Customs Intercepts Trailer Loads Of Tramadol, Viagra In Kogi

The Nigerian Customs Service (NCS), Federal Operation Unit, FOU, Zone B has announced that it intercepted a trailer conveying illicit drugs along Lokoja expressway in Kogi.

he Area Controller of the zone, Usman Dakingari, said that the information about the illicit drugs was gotten from the service intelligence unit and concerned individuals.

“The seizures were made by roving patrol officers; we accosted the trailer conveying the illicit drugs along Lokoja expressway and our suspicion became right.

“We saw some cartons of tramadol and Viagra in the other trailer, but we have not yet verified the total number and the efficacy and production method of the enhancers.’’

The controller stated that the intercepted drugs would be handed over to the National Drugs Law Enforcement Agency for further investigation.

[easy-social-share buttons="facebook,twitter" counters=0 style="button"]

Governor Yahaya Bello will make corruption a taboo in Kogi State – DG Media 

[easy-social-share buttons="facebook,twitter" counters=0 style="button"]

Kogi: Governor Bello Sets Up Judicial Commission of Inquiry To Retrieve Stolen Public Funds

The Executive Governor of Kogi State, Alhaji Yahaya Bello, today inaugurated a seven-man Judicial Commission of Inquiry to “probe, investigate, and recover misappropriated public funds, lost or diverted government properties, failed contracts and the existence of ghost workers by previous administrations in the state, between 29th May, 2003 and 27th January, 2016.

According to a press statement by the Secretary to the Government of Kogi State, Dr. (Mrs.) Ayode Folashade Arike, the Governor’s decision was in fulfilment of his promise to “clampdown on corruption and bring perpetrators to book.” This, the statement reads, is in exercise of the powers conferred him by Section 2 of the Commission of Inquiry Law Cap 25 of the Laws of Northern Nigeria 1963 (as applicable to Kogi State), and other relevant laws enabling thereto.

The Commissioners approved to by the Governor to act on the Commission are:

1. Justice Wada Umar Rano – Chairman

2. Dr. Mohammed Aboki

3. Barr. Ameh Franklin Adejoh

4. Prof. Angela O. Okatahi

5. Chief J.O. Ajewole

6. Maj. Gen. H.G. Aminu (rtd)

7. Mrs Fatima Ojochenemi Audu

The statement also confirmed the appointment of Barr. Ajinomoh Pemida as Secretary to the Commission, while J.B. Dauda will serve as Counsel to the Commission.

The Commission’s terms of reference include:

1.    Collating a comprehensive and updated list of contracts awarded by previous administrations in Kogi State between the period under review

2.    The names of companies of all companies and business names involved in the above specified contracts awarded and their company directors and/or proprietors and owners

3.    The personal names of companies of all contractors, either local or expatriates, involved in all contracts awarded by previous administrations between the period under review and their business addresses both within Nigeria and abroad.

4.    Determine whether contracts awarded by Kogi State Government between the period under review to individuals or corporate organisations were in accordance with due process, and/or were in accordance with contract agreement.

5.    The contract sum of each project, the amount actually paid to the contractor, and the percentage of work done. Identify where contracts were executed contrary to agreement as a result of which government lost money, recover such money and make appropriate recommendations for such case.

The Commission has 12 weeks to complete its assignment.

In his speech at the inauguration, Governor Bello charged the Commissioners to be fair and incorruptible. He asked them to maintain their integrity and fearlessness throughout the assignment. The Governor compared Kogi State’s history and development to Dubai’s, concluding that the state has been underserved.

“Kogi State was created on 27th August, 1991 – a little over 25 years ago. 25 years ago, Dubai was a desert settlement in the middle of nowhere. Today, Dubai is a global megalopolis hosting some of the most advanced man-made technology and infrastructure on Planet Earth. Kogi State, on the other hand, still ranks low on the global development map, along with the rest of Nigeria,” he said.

“Dubai did not start out with significantly more resources than Kogi State, except perhaps the honesty and patriotism of their human resources. While the leaders of Dubai got creative about changing their society for good, ours became exponentially proficient in short-changing their people in the worst ways possible.

“In this time and age, it is unbelievable that we are still grappling with lack of every conceivable public infrastructure, unpaid salaries, benefits, pensions, gratuities, unpaid contractors, unfunded projects, inability to meet counterpart funding obligations to Development and other partners, to mention but a few.

“That conclusion would be a total fallacy, for the simple reason that our previous leaders did not account properly for the money that we did get.  While I am not saying that our state has made or received all the money she needs, I make bold to insist that our problem is not the LACK of money, but the THEFT of money. If what we did make or receive were used better this past 13 years, we would not have the current socioeconomic disaster on our hands.

“We too must put our dirty linen out in the public, albeit in a controlled environment like the scrutiny of a Commission such as this one, subject it to cycles of cleansing in the washing machine of truth and bring out the stronger fabrics and brighter colors of a thriving society.

“I pray for wisdom, knowledge and understanding from Almighty God to rest on the Chairman, My Lord, Honorable Justice Wada Umar Rano (RTD) and on each member of this Commission of Inquiry and to make them both fearless and forthright in the performance of their duties.”

[easy-social-share buttons="facebook,twitter" counters=0 style="button"]

Keep Faith In Buhari, Kogi Governor Urges Nigerians

Kogi State Governor, Alhaji Yahaya Bello, has urged Nigerians to keep faith with the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari as the Nigerian leader has the capacity to navigate the ship of the nation out of the current recession occasioned by the years of locust and financial recklessness and malfeasance of past administrations.

