Between Kogites And Gov Bello’s New Direction

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Like Bayelsa, Kogi State is warming up for governorship election on November 16, 2019. The clamour for Governor Bello to continue in office beyond January 2020 is gathering momentum. Basking in the euphoria of huge success in governance felt around them, most of the electorates at the grassroots have demonstrated their willingness to give Bello unequivocal support for the second term of office. The thinking is that he be allowed to finish what he started – the impactable development strides in the state.

Kogi State was carved out of old Kwara and Benue states by the then Ibrahim Babangida military administration on 27th August, 1991 and since then the state has witnessed different leaderships both democratically elected and appointed administrations.

According to the figures released by the Nigeria Population Commission for the 2006 census, the Igala tribe has about 51per cent of the state population. Consequent upon this, the Kogi East senatorial district had held sway to the governorship seat since the creation of the state before fate beckoned on Alhaji Yahaya Bello from one of the minority groups in the state to emerge the 4th Executive Governor of Kogi State in a divine order following the sudden demise of Prince Abubakar Audu, the APC candidate in the 2015 governorship election.

Alhaji Yahaya Bello, no doubt, did not disappoint on assumption of office in January 2016. He has done remarkably well in governance, a feat some analysts says unequals pastbgovernors in the annals of the history of the state. He began with far reaching reforms thay focused on bringing Kogi State back on the track of development that has eluded the state due to over bloated salary structure in the state civil service. In 2016, he did not make any mistake; he took the mantle of leadership of the state with a fierce determination to clean the augean stable in the civil service. It was a big task though, but he was set to bring sanity to civil service structure.

To get it right, all ministries and parasatals were made to go through bio metric screening to ascertain the actual number of the work force in the state. It was then discovered that some civil servants were illegally on the payroll of government.

Governor Bello has shown enough capacity to rule with detribalised intention. The man on saddle of power in Kogi has not disappointed on his electoral promises. It is significant to note that Governor Bello has shown a lot of commitment towards the growth ofbthe All Progressives Congress (APC). Before the 2015 election, the Kogi State APC secratariat was indebted to its landlord for two years. It took the intervention of Bello, who offset the bill, for the party not to be ejected. He cleared the bill and later discovered that the office does not match the statue of a ruling party like APC. He later moved the party to the new secratarat along Lokoja- Ganaja junction road.

In the central senatorial district of the state, APC had no secratariat, but the effort of Governor Bello established the party’s structure in the central senatorial district.

In the East Senatorial District, one fundamental achievement of Yahaya Bello is the recently commissioned unity house at Anyigba, which is the rallying point for the Igalas. The governor, in his all inclusiveness posture in governance, picked Okada riders as administrators and vulcaniser as aide. These are positions often reserved for the children of eminent persons. He broke down the barrier between the priviledged few and the less priviledged in the society.

Yahaya Bello’s uncommon taste for meaningful projects has given him an edge over his contemporaries. In the agriculture sector, the template for modernity has is second to none.The desire to beat world record of rice production in Kogi State through the Omi Dam is a reference point. Kogi with its resourceful and vast land has the potential of not only being sufficient in food production but also feed the nation.

Kogi East as it is today may not have a better option than to rally round the incumbent governor to return and complete his eight years provided by the constitution. The position of Chief of Staff has opened opportunities to Kogi East. In fact, the senatorial district has never had it so good since the creation of the state. Under the New Direction administration, the Igalas have enjoyed prominent positions they never had the opportunity to get under the previous administrations in the state. Governor Bello, being a detribalised man, remains the first governor of the state that has demonstrated equal love for the entire state in the implementation of his policies, programmes and even appointments.

He recognises all the constituences in the state and treats them equally without alloy. His open door policy for everyone to ventilate knows no bound as all his aides, no matter the class or position, enjoy equal attention.

The governor has also been well disposed to the wellbeing of the traditional rulers, hence he has repositioned the institution for effective and efficient performance of their functions as royal fathers for all in the state. On a general note, the governor deserves commendation for working round the clock to ensure a harmonious coexistence among the various ethnic groups in his domain. Agreed, the maintainance of peace and security is the primary responsibility of any government, but not all those in power today are serious about carrying out this vital function. Bello has proven to be one leader who understands very well that without the enabling environment no government can effectively implement developmental programmes.

Governor Bello has been able to unite the people of the state irrespective of their tribe, religion or class. It is a clear departure from what we used to have with the past administrations in the state. A Muslim governor building a chapel in the Government House for Christian faithfuls to have a place of worship within the area is a monumental achievement for me as a Christian.

However, whatever may be the shortcomings of the current administration, it is still far better than previous administrations in the state because cleaning up the system is more tasking than destroying it as we had witnessed in the past.

Aside the salary issue, which he is rigorously addressing, Governor Yahaya Bello has performed better than his predecessors. On security, healthcare services, education, infrastructure development, agriculture, civil service reforms, peace and unity, he has not disappointed.

– Onogu is Chief Press Secretary to Kogi State governor