
17. Renovation, remodelling and re-equipping of 21 existing Primary Health Care Centres (one per LGA) with solar-powered boreholes and electrification to help the success of the Healthcare Plus Programme.
18. Recruitment, training and re-training of Health Workers on various specialities.
19. Provision of free maternal and newborn healthcare services including referral services where and when necessary.
20. Healthcare Plus will serve as a pre-implementation plan for the much awaited state-wide universal health insurance scheme.
21. Bello Health Intervention program has so far helped 168 patients with life-threatening issues. Nothing is too much to save lives. Those critical situations include stroke, congestive heart failure, malignant diseases, various degrees of trauma, including spinal cord injury, some of which were sent abroad for advanced treatment and the successful separation of conjoined twins.
22. Under the Bello Health Initiative, the State Government has also procured assorted customized pediatric drugs currently in the State Medical Store, through the Office of the SDG.
23. Adoption of Clorhexidine gel for umbilical cord care.
24. Prompt payment of counterpart fund to partners to enable the state access all her healthcare facilities.
25. The State Government has frontally combated the menace of quackery in the health profession to protect Kogites.
26. The administration has prioritized the success of the Kogi State Sustainable Drug Supply Sysytem.
27. Under this administration, we have witnessed an unparalleled response to a medical emergency situation.
28. The administration has never failed to key into high impact strategies such as maternal, newborn and child health week.
29. Introduction of Public Private Partnership into the health sector. The Ministry of Health in conjunction with Kogi State Bureau for Private Public Partnership (BPPP) has reached an advanced stage in discussion with willing investors to bring quality healthcare services into the state under the PPP arrangement, in the areas of radio diagnostic and laboratory services. Negotiations are ongoing on the possibility of leasing some of the State’s medical facilities for massive upgrading and management.
30. Confluence Advanced Medical Diagnostic and Imaging Centre (CAMDIC). The New Direction administration is working towards completing the abandoned construction activities. The administration of Alh. Yahaya Bello has paid for the already supplied equipment and procuring additional equipment to revitalize the project.
31. Giving the College of Nursing, Obangede, a deserved facelift. Under the New Direction administration, the old College of Nursing, Obangede, a monotechnic, has been approved to be converted to a Polytechnic with the introduction of new courses such as Dental Nursing and Midwifery.
32. The Administration has been able to renovate our Zonal Hospital in Kabba (Kogi West), Idah (Kogi East) and Okene (Kogi Central). This has made it easy for people to access quality healthcare without necessarily besieging the medical facilities at the state capital.
33. The administration has constructed a Cottage Hospital in Kpareke.
34. The New Direction Government has also embarked on massive renovation and construction of new hostels and Clinic at the School of Nursing, Obangede.
35. Construction of an administrative block at the School of Health Technology, Idah
36. Strengthening of the State Action Committee on HIV/AIDS enlighten the people about the dangers of contacting the disease.
37. The State Government has also come up with a modality of Workplace Diagnosis to prevent work place deaths as a result of unknown or lately discovered health conditions.
Agriculture has witnessed an unprecedented revolution under the present administration in the state. The State Government keyed into the Agricultural Renaissance Policy of the Federal Government which was aimed at ensuring food security and promoting non-oil sector for economic transformation.
Today, Kogi State has become the Agricultural Capital of Nigeria as the Governor has created the right environment and support to make agriculture the driver of the state economy.
38. The Governor Yahaya Bello administration has succeeded in encouraging the youth to key into farming through orientation, sensitization, mechanization, inputs subsidy and many other supports. Today, many youths can boast of a career in farming. This has drastically helped in switching the minds of the youth across the 21 Local Government Areas in the state to agriculture.
39. The State Government has succeeded in facilitating loans for farmers to encourage mechanization and improved production of food.
40. The State Government cleared 1000 hectares of land across the state which were allocated to youthful farmers with farm inputs and agric machines services.
41. The State Government procured 375 Fergus Tractors with complete implements, three quantities each for Mini Harvesters, Planters, Broom Sprayers, Rice Reapers and other similar equipment to enhance agricultural activities and boost production.
42. Procurement and assemblage of 1500 Tillers which were distributed to small scale farmers in 2017.
43. Along the value chains, Agriculture has created about 20,000 jobs for Kogites, thereby depopulating the unemployed demography in the state.
44. The State Government contributed in no small measure to the cultivation of 3000 hectares of rice and 5000 hectares of cassava in the state.
45. In order to bridge the gap in vegetable production using the advantage of the nodal location of the state, the State Government has established a state of the art greenhouse Farm at Osara to produce tomatoes and other vegetables.