Bello made this known through a press statement issued by his Chief Press Secretary, Petra Akinti Onyegbule. He said the nation must bond together and take tough decisions to ensure economic rediscovery.

The Governor said it is imperative for Nigerians “to seize the current economic situation to reinvent the glory of the nation and work with their leaders to fix the economic challenges”.

He said, “The benefit of having a credible leader at this critical moment is key to taking the nation off the tray of recession. President Muhammadu Buhari’s integrity is paramount to the drive to make the nation more dependent on agriculture. We must strengthen the capacity of agriculture to take centre-stage in our economy.

“Kogi State has shown a New Direction in economic development. Agriculture is our key to unlocking the limitless edaphic potentials of our state. More youth and women are now embracing agriculture, and in the next few years, Kogi State has the potential of becoming the food centre of the nation.

“Let me use this opportunity to urge the international business community to invest heavily in the agricultural sector of Nigeria. What the nation was spending on food importation is unacceptable, and today, we are paying the price for our inability to think outside the box that is oil.

“In all of these, Buhari remains the good news. His Economic Team possess the capacity to breathe life back into our economy. His fight against corruption and renewed efforts that have brought peace to North Eastern Nigeria have combined to rekindle the hope of the global community in what the nation is doing to be great again.”

Governor Bello said the economic recession would soon become a thing of the past, urging Nigerians to become change agents by ensuring the change we seek involves and begins with each and every one of us.

“More than ever, we need to be united and supportive of government. We need fiscal discipline and proper prioritizing of projects and programs of government. We must move forward with unity and a renewed determination to reclaim our nation from over-dependence on crude oil,” he said.

[easy-social-share buttons="facebook,twitter" counters=0 style="button"]

Governor Bello Has Started Infrastructural Revolution In Kogi – Aide 

[easy-social-share buttons="facebook,twitter" counters=0 style="button"]

I Have No Regret Challenging Kogi Governorship Election Result – Faleke

The deputy governorship candidate in the November 21, 2015 governorship election in Kogi State, Hon James Faleke reacted to the judgement of the Supreme Court upholding the election of Yahaya Bell as governor of Kogi State stating that he had no regrets challenging the decision to declare the election inconclusive as the step was taken in good faith to protect the interest of the over 240,000 electorates that voted for the Audu/Faleke ticket in that election.

A statement issued by the spokesperson of the group, Hon Duro Meseko quoting Hon Faleke said it would amount to a betrayal of the sacred trust of the people who reposed implicit confidence in the Audu/Faleke ticket not to have defended the sanctity of their vote up til the Apex court level.

“We have heard the judgement handed down by the Supreme Court jurists upholding Yahaya Bello as governor. We shall wait for the full text of the judgement to know why they came to that conclusion. But let it be stated here that we have no regrets challenging the declaration of our election as inconclusive by the Independent National Electoral Commission(INEC). What we did was to defend the votes cast for Audu/Faleke by the over 240,000 electorates on November 21, 2015. The people voted for us as candidates not APC because they believe in the kind of leadership we offer to provide for them during our campaigns. It would therefore amount to crass betrayal of the trust of these electorates not to have defended their votes till the end”.

Hon Faleke said as a lawmaker, he would be glad to read details of the judgement so as to “know which areas of our nation’s jurisprudence require urgent review”.

He urged all his supporters to remain calm, peaceful and law abiding while thanking them for their support and perseverance all through the court proceedings.

[easy-social-share buttons="facebook,twitter" counters=0 style="button"]

Supreme Court Upholds Election Of Yahaya Bello As Kogi Governor

The Supreme Court on Tuesday affirmed the election of Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State.

The seven-man panel headed by Justice Sylvester Ngwata affirmed the election after listening to the closing statements of all the counsel.

The court in a unanimous judgement dismissed the appeal filed by Hon. James Faleke, the deputy to Late Abubakar Audu, candidate of the APC aand Captain Idris Wada of the PGP.

The court said it will give reasons for its judgement on September 30, 2016

The election petition tribunal of the state and the court of appeal had dismissed their petitions against the governor for lacking in merit.

The All Progressives Congress substituted Bello as its governorship candidate and retained Faleke as its deputy governorship candidate after Audu died at the conclusion of the first round of the election held on November 21.

[easy-social-share buttons="facebook,twitter" counters=0 style="button"]

Our Facts Against Their Falsehood – Kogi State Govt

Our attention has been drawn to a labour of fiction manufacturing by some disgruntled elements, who have been ceaselessly attempting to sail their ship on a shallow water in their attempts to impugn on the integrity of the Governor Yahaya Bello-led administration in Kogi State.

Having mastered their trend of scampering for sympathy every time a tribunal judgement is at hand, we would not have necessarily wasted our time responding to their falsehood. But we owe the Nigerian public an obligation to set the record straight and expose the fictitious pawn of the detractors, who assume everyone who finds himself or herself in public office would act like them.

The characters behind the campaign of calumny are in the least, disgruntled by the radical change in leadership approach in the State, in which the people, and not political dealers, are served.

These are leaders who have had the opportunity of being Governors, Senators, Members of the House of Representatives, Commissioners and House of Assembly Members in the past without any iota of impact on the people they lead or represent. They were breeding thugs to win elections and use the proceeds of their representations and other fraudulent practices to build hotels and petrol stations in choice areas around the country in such a shameless and selfish manner. They did not add any value to the lives of the people.

It is heart-warming to note that the people of Kogi State have already read through their classic hypocrisy and evil intentions. Their sponsored attacks against a government that has institutionalized anti-corruption in the State is an antithetical opprobrium. The Governor is being hunted for blocking their filthy lucre through strict adherence to accountability.

