As Bello Settles Down to Work

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Executive Briefing

Done with all the legal distractions, the Kogi State Governor, Alhaji Yahaya Bello has fully settled down to work, writes Yekini Jimoh

Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State recently kicked off over 10 billion naira road projects across the three senatorial districts in fulfillment of his electoral promises. Bello, in his inaugural speech, said “Change has come to Kogi State. I, being the torchbearer and custodian of it, but you, the great united people of Kogi State its owners and proprietors. Let us rise together, take our collective destiny in our hands and go forth excitedly to chart our new direction. Kogi, this Change is yours”.

Since his assuming office as the fourth executive governor of the state, the young and dynamic governor has demonstrated that his administration truly belongs to the entire people of the state. This was demonstrated when he constituted his cabinet months ago, giving what was due to all the three senatorial districts of the state without any bias.

Also, during the recent Independence Day celebration, Governor Bello stressed that the geographical spread of his appointments has drawn the anger of many, who had expected that the old and slanted ways of doing things would prevail again.

“We disappointed them with our preference for inclusiveness and merit. They have gone to great extents to exact their pound of flesh, especially in the press. The truth is that no matter what they do, competence and equity will remain the chief criteria for who serves where in this administration,” he said.

Before the governor came on board, the state of the road network across the state was generally passed as pathetic. Many lives had been lost due to the deplorable state of the roads. Previous administrations promised year in, year out to embark on massive road construction across the state but those promises were never fulfilled. As a result, many road projects in the state have suffered such fate. There are also instances where about 80 per cent sum of the contracts had been paid but level of completion is either 20 or 30 per cent.

But Bello has demonstrated that his government is ready to provide succor to all the three senatorial districts without favoritism, first by embarking on a 10 billion naira road projects across the three senatorial districts of the state.

Among such road projects are 18.3 kilometres – a long road network in Kogi Central, which includes Agassa-Ahache-Upogoro road, Ogaminana-Ebogogo road, Itape-Eika-Kuroko road and Obehira-Ihima-Obangede road in Okene, Adavi and Okehi local government area of the state, costing approximately N3.819 billion.

Others are Iyamoye-Jege-Ife-Olukotun-Ponyan-Ejuku-Ijowa Isanlu roads, Ekirin-Ade-Ohun-Ifeolukotun roads – all in Kogi West and put at N4 billion, while in Kogi East, works are to commence at Ayingba-Umomi-Akpagidigbo-Ugwolawo-Ajaka road, Ankpa township road, Ibana-Okpo road and Ikeje-Ogugu-Ette road at the cost of N2.84 billion.

Kicking off the road in Kogi Central penultimate weekend, Belllo, in his address lamented the poor state of infrastructure, particularly the roads across the three senatorial districts of the state. According to him, the new direction blueprint of his administration had taken note of the infrastructure decay in health, education and road in the state, adding that genuine efforts would be made to rehabilitate dilapidated infrastructure in the state.

He explained that Lokoja, the state capital and other major towns in the state would be given facelift to a 21st century city standard. He particularly expressed the readiness of his administration to complete the ongoing Lokoja township road with modern facilities to enable the state capital compete with others across the country.

The governor added that apart from the urban roads, his administration would also rehabilitate the rural roads and make them motorable to further aid the economic activities of the state. He said since efforts were on to diversify the nation’s economy with agriculture considered to be the major alternative to oil, deliberate moves would be made to ensure that farm produces get to the market through good road networks.

Speaking with THISDAY, Special Adviser to the governor on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Abdulmumuni Okala assured communities in the state that henceforth, they would be part of decision-making on the types of projects that would be executed in the rural areas.

Okara said gone were the days when government officials sat in the comfort of their offices to decide for communities the type of projects to be provided, noting that investigation revealed that most projects that were completed but not put to use by the concerned communities was due to the lack of involvement of the people in decision taking before the projects were provided.

He said Bello has therefore introduced what is called “end users report”, pointing out that SDGs officials have gone round the 21 local government council to interact with communities on the type of projects they want and that by the time they go back to execute the projects, the communities will definitely make use of the projects.

“The end users report introduced by the governor will enable the government to have a comprehensive report on the projects executed before payment can be made and this will enable the government to have checks and balances.

“We have gone round the 21 local government councils and based on our interaction with the people at the grassroots, we have discovered the type of projects they needed, which vary from one community to another. While some are in need of roads, others declared interest in hospitals, water among others and by the time we go back to establish the projects, the communities were already involved and they will put such projects into use because they need the projects,” Okala noted.

On the MDGs projects that had been paid for by the immediate past administration but not completed, the special adviser declared that the contractors, who handled the projects would be called back to site to complete them.

Also speaking, Mr. Kingsley Fanwo, who is the Director General, Media and Publicity to the governor said the road projects awarded across the state is a further proof of the governor’s determination to ensure even development across the state.

“For so many years, our people have been clamouring for good roads. God has answered our prayers through the governor. Alhaji Yahaya Bello is on a divine mission to take Kogi State through a new direction to a new destination. All he needs is your support, cooperation and prayers,” he pleaded.

Others who spoke to THISDAY described the commissioning of the road projects across the state as historic. They claimed that the previous administrations, particularly the last one kicked-off road projects but later abandoned them, despite the fact that such projects were in the budget.

Mr. Emmanuel Samuel from Dekina local government area of the state, while speaking with THISDAY commended Governor Bello for embarking on the construction of roads across the state. He lamented that the immediate past administration abandoned the Dekina township road and pleaded with Bello to complete it. He said due to the nature of the soil in Kogi East, most of the abandoned roads have been taken over by erosion.

He however noted that Governor Bello had demonstrated that his administration belongs to everybody, irrespective of tribe and religion and called on all stakeholders in the state to rally support for the governor so that he can succeed.

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Kicking off the road in Kogi Central penultimate weekend, Belllo, in his address lamented the poor state of infrastructure, particularly the roads across the three senatorial districts of the state. According to him, the new direction blueprint of his administration had taken note of the infrastructure decay in health, education and road in the state, adding that genuine efforts would be made to rehabilitate dilapidated infrastructure in the state