The State of Kogi Before 2016, That Cannot Be Forgotten


What has changed under GYB years?

By Otori Ozigi

This writeup was first published to mark the first 100 days of the administration of Alhaji Yahaya Adoza Bello. It is being reproduced today so that we would appreciate our past history before the coming onboard of the administration of the immediate past governor of Kogi State, Alhaji Yahaya Adoza Bello.

You would discover that the immediate past governor of Kogi State, Alhaji Yahaya Adoza Bello had always been a target of bad press and armedchair critics right from his first day in office.
A negative trend that has continued unabated till date.

Please read on.

“The media space was awash with salacious and sensational stories of what the writers erroneously referred to as the “many troubles” of Alhaji Yahaya Bello, the dynamic executive governor of Kogi State, who is few days away to mark his highly eventful and impactful 100 days in office.

Unknown to many of these writers, analysts and other public affairs commentators, the governor is too focused and deeply pre- occupied on his new vision and change mantra to transform his State and deliver on his numerous life-changing campaign promises, than to give his precious time, thoughts and resources to focusing on frivolous and inconsequential issues and events they claimed have constituted many troubles for him. For the avoidance of doubts, well-meaning people and other patriotic stake holders in Kogi project who have freely interacted with Alhaji Yahaya Bello since his historic inauguration in January 27, 2016, can testify that he is not troubled at all by the unending satanic antics and ill-conceived schemes of busy-bodies and other unpatriotic elements who seek to distract and discredit his administration at all cost.

However, the point should be made unequivocally that the governor is fully optimistic and convinced that all these attempts to distract him would not stand the test of time as he is riding on the crest of his creator who chose him at a perilous time like this to come and deliver Kogi State from long years of misrule and visionless leadership. We are all fully aware that Kogi State had already become a failed State, given the unsettling scenarios and the parlous State of the economy of Kogi State, before the coming on board of Governor Alhaji Yahaya Bello

The following context would suffice: I wonder what other name one would call a State that was owing about four months salary, arrears to her civil servants who were already on industrial action when Alhaji Yahaya Bello took oath of office on that fateful day at the capacity-filled Confluence Stadium in Lokoja, the State capital.

This was a State that was bleeding from decayed and decaying infrastructure in every nooks and crannies of the 21 local government areas in the State.

A state that the educational sector was in shambles and comatose after years of criminal neglects in the hands of those who chose to turn blind eyes to the glaring problems plaguing that critical sector. A state that local government workers had been turned into corporate beggars and miserable destitute, given that most of them were collecting ridiculous percentage of salaries for several years.

This was a State that the health centers, hospitals and other related health facilities had become veritable “transit camps” for unfortunate patients on their ways to the mortuary and onward journey to their early graves. A State that the little resources available for development were been brazenly squandered and stolen by common criminals masquerading as civil servants and political office holders.

This was a state being overrun by a band of rampaging dare devil kidnappers, armed robbers, ritualists, murderous Fulani herdsmen, assassins and other criminal elements that were giving the gallant officers of the security agents in the State a run for their money. If you walk into any police station in the State, available crime statistics on a monthly basis would shock you to the marrow.
Kogi State had equally become a place with the highest number of uncompleted and abandoned white elephant projects that dot the landscape like shining stars in the night. Remember that most of these projects were supposed to be executed with loans reportedly sourced from financial institutions and other donor-agencies which would have to be repaid later whether we like it or not.

This was a State that unbridled corruption and impunity haf become a way of life, given that every profession and its practitioners have joined the Olympic-type competitive thievery in the land. Available statistics from previous screenings and audit reports shows that there are white-collar criminals everywhere in all the 21 local government areas in the state.

This was a state that the army of unemployed youths and young women keep swelling by the day. It is on record that previous youths and women empowerment programmes inaugurated to tame the monster of unemployment in the past failed to achieve desired results. This was a state that all efforts and policies undertaken by previous administrations to make agriculture a viable business and attractive to the teaming population of idle youths became a reference point in corporate failure.

This was a State that successive governments have continued to pay lip service to pressing needs to diversify the economy of the state, to cushion the negative impact of dwindling allocations from the federation account. This was a state that all previous attempts to develop a robust tax administration system have proved futile, given that there are gaping loop-holes and leakages in the tax system that have been left unplugged for so many years.

Little wonder therefore that Kogi State have maintained a comfortable position in the comity of states with meager internally generated revenues in the country with monthly miserable IGR put in the region of 300 million naira as at December 2015.

This was a state with unhealthy enabling environment to attract local and foreign investments to grow the economy for the general good of the people. From available official records obtained exclusively by this writer, there are no fewer than forty dormant MOUs signed by the previous governments with potential investors that were not fully consummated or actualized as at December 2015.

Viewed against these backgrounds therefore, it is clear to discerning minds that these challenges and many more not captured in this write up, are what the Yahaya Bello-led administration is dealing with in his spirited efforts to make a difference by giving Kogi State a befitting new name to bear. It is worthy of note that in almost the last 100 days, the governor has successfully stabilized the turbulent polity he inherited from previous administration of Captain Idris Wada. Governor Alhaji Yahaya Bello is also working tirelessly to clean up the age-long mess and rot he inherited in the civil service system that had constituted a clog in the wheel of progress and and a formidable road block in our march towards economic prosperity and growth. So far, the governor has demonstrated his capacity and capability to giving back the State to the people; from the vice-grip of those can rightly be called ‘Kogi criminals’ who turned the State to their cash cow over the years. In conclusion therefore, it is pertinent for us to talk about Yahaya Bello’s new vision and not imaginary troubles concocted to divert our attentions from real critical issues in the polity”

Otori Ozigi, a veteran journalist and PR Consultant, writes from Okene.

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