As at the time of writing this report, no government official has been given official vehicles. The Governor has made service to the people priority over servicing his appointees despite the grave need of appointees to be able to move around in order to be able to carry out their duties effectively.

The renovation of offices and residential quarters in Government House was imperative to give the State a facelift. As the first point of call for investors and development partners, the Government House should represent our drive for excellence. Where government business is conducted matters to those who may wish to conduct business with government. It is gratifying that nobody has accused the Governor of renovating his personal house with government resources. The Kogi State Government House is not a property of the Governor, but that of The Kogi people. All the contracts for the renovation went through due process.

Against their antics, the following are some of the giant strides of the Governor in the different spheres of governance and sectors:

Ø The administration of Alh Yahaya Bello has been able to mobilize The Kogi people in an unprecedented manner, for a common action. Replica of his campaign tour, the New Direction Blueprint Team, went around the entire State to make findings on the immediate need of the people. This is the first time in the history of the State that such connection will be effected by the government with the people. Implementation of the document has commenced in earnest to take the State to new heights. The youth, women groups, artisans, farmers and many others now feel incorporated by government.

Ø Secondly, good governance has remained the bulwark of administrative excellence in a democratic setting. The administration of Alh. Yahaya Bello has institutionalized stringent anti-graft bumps to ensure transparency and accountability. Government spending is now based on adherence to budgetary provisions. Leading by example, the administration of Governor Yahaya Bello is angling the record of becoming the most transparent Governor in Nigeria.

Ø Similar to the second point is the respect for the rule of law and supremacy of the constitution. All the arms of government in Kogi State are given free hand to ensure effective delivery of governance. For the first time in the history of the State, the people are central to government decisions and policies.

Ø While many have continued to hail the Governor for the spread of his appointments since assuming office, other critical thinkers have read deeper meanings to the structure of the appointments. Sons and daughters of ordinary Kogi people now decide the direction of governance. The decision of the Governor to appoint people of capacity but without any affinity to powerful forces in the State, has no doubt, sparked a class war. In the past, appointment was based on favoritism, parochialism, ethnicity and godfatherism. The sharp departure from that ugly past is stirring power abrasion in the State.

Under the Governor and in loyalty to capacity, the Chief of Staff to the Governor comes from a different zone to the Governor. To underscore the impact of leadership by example, the Deputy Governor also appointed the Deputy Chief of Staff from another zone.

Aminu Kano of blessed memory captured the intent of Governor Yahaya Bello succinctly thus: “Nigerian will know no peace until the son of a nobody, can become somebody, without knowing anybody”. This is the story of Kogi State in the New Direction.

Ø Before the advent of the present administration, insecurity was frightening in Kogi State. The State was almost a jungle of anomie where lawlessness, robbery and kidnapping were the order of the day. The situation that led to the insecurity was created by some of the politicians crying wolf today. They armed our youth for election and abandoned them as soon as they won elections, leaving the youth to use their arms for criminalities while the political lords built hotels in Abuja and Lagos.

Governor Yahaya Bello has been able to stabilize the situation by beefing up security across the State with the unimpeachable cooperation of Mr. President to provide necessary logistics to combat crime in the State. Also, the procurement of about 110 Ford Vans, hundreds of motorcycles and many other crime fighting gadgets by the Governor, remains the heaviest investment by any government in Kogi State since 1991 on security. Today, though we still witness flashes of these crimes occasionally like any other society, the situation has stabilized.

From Idah to Okene to Egbe, these vans and security men have taken the fight to those who were antisocially threatening the peace of Kogi State.

Ø Agricultural development has been one of the strongest points of the Yahaya Bello Administration in the State. The Governor has initiated a number of agricultural program such as the Government House Farm, School Farming Scheme and a lot of others to express his determination to use agriculture as the springboard for economic renaissance. In no distant future, Kogi State will become the food basket of the nation.

Ø During his electioneering, Governor Yahaya Bello promised the people a reformed and more respectable civil service that will be efficient and disciplined. The crassness of the Civil Service inherited by the present administration cannot drive the dream of New Direction. More importantly, the Civil Service is over-bloated and top-loaded, a situation which made it impossible for government to do any other thing aside payment of salaries. As a Governor who will not be just a salary-paying Governor, removing unintended beneficiaries from the wage bill is inevitable. The staff verification exercise has exposed the rot of the past. But instead of the past corrupt leaders to apologize to the people of the State, they are busy sponsoring falsehood against the man who has taken it upon himself to clean the mess of the past. Thousands of ghost workers were discovered.

In the period of the verification, it became expedient for government to pause payment of salaries until genuine workers were ascertained. As soon as that was done, government paid all their outstanding salaries. Civil servants now call the Governor 8/8. Eight months in office, eight months’ salaries! How the dreamers came up with their arithmetic was not only baffling, but incredulous.

Beyond salaries, government is striving to reposition the civil service and make it pragmatic and dynamic to contribute meaningfully to the development of the State. The Governor is committedly growing the economy to make it attractive to civil servants and further reduce the wage bill of government.

Ø Furthermore, the administration of Governor Yahaya Bello has built an iron-cast synergy with the Organized Private Sector. The biggest economies around the world are private sector-led. Kogi State is blessed with world class mineral resources such as Iron Ore, limestone, coal and many others. The State has the potential of becoming the industrial capital of Africa. But this will not happen without creating an enabling environment for the private sector to help explore the mineral resources as well as our tourism potentials. Between January 2016 and now, many local and foreign firms have signed MoUs with the government to help develop some of these potentials. Quality leadership, global trust. The implications of a robust private sector led economy of Kogi State are numerous. Some of them are benefits from business social responsibility, employment, more revenue to the State as well as expensive market.