46. Keying into the Central Bank of Nigeria’s Accelerated Agricultural Development Scheme (ADS) through payment of the State’s counterpart fund by the Bello Administration, the Ministry of Agriculture has constructed 500 fish ponds as a pilot scheme and have been handed over to over 1000 youth across the state to own and operate.
47. In a related development, over 300 youth will also be empowered in Akpata Ega in Idah Local Government where 400 ponds have already been constructed. This is being replicated in all the Senatorial Districts in the state. The main scheme is targeting 10,000 youth across the state.
48. In collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, the State Government took delivery and distributed 76btruck-load of inorganic fertilizer to farmers at a subsidized rate to boost soil fertility.
49. As the leading producer of Cassava in Nigeria and coupled with the guaranteed security of investors, Kogi State has been able to attract the biggest ethanol company in Nigeria known as Unicane. The company uses cassava as its main raw materials, thereby sparking massive production of the crop. Kogi farmers have never been richer.
50. The Federal Government must have seen the seriousness of the State Government in promoting agriculture when it nominated the latter as the pioneer state for the National Egg Production Scheme. 135 youth are empowered with N4.2 million each to support their poultry farms.
51. The Omi Dam success story is a massive testimony of the achievement of the Yahaya Bello-led administration in agriculture. The scheme is positioning the state as the rice detination of Nigeria. The State Government has also empowered hundreds of youth to grow rice in the riverine areas of the state.
52. Thousands of farmers across the state have benefitted from the Anchor Borrowers Scheme of the Federal Government.
53. Ongoing construction of the Kogi State Rice Mill at Omi. Apart from the massive Mill at Omi, others with smaller capacities are being constructed at different locations across the state.
Good Governance and Institutional Reforms
The cog in the wheels of our progress as a state had been the wanton disregard for institutional correctness and reforms.
The following are verifiable achievements in this area:
54. The Bureau for Public Procurement was rejigged by the present administration under the leadership of a new Director-General, Dr Stella Adejoh. The pragmatic woman was given the job based on competence acquired through training both nationally and internationally. Today, the Bureau has restored sanity in public procurement and has woven a water-tight net that has made corruption almost impossible. The efficiency of the Bureau has been one of the reasons the Governor has been able to combat corruption in public procurement. Due process is the order of the day in Kogi State contractual dealings today.
55. The Bureau of Public /Private partnership has been repositioned to engage the private world in businesses that were used as conduit pipes to defraud the state in the past. Today, the Bureau has been able to facilitate some blue-chip deals that have added value to the state as well as elevate our respectability in the business community. Governor Yahaya Bello has used the BP3 to improve Kogi State’s acceptability in the business world and in the international community.
56. The Tax Reforms of the Yahaya Bello Administration has impacted positively on the finances of the state. It will be right to say that without the reforms, it would have been impossible to survive the current financial depression occasioned by the reckless borrowing and stealing of the past. On the assumption of Office, the Governor granted the Board of Internal Revenue autonomy. It became the Kogi State Internal Revenue Service. The government built and delivered, a gigantic Revenue House, which has added to the aesthetic beauty of the capital city. Competent hands were employed and revenue administration became digitalized. What we have today is a product of having a youthful and digital Governor at the helms of affairs who is digitally mobile and intellectually poised to move the state forward. Today, revenue has moved from the paltry N350 million naira that we inherited from the Idris Wada Administration to nothing less than N1.3 Billion naira monthly.
57. The Civil Service Reforms was a monster that many administrations before the incumbent avoided as a result of the fear of losing elections. Powerful Kogites who have so enriched themselves at the expense of the people of the state were involved in loading the payrolls of government with thousands of fictitious names to defraud the state. Governor Yahaya Bello refused to be cowed. He dared the cabal and stopped the stealing through a rigorous and thorough verification exercise. Mind-boggling revelations were left at the wake of the exercise and today, the government didn’t only succeed in removing ghost names from the service but have also digitalized the operations of the service as well as re-engineer the work psychology of the civil servants. A massive achievement that has set the state on the path of progress.
58. The present administration in the state has been able to promote peace and unity through detribalized leadership. The Governor has succeeded in spreading appointments and projects in a way never witnessed in the history of the State. The people of the state now trust one another. There are peace and harmony.
Electricity is pivotal to industrial development. In order to catalyze the economy of the state, Alh. Yahaya Bello-led administration has intervened to deliver the following electrification projects:
59. Completion of the Lokoja(Banda)-Kotonkarfe electrification project. This has brought succour to the people of the area and sparked industrial development to promote production and generate jobs as well as improve the living standards of the people.
60. The Electrification Project of Abejukolo in Omala Local Government Area. The people were grateful that it was a Governor from Kogi central that has decided to give them electricity despite the failure of their own son to do it despite being at the helms of the state’s affairs for 9 years.
