A Must Read: The Facts To Ponder Before Criticizing Gov Bello, By Abdulkareem Onyekehi Suleiman
Posted On Oct 27, 2017
First and foremost, I would like to conduct a serious intellectual analysis on the crisis of governance that Governor Yahaya Bello actually inherited in Kogi state.
To avoid some putatively mistaken implications, it is sufficiently strong to represent these facts using a historicist model.
Salary of Civil Servants and Pensioners:
Salary issues in Kogi state has been a recurring decimal since 1999. The 1st executive Governor of the state, Prince Abubakar Audu, left some debts for the state and the successive administrations of Alhaji Ibrahim Idris and Idris Wada, complicated the situation thereby leaving a huge salary debts profile for the state.
When Governor Yahaya Bello assumed office in January 27 2016, his administration inherited a huge debts of non-payment of salary. The overbloated wage bill of over 80,000 civil servants (state and LG) was unimaginable as the cost of paying the burden of salary was far above the entire allocation to the state.
The high rate of corruption in pension board of Kogi State is mind boggling which called for thorough screening and massive reforms by the government of Yahaya Bello. The enormous corruption in the system had largely contributed to the hard times.
In addition, it is only an irresponsible government would employ workers above her personnel budget. This atrocity was committed by the past regimes through reckless appointments into Local Government areas and the State without careful and proper plan for their remuneration. The administration of Governor Yahaya Bello inherited this crisis of governance and he immediately inaugurated a screening committee with the sole aim of weeding and flushing out the ghost workers and pensioners from the overbloated payroll of the state.
However, by this demonstration, it is pertinent to note that government would be placing onerous task on its shoulder and thus degenerated into challenges of governance and civil servants who are the drivers of government are seriously partaking this challenges of reform.
It is also important to commend the government for making huge payment through the support of bailout and Paris club refunds as published on the national dailies and government’s website. By this critical analysis, the pending salary for regular civil servants is August and September as maintained by Kogi state Head of Service, and other pending issues are balance of salaries arrears, arrears of those on clemency (pardon), recently cleared staffs, supplementary list of cleared staffs and those on additional clemency list which was granted by His Excellency, Alh Yahaya Bello, and not because those less offences deserves pardon but because Governor Yahaya Bello is humane to reduce poverty and cushion the plight of the civil servants in the state. The said arrears are computed are ready for payment to clear the backlogs.
It is worthy of note, to quickly add that Kogi is just one out of 26 states in Nigeria that is battling with salary payments.
Before the emergence of Governor Yahaya Bello, Kogi was an enclave of armed robbers, Kidnappers, rituals, political thuggery, communal crises, clannish crises among others. Today, Gov Bello has technically defeated all these criminals activities and social ills bedeviling the State. Even the travelers who used to be terrified by Kidnappers and armed robbers on Kogi roads are now testifying the efforts of Governor Yahaya Bello demonstrated towards securing a peaceful atmosphere free of criminals and guaranteeing the protection of lives and property of the citizens.
Poor Infrastructural development was at its lowest ebb with many abandoned projects across the 21 local government areas and the state capital before the emergence of Governor Bello. It may surprise my readers to know, that GYB met a state capital of a pervasive darkness as there was no single street light on the major township roads, bad roads and stinky refuse dumps littered everywhere on the streets of lokoja including some dilapidated structures and government house was not excepted. But today, Lokoja the state capital has been electrified with solar powered street lights, rehabilitation of township roads, cleaner and beautified environment, building of new state-of-the-art structures and renovation of government house which are products of the present administration of Governor Yahaya Bello.
Similarly, the government is doing all within its powers to fulfil its promise on capital projects such as roads, rural electrification, portable water for the rural communities, quality healthcare centers, free medical outreach, GYB model school projects and series of projects which are completed and some are ongoing. The communities in Dekina and Omala Local Governments where the two ex Governors hails from never had electricity until Governor Yahaya Bello came to their rescue to provide electricity to those communities.
Equity and Fairness; the present government is anchored on the basic principle of Equity and Fairness. The past regime was seriously entangled into political marginalization and ethnic sentiments were featured thus some senatorial districts were grossly marginalised.
In fact, the administration of Governor Yahaya Bello has broken the jinx of ethnic divides in Kogi State thus appointing his Chief of Staff from Kogi East and capital projects are equitably and fairly distributed across the three senatorial districts.
Also on Job Creation and Youth Engagement;
Governor Yahaya Bello has empowered 2,500 youths on various skills acquisition and vocational training programme, 100 Youths trained on ICT, 460 gainfully employed in Revenue board, 1600 presently undergoing recruitment into health sector, 1600 Vigilantes are gainfully employed, 100 forest guards are also employed, 500 recruitment of fresh teachers is ongoing and mega tourism development is already in pipeline and all these achievements recorded within the last 21months can necessitate the potential industrialisation of Kogi state.
Other areas of strategic development efforts of the present government include; Agricultural Programmes such as Omi Rice, Ibaji Rice, Osara Green Farms and proposed industrial park.
Social Welfare; Kogi State Social investment program has empowered over 50,000 of Youths and women on Npower and Government Enterprises and Empowerment Program (GEEP). GYB administration is first of its kind in terms of welfare of the people and its policies are targeting people in the rural communities and they have felt the impact of GYB’s government more than any past governments of Kogi State, inspite of hard times as occasioned by the recently exited economic recession. The new direction administration is more committed to provide the immediate needs of the people in the rural communities.
Evidences are on ground for those who care to know. As a government built on transparency, the doors are open for facts finding by investigative journalists or concerned individuals.
Before you Criticise Governor Yahaya Bello, ponder on his above achievements so far.
The media propaganda against Kogi State government on salary is obviously orchestrated by Dino Melaye and Co who left their constituents in untold hardship, abject poverty and lack of basic amenities in their constituency but chose to desperately, restlessly and irresponsibly attacking Yahaya Bello and peddling lies to abuse the minds of the people riding on the basis of salary for cheap popularity. Governor Yahaya Bello is too refined to subject himself under Dino’s godfather is he is bargaining for and as a result of Governor Yahaya Bello’s refusal to allow them share Kogi “elephant” (public treasury) into their private pockets.
Therefore, search for the truth in Kogi. Make comparative analysis of Kogi before and Kogi Now in all sectors of the economy.
Thank you for reading.
Abdulkareem Onyekehi Suleiman is the Special Adviser to the Governor of Kogi State on Job Creation and SMEs Development.