Ø Governor Yahaya Bello has been able to mobilize contractors back to sites in order for the State to witness development. Revelations from some of these contractors showed how some of those dreaming of coming back to govern the State siphoned funds meant for projects with direct bearing on the lives of the citizens. This prompted the Governor to be working on a Judicial Panel of Enquiry to unravel the graft which surrounded a number of failed contracts around the State.

Ø The Government of Kogi State under the leadership of Alh. Yahaya Bello has been able to improve on water supply to the people of the State. There are also collaborative efforts aimed at exploring the bountiful opportunities in some of the biggest dams across the State.

Ø Governor Yahaya Bello has turned around the face of Lokoja. In January 2016, Lokoja was one of the dirtiest state capitals in Nigeria. The roads were mere death traps. But today, the capacity of the State Sanitation Board has been raised to ensure a cleaner Lokoja. This truth is self-evident. Also, the township roads have been fixed for smooth ride across the state capital.

Ø As a part of the anti-corruption initiative of The Kogi State Government, monument frauds have been discovered at the Local Government Education Authority. Millions of naira were paid to people who sleep in the comfort of their homes without going to any office. With this, millions of naira has been saved to provide amenities to the people of the State.

Ø The Kogi State Sustainable State Development Goal team lead by Architect Ahmed Okara has also gone around the State to ascertain the development needs of the people. Having contributed her own counterpart fund, Kogi State is now set to start rolling out projects that will impact on the welfare of the people.

Ø The recent hosting of The Chief Justice of Nigeria Games at our Confluence Stadium in Lokoja is further testimony of the rising prominence of the State in national reckoning. Delegates from across the nation were in Lokoja to catch a glimpse of the beauty of our State and feel the direction the present administration has chosen. Successfully hosting a tournament of such magnitude within the first eight months in office shows the sign of greatness of the present administration.

Ø The directive of the Governor to all political appointees to always visit their constituents at least, twice a month, also serves as a revelation of the intent of the administration not to lose touch with the people at the grassroots. This has helped the administration built a chord with the people.

Ø The success story of The Graphic newspapers have shown the essence of great leadership. The appointment of a veteran journalist, Mr. Dayo Thomas as the Managing Director of the outfit has turned the fortunes of the paper around. The Governor no doubt, has eye for excellence.

Ø The landmark achievement recorded in granting Local Government Autonomy in the state has been plausible. The Governor, few weeks into his administration, announced full financial autonomy for Local Government Councils. He went further to cancel all obnoxious deductions from their allocations, charging the Councils to justify the autonomy by being accountable to the people they serve. Before the Governor’s assumption of office, allocations meant for Local Government Councils were knifed by the Ministry of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs. The advent of the present administration has led to the resolution of many litigations surrounding chieftaincy titles out of court. This has restored peace and harmony to rural communities across the state.

It is expedient to know that the people of the State are resolutely behind their Governor. He has pulled down the walls of ethnicity and replaced it with the rope of connectivity. He has stopped corruption. He has built a strong connection with the people. He has given hope to the hopeless.

Though this government is not under any illusion that it is there yet, but the momentum has given hope of limitless potential. Governor Yahaya Bello is gradually translating our potentials to realities.

He has provided pontoons on which the people of Kogi State can rely and work with to sail their ways to excellence.

The embossed ignorance of the godfathers who have lost out in the power game in the State remains an advantage to the people who are benefitting immensely from the blockade of the drains of the state’s resources.

Have they told us where they got money to build hotels with billions of naira whereas they entered politics poor? Have they told us where they got money to buy jets? How can people who are perennial cankerworms on the resources of the State turn around to attack a reformer? The people have refused to be fooled.

Trying to blackmail the judiciary as always by the same set of jesters has become monotonously disorienting. It failed at the lower tribunal, it failed at the Appeal Court, and it will surely not work on the respected jurists of the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court will determine the cases before it based on the point of law and not the peddling of falsehood. The little lesson for the Gathering of Failures is: Do not stick to a failed strategy. Try something new.

The government of Alh Yahaya Bello will not be coerced into giving the Commonwealth of the people to a desperate, failed few.

In the words of the Governor, “Kogi’s resources will work for Kogi people!”

The people of Kogi State believe in the administration of Alh Yahaya Bello to rebound the economy of the State and make it a catalyst for middle-level economic empowerment. He cannot afford to fail the people.

It is our year of Silver Jubilee and our people deserve nothing less than a Silver Lining through our Silver Bullet.

Kogi, it is beginning to be good here.

God bless the Confluence State.

Signed

Kingsley Fanwo

Chief Press Secretary to the Governor of Kogi State

[easy-social-share buttons="facebook,twitter" counters=0 style="button"]

Kogi State: Continuity In Line With The Law, Key To Its Liberation, By Williams Charles Oluwatoyin

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
wlmcharles@yahoo.co.uk
Writes from Lokoja

[easy-social-share buttons="facebook,twitter" counters=0 style="button"]

Five Top Kogi Officials Arrested For Allegedly Diverting N230m Pension Fund

Five Top civil servants in Kogi have been arrested for allegedly diverting N230 million pension fund to their private uses.

The Accountant-General of the state, Yusuf Okala, confirmed the development to the News Agency of Nigeria in Lokoja on Sunday.

Mr. Okala, who is also the Chairman of the Staff Screening and Verification Committee, said the alleged fraud was discovered in the course of the committee’s work.

“Yes, it is true. We have been able to recover N20 million from them through the efforts of the police command in the State,” Mr. Okala said.