61. Improvement of power to the electrification project of Agassa Town in Okene Local Government Area of the state.
62. Intervention to restore power to Ogori Community in Kogi Central
63. Intervention to restore power to the Isanlu Community after many years of darkness.
It should also be noted that the Governor has used his personal resources to restore power to Takete Ide Amuro and Ayede Communities.
64. In order to improve on the road infrastructure of the state, the administration of Alh. Yahaya Bello procured modern technology in road construction. Construction equipment were imported to raise the capacity of KOGROMA to deliver quality roads at a lower cost to the state. This has paid off as we have better roads constructed or rehabilitated by the Agency.
65. The Ongoing rehabilitation of Shintaku/Gboloko/Dekina road. This is a major road in the Eastern flank of Kogi State.
66. Construction and rehabilitation of Lokoja Township road
67. Ijowa-Jege-Ife-Olukotun road
68. Ankpa Township Road
69. Provision of solar-powered streetlights in Lokoja
70. Many other road projects too numerous to mention that are in advanced stages of completion
Education is at the top of the Thematic Areas of the New Direction Agenda. It is the best resource of any society and the bulwark for development and transformation.
The administration has embarked on the following projects in the educational sector:
71. Ongoing construction of GYB Model Primary Schools across the 239 Wards of the state.
72. Remodelling of our legacy schools across the state to meet international standards.
73. Construction of 50-bed capacity hostel at Government Girls Secondary School, Obangede
74. Construction of Library Extension at Kogi State College of Education (Technical), Kabba
75. Completion of the hostel project at Government Science Secondary School, Icheke in Omala Local Government Area
76. Restructuring of the Ministry of Education and its agencies to guarantee a good education for the people of Kogi State
77. Several ongoing projects at the Kogi State University, Anyigba and the Kogi State Polytechnic, Lokoja
Employment and Empowerment
78. Apart from the employment in Forestry and Vigilante service, the government has also employed health officers, law officers and other categories of the workforce.
79. The State Government has also set up a fund through which it has been paying tuition fees for indigent students across the state
80. Thousands of youth and women were trained and empowered through the Office of the Special Advisers to the Governor on SDG and Job Creation
81. The State Government has also sponsored the management of critical health conditions both at home and abroad. The fund has helped save many lives.
More Construction Works
82. Renovation of the State House of Assembly Complex, Lokoja. Today, the Assembly Complex can compete favourably with others around the country.
83. Construction of the Kogi State Ministry of Justice Office Complex, Lokoja.
84. Construction of the Kogi Revenue House.
85. Construction of the SDG House.
Government Relations with Traditional Rulers
The Administration of Alh. Yahaya Bello through the State Ministry of Local Government has been able to foster a robust relationship between government and the Royal Fathers. The following have been achieved:
86. Majoriy of the disputes relating to the installation of Royal Fathers have been resolved out of court.
87. Grading of royal stools has been regular, just and fair
88. Regular meetings of the Traditional Council to deliberate on issues that affect their people.
89. Robust relationship between the Traditional Rulers and aliens in their domains such as the Fulani, Tivs and many others. This has enabled peace and unity in the communities.
90. Amicable settlement consulted of communal disputes before they degenerate into a serious crisis.
91. The Traditional Rulers are and carried along in taking important decisions or formulation of crucial policies.
92. Renovation of palaces and royal institutions across the state.
93. An awakened sense of culture among the people as the government encourages cultural renaissance.
94. Unbanning of great cultural festivals in the Igala Speaking part of the state by Governor Yahaya Bello.
Sports and Youth Development
95. The repackaging and enhancement of the state’s male and female football teams.
96. Provision of new buses for the sports teams of the state
97. Adequate funding of sports in the state.
98. The state has won many laurels in football, judo and other sporting events both in Nigeria and outside the country.
99. Kogi State under the New Direction agenda is fast becoming the home of Beach Soccer in Nigeria. We are the Champions of the 2018 Edition of Kebbi Beach Sallah Tournament.
100. The Handball Teams of the state are doing very well nationally and internationally. The recently won many national laurels and will be representing the country in some international competitions around the world.
101. The State Ministry of Youth and Sports have launched sensitization programs and campaigns against Drug Abuse, Cultism, Examination Malpractices and other societal vices across the three Senatorial Districts of the state.
The administration of Alh Yahaya Bello has transformed Lokoja from being the second dirtiest State Capital in Nigeria to become the second cleanest capital in the country with better roads and streetlights among others.
A number of road projects across the state have been completed such as the Ankpa Township Roads while others are in advanced stages across the three Senatorial Districts.
Fanwo is the Director General of Media and Publicity, Office of the Kogi State governor, Lokoja