Different and rabble-rousing articles have littered the cyber space of late, posted on news blogs whose integrities and popularities are questionable and nothing to write home about, written by dubious, contentious and controversial personalities whose ink only flow as money flows and the argument is who should be or should not be the real occupant of Lugard house after 2oth of September. Majority of these articles are spurious with clear intent to blackmail the sensibility of the Supreme Court, twisting its arms of Justice into submission, thereby delivering judgment in favour of the same political cabal who have constituted themselves as nuisance and supreme Lords over Kogi politics and has held the stage captive for over 16 years.
It is a fact that before the swearing into office of Alhaji Yahaya Bello, Kogi state was at a metastasis cancerous state of collapse and comatose. It was a ticking time bomb waiting to explode at the maturity or expiration of the accumulated mess that previous government has created. The whole polity was in a disorder. The civil service was grappling with Ghost worker syndrome, while its Local Government arm was not left out of the horrifying state of muddle. There were abandoned projects littering everywhere, a few set of families, people and groups, lorded over the majority of the people. Poverty was palpable all around Kogi state and coupled with the famine of physical development or a way forward out of the malignant and bleak state.
It was based on the above premises that the people of Kogi state haven reached their Witt ends said NO to oppression, suppression and retrogression and for the love of the state and waited to revolt at the polls with their thumbs and Alhaji Yahaya Bello opted to run for the Office of the governor of Kogi State. Prior to the primary elections, Alhaji Yahaya Bello went round the 21 Local Government areas of Kogi State, not just canvassing for supports but taking into cognizance the myriads of problems that beleaguered various areas and harmed with these facts, he had a clear idea of what the problems of the people were. Unfortunately as it was, he came runner up and most unfortunately also, the man who was to lead Kogi state out of doldrums and shackles of deprivation of the peoples common patrimony from this group of cabal answered the call of nature. There after the sole responsibility to continue the race naturally from where Late Prince Abubakar Audu Stopped fell on the laps of Alhaji Yahaya Bello.
On assumption of office, Alhaji Yahaya Bello hit the ground running. Before any business, a committee was set up to go round the 21 Local government areas to have a comprehensive assessment and NEEDs of the people. The report was thereafter packaged as the states #NewDirection blueprints, which comprises of 5 core thematic areas that this government intend to make giant stride in:
1) Education for all
2) Health is wealth
3) Job creation and youth engagement
4) Infrastructure and utilities development
5) Productive civil servants and pension reforms
This is unprecedented in the history of Kogi state, as no previous government in the last 25 years had drawn up a one page road map for development, but the administration of Yahaya Bello. The next important action is sanitizing the civil service with an over bloated wage bill due to the activities of ghost workers. It is note worthy that various governments before this had embarked on civil service staff verification exercises, of note is the Sally Tibbot screening exercise that spans over 8 months but remained inconclusive and here, screened ghost workers like demon came back in their droves. To be able attain the plan of the Alhaji Yahya Bello’s for a productive civil service reforms, the ghosts have to go off the payroll. A scenario where a civil servant has been promoted 3 consecutive time without corresponding increment in his or salary because monies meant for increments have either been light-fingered away of leaked out of the system, this and others were source of worry, the ghost were having a field day over the real civil servants, choking and stagnating them from developing and putting in their best to the system. Hence the need to do a thorough weeding of ghost workers became imperative. The government went into it not minding stepping on toes of cabals. It has not been easy for Kogi civil servant, courtesy Ghost workers, the government is mindful of these but according to Late Aminu Kano, One must scratch that part of the body or mind that itches.
Within these 8 months alone, the government of Alhaji Yahaya Bello aside from progress made with the staff verification exercise and hundred of million of naira saved, had blocked all forms of financial drains and leakages within the State where people pilfered income that ought to be accrued to the state treasury from private accounts, notably is the indiscriminate Forestry activities and the none remittance of government dues from produce to Kogi state coffers by cabals.
The government is also making concerted efforts in bringing in foreign and local investors so as to boost our Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) and rely less on Federal Allocations that is bringing the state to its knee and backward developmentally. Worthy of mention is the financial autonomy granted to the Local Government Areas and the Kogi State Board of Internal Revenue (KSBIR). Of key note also is the remobilizing of contractors of abandoned projects back to site across the state. Sequel to this is the compilation of a comprehensive Blueprint and the bottom up approach of people need as in the New Direction Blue Print. Lastly, before assumption to office and the early stage of assuming office, Kogi state was notorious and known as den for robbers and kidnappers, due to its nodal nature and borders to many states. Kidnapping and robbery happens on a daily basis but as it stands today as I write, there have been no report of robbery or kidnapping because Governor Yahaya Bello has equipped the military and paramilitary with state of the art gadgets and hardware and charged them to combat crime to zero level
Change is painful but inevitable to achieving greatness and if we must grow, we stop malingering around the same vicious circles and deceit that has not paid off in 16 years. Late Aminu Kano said “The road to freedom is full of thorns and fire, yet happy is he who follows it!” For Kogi state to be liberated from shackles of stagnation and oppression, continuity of the Alhaji Yahaya Bello government is very pivotal to getting it right in Kogi. Scuttling the giant strides already achieved by this administration would set the state many years backward. Tthe cabal and hoards and battalions of ghosts workers will take over the civil services of Kogi and continually milk the state dry till it no longer become viable to run as a state.
The good people of Kogi state should as a matter of urgency refuse the desperations of these cabals, who have made governance their birth rights, in their eyes; no man is good enough to be governor hence they would frustrate him or her who emerges. Late Aminu Kano must have foreseen that this ugly trend would be a political bane in Kogi state of today when he said “Nigeria will never ever know peace until the Son of Nobody becomes somebody without knowing anybody”.
For as many who may not make it through the appeal committee, the government has made a promise to make the primary beneficiaries from the skill acquisition and empowerment schemes that would take off shortly, as it has promised to carry everybody along! The people of Kogi state and the Supreme Court must say no to these horrendous professional blackmailing of the vultures waiting in the offing to feast on our collective patrimony.
Williams Charles Oluwatoyin
Writes from Lokoja