Also, the state Auditor-General, Ahmed Ododo, said the money would be recovered in full from the suspects.

NAN learnt that the money was part of funds released by the administration of Idris Wada for the payment of pensioners.

Over 9,000 retirees in the state are owed between four and five months pension arrears as a result of the alleged diversion and the lack of funds by the government.

Mr. Ododo explained that the suspects would be made to face the law.

He commended the state government for setting up the committee for conducting the verification in the interest of the state.

He said that apart from identifying ghost workers and pensioners, the committee was working to plug loopholes through which public funds were being stolen.

Mr. Ododo promised that all genuine workers and pensioners would soon be cleared for the payment of salaries and pensions.

“The screening of workers and pensioners is going to be a continuous exercise.

“No authentic staff or pensioner will have any cause to fear. Governor Yahaya Bello-led administration in the state has high regard for both workers and pensioners.

“The on-going verification is not aimed at victimising anybody but an effort targeted at saving money for the state to take adequate care of its responsibilities,” Mr. Ododo said.

(NAN)

[easy-social-share buttons="facebook,twitter" counters=0 style="button"]

Kogi: Late Audu’s Award Not Diversionary – Edward Onoja

The Kogi State Government has said that the posthumous leadership award bestowed on the late All Progressive Congress (APC) governorship candidate, Prince Abubakar Audu, was not meant to serve any diversionary purpose but to recognize the contributions of the late leader to the infrastructural development of the state.

The Chief of Staff to the Governor, Mr Edward Onoja, said this while reacting to comments credited to the son of the late leader, Mohammed Audu, who had described the award as ‘self-serving and diversionary.’

He said Governor Yahaya Bello bestowed the highest leadership award on the late Audu because it was an unanimous decision that no past Kogi governor had impacted the state developmentally in the last 25 years like the late leader did.

“It is sad that Mohammed Audu would go to press to say the award was diversionary and self serving. How does that serve the Governor?. Rather, it serves the political family of the Late Audu. It serves the memory of the Late Audu; it serves the good people of Kogi East and generality of the Kogi people,” he said.

Edward said it is rather unfortunate and illogical for anybody to think that the award has got anything to do with pending case at the Supreme Court.

“Bestowing award on the Late Prince Abubakar Audu has no bearing with the awaited judgement at the Supreme Court. But there are antecedents which are very clear. At the tribunal, it was made clear that Governor Bello’s mandate is in line with the law.

“At the Appeal, it followed suit. And the good people of Kogi state are not expecting anything different from the Supreme Court. He should not link the award to the Supreme Court. He should rather wait for the outcome of the Supreme Court as he had always done in the other lower courts and has gone back home disappointed,” he said.

He said besides the recent leadership award, Governor Yahaya Bello had earlier named the Kogi State University, the highest tertiary institution in the state, after the late Prince Abubakar Audu to honour and immortalize his memory. A gesture that he, Mohammed Audu, gratefully appreciated.

According to him, the immediate past administration in the state had earlier proposed to name the state polytechnic after the late leader but Governor Bello thought it best to name the highest institution in the state after the late political icon.

Hon. Onoja concluded by saying it takes only an ignorant mind to think that in the event of death of a father in a political race the replacement falls on the first son.

[easy-social-share buttons="facebook,twitter" counters=0 style="button"]

Kogi At 25 Celebrating Kogi’s Silver Jubilee, Silver Lining And Silver Bullet, By Governor Yahaya Bello

BEING TEXT OF A SPEECH BY HIS EXCELLENCY, GOVERNOR YAHAYA BELLO OF KOGI STATE ON 27TH AUGUST, 2016 IN COMMEMORATION OF THE 25TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE CREATION OF KOGI STATE

Happy Silver Jubilee, Kogi State!

Almighty God Alone deserves all the Praise today. Without the help of God, we will not be marking this day. For keeping our Nation Nigeria and for keeping our State Kogi, I thank God with all my strength and from the bottom of my heart.

I felicitate with each Kogite on this important milestone. The journey has been long, and the road was not always smooth but you stood your ground. You did not let challenges diminish your allegiance to the Federal Republic of Nigeria or your devotion to a united, peaceful and progressive Kogi State. Happy 25th Anniversary, Great People!

I cannot hide my admiration for my father and mentor, President Muhammadu Buhari. I said as much in my Inaugural Address and I repeat same here today. I admire his ironclad will that saw him contest against incredible odds for the Presidency of Nigeria and win on the fourth attempt. Mr. President’s unbending determination to rid Nigeria of corruption continues to provide me with much needed example in a political terrain that is nearly barren of heroic personalities. On this 25th Anniversary of my state, I celebrate my boss.

On 27th of August 1991, Kogi State was created, along with Abia, Adamawa, Anambra, Delta, Edo, Enugu, Jigawa, Kebbi, Osun, Taraba, and Yobe States. It was the joyful reunion of a people who shared historical roots dating back to the defunct Kabba Province in the old Northern Region.

I was about 16 years old at the time and I still remember how Kogites erupted in spontaneous celebration wherever the glad tidings reached them. Everyone was excited by the promise of a new dawn. We were confident that with faith in God and handwork our new state would achieve unparalleled heights in Nigeria.

Kogi State appreciates former President Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida during whose tenure as Head of State our dear state was created. Every Kogite owes the colorful General whom Nigerians fondly call ‘IBB’ an undying weight of gratitude. Today as always we hail his remarkable courage, especially that singular exercise in which he carved out Kogi State from parts of Kwara and Benue States where we had been completely neglected. We wish our benefactor a long and happy life. May he live to see the emergence of a Kogi that justifies his founding visions for it. Allah Ya kara maka lafiya.

