Kogi State Governor, Alhaji Yahaya Bello during his swearing in ceremony on January 27, 2016 promised to introduce reforms that would fast track development of the state and bring dividends of democracy to Kogites irrespective of their location or status.
Governor Yahaya Bello in his inauguration speech clearly explained his New Direction policy by saying: ”My Administration shall exist for the sole purpose of serving the superseding interests of the people of Kogi State to the very best of its capabilities. We also undertake to never lend our capacities to servicing the avarice of anyone or group–whether from Kogi State or elsewhere.
”There is no greater evil than Corruption and nothing champions that evil more than Impunity…Corruption and Impunity made sure our people repeatedly arrived at a promised future and found it bereft of substance, or the promised better life.”
The governor in his bid to take Kogi state to greater heights and build sustainable economy reformed the tax collection system with the establishment of Kogi State Internal Revenue Service (KOGIRS). KOGIRS within three years raised the state Internally Generated Revenue from N300million to over N1.3billion monthly, employed 600 staff thereby reducing unemployment and boost the state economy. Therefore, the autonomous revenue collection agency blocked leakages and other sharp practices without overburden the people with new taxes but adopts technology as well as competent hands for revenue collection.
Perhaps, the decision of Governor Bello to build gigantic office for KIRS in Lokoja is geared towards creating conducive environment for the staff, boost their morale, improve productivity as well as efficiency and maintain consistent increase in IGR.
Apart from that, Governor Bello as part of efforts to clear outstanding salaries inherited by his administration commenced Biometric data verification for civil servants in 2016 to eliminate ghost workers, multiple salary collection and clean up the state payroll. Although, some people misconstrued the intention of GYB but the policy led to discovery of thousands of ghost workers and help Kogi state government to save millions of naira from monthly wage bill.
Another move of Governor Bello to lay solid foundation for growth and economy development of the north central state is the establishment of 50-ton Rice Mill at Omi-Dam, Yagba. The Rice Mill to be commissioned by President Muhammad Buhari soon would help Kogi attain food sufficiency, create jobs, increase internally generated revenue and contribute to overall economy development of Nigeria as well as reduce rice importation.
Similarly, the digital governor is working assiduously to complete World Class Diagnostic Centre to bring standard radiography services to Kogites, reduce medical tourism abroad and serve as hub for advanced diagnostic in North Central and others neighbouring states.
The passionate governor noted that Medical diagnosis is a critical aspect of health management as it serves the double purposes of preventing ill health as well as managing health conditions.
According to him, As a responsible governor, I feel sad when citizens die not because we don’t have the medical facilities to manage their ill health; but because the culture of early diagnosis was poor.
Likewise, GYB remains vocal, resilient, committed and unrelenting in the call for revival of Ajaokuta Steel Company by President Muhammadu Buhari, this makes some people in presidency and Ministries of Power as well as Industry named him *Ajaokuta Advocate*. The sagacious, energetic and foresight leader is working assiduously to revitalize Ajaokuta Steel Company because of its economy benefit to the state, potential opportunity for unemployed youths, the multifaceted advantage to host community and contributions to GDP judging by the company’s past records.
Furthermore, Governor Bello within three years spent billions of naira for infrastructural projects across the 21 local government areas to construct roads/bridges including Lokoja city roads, the refurbished roundabout at the state capital, Olamaboro Ikeje-Ibana-Okpo road, Idah-Umomi road,
Agasa-Upogoro road, Ife-Olukotun-Iyamoye road among others, provide clean/portable water and electricity supply through rural electrification in many communities.
Also, the APC led gov government in the state partnered with World Bank under the Nigeria Rural Access and Agricultural Marketing Project Scheme for construction of 500km rural roads in every part of the state. RAAMP would ease the transportation of agricultural produces from the farm to the market in due time for sale with consequent economic benefit, improved food security and smooth transportation for the people in the rural areas.
Some of the roads are Iresuah-Checkpoint (2.3km), Ozusi-Ege (5km), Aku-Iresuar (3.2km), Avinebe-Irevure (6.5km), Okuha-Agara-Atami (6.6km),Iniku-Ege (8.2km), Ebechi (9.1km).
The great feat of Governor Bello in area of infrastructural development, security, economy and electricity has turned Kogi state to investment destination for local and international investors.
Although, there are still more work to be done to engineer modern Kogi that will work for all but it’s crystal clear that the new direction agenda of governor Yahaya Bello is an holistic approach deliberately designed to engender life, touching developmental strides for all Kogites regardless of the divide.
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