Many sons and daughters of Kogi State, too many to mention individually, also contributed beyond belief to the efforts that led to her creation. I speak of such eminent founders and fathers as General Salihu Ibrahim (former Chief of Army Staff), Alhaji Aliyu Attah (former Inspector-General of Police), and Retired General Theophilus Jemibewon (a fine officer and gentleman).

Others, equally as distinguished, include Late Chief Sunday Awoniyi (consummate technocrat), Late Dr. Stephen Makoji Achema (politician and community leader), Late Pa C.H.N Lapini (elder statesman), Chief P.S Achimugu (elder stateman) and His Excellency, Late Prince Abubakar Audu (First Executive Governor of Kogi State). The list is inexhaustible. I honor their collective achievement today.

Geographically, Kogi State is strategically located as the intersection of  all parts of the country. We share borders with 9 States and the Federal Capital Territory. This makes us the gateway to the heart of Nigeria.  The mighty Rivers Niger and Benue enter Kogi as individual flows only to find Confluence in our land. Likewise, Nigerians from diverse background find connectedness in Kogi, either as residents or travellers.

Demographically, there are about 3.5 million wonderful people currently living in Kogi. This large population help create multi-sectoral business opportunities, especially in agriculture, trade and commerce. With alluvial plains along the riverbeds and fertile uplands Kogi is a farmers’ haven, and modern Agriculture for the cultivation of numerous crops have proved very lucrative.

The State also boasts some of the most extensive solid minerals deposits in Nigeria. Our Tourism potentials are almost limitless. Innumerable historical sites, wonderful geological features and the incredible biodiversity across the State make it a very attractive tourist destination.

On August 27, 1991, our dreams of steering our own destiny became a reality. We accepted responsibility for our own success and our journey to discover greatness began. Everyone was full of great hopes for the future. Kogi State, with her massive endowments had no reason not to become a 21st century industrial and agricultural powerhouse, even without crude oil earnings, so our optimism was not foolish.

I would love to report today that Kogi State has lived up to her potentials. Truly, nothing would give me greater pleasure than to have the privilege of speaking to you today on how Kogi achieved greatness. Unfortunately, if I tried to tell you that Kogi State, after 25 years of existence, is where any patriotic Kogite dreams it would be none of you would believe me for a moment. In fact, you would laugh at me and dismiss me for a liar.

I am saddened by what we could have become. I imagine the long journey to statehood for Kogi State and the sacrifices of those who fought for that vision. Many of them, some of whom I have recognized above, laboured to plant this tree knowing they will never get to sit in its shade. Others are alive today, but unsung. It would be most disrespectful to them all if I claimed that the Kogi State we live in today is the one they envisioned. It is not.

The sad reality is that we are well below the expectations and capabilities we started out with. Some argue that Kogi State is not alone in that sad corner of under-performance. They would say it is a general reflection of the nation we live in. I disagree. It is time we owned up to our mistakes. We must stop the practice of comparing ourselves to any other under-performing states as an excuse for low achievement.

Fellow Kogites, it is far better to admit the harsh realities on ground so we can get creative about changing them than to live in denial and continue to wallow in squalor. Somewhere along our journey to greatness we were derailed, not by a mechanical fault but by deliberate acts of sabotage by those entrusted with the job of driving us to our desired future. The missed opportunities in Kogi State, and all over Nigeria for that matter, are traceable to poor and uninspiring leadership of the past.

We cannot be glad that we are not doing well like others. How is it any consolation to a wiseman that he is in the same leaky boat with others? If the boat sinks, everyone perishes. It is my belief that every state in Nigeria has had a chance to chart a course for herself different from the malaise of bad governance which permeated the nation, particularly in the last 16 years. Some states actually did and today they are way ahead of others in critical socio-economic indices.

The painful thing is that Kogi State did not join this league of visionary states. We seemed unable to find leaders who loved Kogi above self, family and friends. Thus successive Administrations posted lackluster performances leading to severe underdevelopment of the state and increased poverty among our people. If they had been merely incompetent their failures would not have been so terrible. Instead they added corruption and criminality to the mix. Simply put, some of our past leaders were utterly godless. They stole us blind.

This malaise is of course not limited to Kogi State alone. Nigeria itself was on life support when President Muhammadu Buhari came to Office. As it is, the President is still working hard to move it out of the Intensive Care Unit. Most Nigerians know this but only a few will admit it. A christian cleric recently reiterated the deep-seated wickedness shown to the people of this country, including Kogi State, by those who held power before the All Progressives Congress (APC). He lamented as follows:

‘Our past leaders, no, not…leaders, our past looters…embezzlers…have eaten the cake of this country and now everybody is suffering it…All the money voted for road constructions (and other public utilities) were swindled, eaten. Many of them became millionaires and billionaires in Naira, in Dollars, in Pounds, in Euro. Billionaires, when they have no workshop, no business centre. Somebody who has nothing he’s doing, yet he’s a billionaire, because he’s a politician…they succeeded in removing the liver, kidneys, and cardiovascular systems of this country…paralyzed the neurological organs and handed over to Buhari, the new president, shambles, skeleton almost, a nation that is (comatose)…Kidnapping was a child of the past administration. They delivered that ugly baby, and that baby resembled them…’

I am one of those who believe that the The truth must be told as bluntly as possible. I am saying it this way now so that when I am no longer Governor, posterity can have my words today as a precedent to judge me. I want Almighty God and Kogi People to judge me harshly too if I follow the same path of wanton corruption and criminality while in Office. I want us to recall the past correctly so we can drop it in the trashcan of history and move on to capture the greatness which has eluded Kogi State for 25 long years.

The Change which swept the nation with the election of President Muhammadu Buhari presented us with an opportunity to reinvent ourselves and make great strides in Kogi. Mr. President’s commitment to the Change Agenda in Nigeria provides us with a role model for Change here. We are assured of Mr. President’s support as long as we act with probity and accountability.

This 25th Anniversary is therefore an opportune time to unveil a new epoch of greatness for Kogi State. Accordingly, it is my utmost pleasure to introduce the New Direction Agenda of this Administration once more. This is especially for the benefit of our esteemed guests here who may be hearing about it for the first time today.

When I began to nurse the aspiration to run for Governor, it was clear to me that Kogi State needed more than body fillers. A lot of engine work was necessary too. The state called for overhauling and thorough servicing to get it running effectively. Once that was done, it must be turned around completely to travel in a new direction. This simple premise became the foundational philosophy for our New Direction Agenda, and it remains the basis on which we have designed our Governance Blueprint.

We are convinced that good governance is a catalyst for quick development of our communities. The New Direction Blueprint, as promised during our Campaigns, is a Marshall Plan, an actionable proposal, for how we intend to reinvent Kogi state and activate all of our potentials. Beyond that, it is our roadmap to lifting at least One Million Kogites out of the National Poverty Index during the tenure of this Administration.

The needs are many and the resources lean which means we cannot possibly do everything. The Blueprint focuses on 5 thematic areas, namely, Education, Health, Job Creation and New Ventures, Infrastructure and Utilities, and Productive Public Service and Pension Reforms. These five focal points are designed to interlock. Each  Ministry, Department and Agency of Kogi State will find that one or more, if not all, of these five focal areas provide direction for their work.

My dear people of Kogi State, The New Direction Blueprint was designed with you in mind. It is not needlessly complex nor is it full of obscure, diversionary concepts. It is simply an inventory of priority projects with estimated dates of delivery. In fact, most of the projections came from your responses in the Questionnaires sent out by our New Direction Blueprint Team and your contributions at the LG  Town Hall meetings.

To enhance access to the Blueprint by everyone, we will place reference copies in libraries, schools and other public places. It will also be uploaded online. Government will rely a lot on your feedback to monitor compliance with the Blueprint by functionaries at Local Government and other levels. Accordingly, we are working to set up a Call Centre directly under my Office through which you can make inputs. It will be manned by Special Assistants properly trained in Customer Care and appropriate etiquette.

As I begin to conclude, let me say that my considerable business experience has taught me to take the resources available per time and do my best with it. I will always provide the political will for this Administration to consistently do the right thing. We will continue to ensure the totality of Kogi’s resources work for the totality of Kogi’s People.

There is no time to enumerate all our accomplishments over the 7 months we have been in Office. I will mention a few in order to give an idea of our commitment and our momentum. On assumption we focused on workers welfare. Over the space of two months, even before we got the the bailout funds, we managed to pay 3 month’s salaries. More has been paid since the bailout came. For the records, we have only accessed 40% of the Bailout Funds approved for us by the Federal Government. We will pay more as we access more.

We commenced a staff screening and verification exercise which has removed over 18,000 unintended beneficiaries from the the state civil service payroll. This will save the state N16.6bn per annum at the rate of N1.3bn per month. Affected individuals have also been afforded the opportunity to present their cases to an Appeal Committee. No genuine worker or pensioner affected for any reason will be denied fair hearing.

The screening exercise also revealed the level of complicity in the rot by all strata of the society. It was a conspiracy to rob the state. The involvement of clerics of both major faiths in these rackets was perhaps the most disappointing. I warn that people who by their calling are meant to be societal role models must endeavour to live above board. We will not hesitate to hand them over to law enforcement if need be.

We are now better able to focus on the welfare of genuine workers. I have directed the Commissioner for Finance and the 21 Local Government Administrators to pay at least 3 months’ salaries to all workers before the  Sallah Holidays. In line with our resolve to ensure our payroll caters for only bona fide workers, it goes without saying that only those who passed the screening exercise will be paid.

Once again, and I cannot repeat this enough, any person who believes he or she was was unjustly screened out should please reach to the Appeal Committee at the appointed times and places and present their case. Schedules have been sent out several weeks ago to all Local Government Secretariats and the State Secretariat so people can avail themselves of this opportunity.

In June, 2016, I trimmed the number of ministries in the state from 20 to 15, appointing the same number of commissioners. This eliminated the duplication of roles, cut the cost of governance and increased productivity.

In order to grow our Internally Generated Revenue, we granted autonomy to the Kogi State Board of Internal Revenue, moved them to modern premises and strengthened their operational capacities. There is currently a perceptible increase in our Internally Generated Revenue. It will surely grow.

We abolished the State and Local Government Joint Account, granted financial autonomy to the Local Government Areas and strengthened oversight of their activities. This is a way of boosting this administration’s resolve to govern with transparency and accountability.

We commenced construction of rural and township roads in the three senatorial Districts of the State. Some parts of the state which had been in darkness for 5 years or more have been provided electricity with several of such projects awaiting commissioning.

This Administration resuscitated the monthly sanitation exercise and it has gone a long way in cleaning up our cities and banishing the mountains of refuse and other health hazards which dotted everywhere when we came in.

The State Ministry of Environment spearheaded the planting of thousands of trees all over the State as part of efforts to protect our environment. This is part of a greening initiative that will ultimately see millions of trees planted during the tenure of this Administration. With lessons learned from the devastating floods of 2012 our flood and erosion preparedness measures are in top gear. We are confident that the steps we are taking today will help us manage natural disasters easier and make every part of the state safer for residents.

We came into office on 27 January, 2016. The Security Agencies informed me of 18 recorded incidents of kidnapping and numerous armed robberies in that month alone. We immediately prioritized security and took the battle to the criminals. By end of February we had only 5 incidences of kidnapping along with a reduction in armed robbery. We will not relent in this war. Any such criminal remaining in Kogi State is aware that he has signed his own death warrant.

I salute the gallant men and officers of our security forces – police, military, and paramilitary for their exceptional bravery. Also worthy of honorable mention are members of our revitalized Vigilante Services. Together, we have continued to checkmate the perpetrators of violent crime within our boundaries.

I am overwhelmed with the massive support we continue to receive from His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari in this area of security as well as others. His Excellency directed his Security Chiefs to render me full support in securing Kogi State. These officers have also gone over and beyond the call of duty to respond.

General Tukur Buratai, the Chief of Army Staff and the Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Kpotum Idris, took this directive very personal and have availed us of both their physical presence and the elite resources of their respective services.

I must at this juncture appeal to community leaders, parents and guardians to take deeper interest in the escapades of their children and wards. Mischief very easily crosses over into criminality if young ones are left to their own devices. We again admonish young ones to refrain from physically engaging security operatives on or off duty. By their training, law enforcement agents will perform their constitutional duties as circumstances may require. People, including youth, who do not have respect for the law will find to their bitter regret that the law is no respecter of persons.

We cannot grow Kogi unless we attract genuine business people and provide the climate they need to thrive. Security is key to creating such an investment-friendly state. This is why we have purchased over one hundred Police Patrol Vehicles to assist the agencies in combating security challenges within the state. These vehicles were commissioned before all of us not long ago as part of activities marking this Anniversary and distributed to the various Law Enforcement Agencies.

Kogi is open for business. The Administration is revitalizing bi- and multi-lateral relationships with international development partners as well as collaborations with Nigerian businesses. We have a preference for Public Private Partnerships and similar private sector driven investment portfolios. We are committed to fostering a business climate that attracts and retains all viable investment options.

Just this week I signed an agreement with a US consortium for agro-allied investments in Kogi State that will eventually exceed the billion dollar mark. In similar vein, an automobile assembling company doing business in Nigeria displayed the prototype of one of their SUVs to me in Government House today. They will be assembling those in Kogi State before the end of 1st Quarter of 2017. Soon my people, we will have ‘Made In Kogi’ vehicles!

Today, and as always, I celebrate the life and times of Prince Abubakar Audu, the 1st Executive Governor of Kogi State. He laid a good foundation in Kogi State and is the architect of this Change that we see today. I am here today because of his labours. ‘Allah (SWT) is the Protecting Guardian of those who believe; He leads them out of the darkness into the light.’ [Qur’an 2:257]. May our leader continue to rest in peace.

I have severally extended my hand to my opponents in the elections that brought me in, seeking their brotherhood for a greater Kogi State.  We are Kogites first and foremost. We must be guided by her best interests. Without prejudice to the cases in court, I repeat that gesture again today.

I urge those whose desperate resort is to foment trouble to rethink their actions. I guarantee them that misusing the media in vain attempt to paint my Government as corrupt or clueless has absolutely no effect on me or the Administration. A clear conscience such as I have, fears no accusation. They may unsettle some of the People some of the time, but the majority of Kogites have subscribed to the New Direction Agenda and can see such antics as the childish tantrums they really are.

We do not invite any media to do any cover ups for us. Conversely we will not tolerate further fake advertorials on non-existent sleaze against us. We have drawn the absolute last straw and are very willing now to test criminal and civil laws in this regard, notwithstanding any retraction.

We support a free Press, but we will no longer condone an irresponsible one. I sincerely hope that going forward our friends in the media will give factual reportage of events in Kogi State. I still believe that media ethics transcend financial rewards. A reputable media house ought not to publish anything that is an obvious lie, irrespective of the amount to be paid.

Dear Kogites, and all our Distinguished Guests, I am excited because today our celebration is three-fold – Silver Jubilee, Silver Lining and Silver Bullet. On this Silver Jubilee the New Direction Agenda constitutes a Silver Lining of Hope tearing apart the black clouds of longstanding misgovernance and using the New Direction Blueprint as a Silver Bullet to slay the monster of backwardness confronting Kogi State.

Today is not just a time to Celebrate, but also a time to Contemplate. In Psalms 90 verse 12 The Bible says, “So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.” When we take out time to contemplate and think over our lives and our choices, we can plan for the future better. It will be an abomination for our children to grow into adults and on the Golden Jubilee of our state find themselves face to face with our failure to prepare for their future.

In the Qur’an, Abu Hurairah narrated that the Prophet (pbuh) said, “Allah said: ‘The son of Adam hurts Me by abusing Time, for I am Time; in My Hands are all things and I cause the revolution of night and day.” (Bukhari 6/351; 9/583). May we be wise not to hurt Allah Himself by abusing the time entrusted to us.

We must start today to prepare for the next 25 years by doing the right things now. It is my prayer that if God wills for us to be alive to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Kogi State, the foundations we lay together in this Administration may contribute to making that day the Golden Jubilee of a vastly improved, truly developed and heavily industrialized Kogi State.

Once again I wish Kogi State Happy Silver Jubilee!

God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

God bless Kogi State.

YAHAYA BELLO
EXECUTIVE GOVERNOR
KOGI STATE
27 August, 2016.

 

[easy-social-share buttons="facebook,twitter" counters=0 style="button"]