By Idris Ahmed
Kogi state created in 1991 wobbled before its present status through various administrations, military and civilians, until God in His infinite mercy, as a devine intervention, chose the incumbent Governor, Alhaji Yahaya Adoza Bello, to lead the state via the New Direction agenda.
The young Governor’s wisdom in the New Direction agenda, has brought about policies and strategies that led to the emancipation of the people of the state from the grips of some privileged, powerful individuals who manipulated the psyche of the people by using ethnicity, religions and other divisive tendencies to hold the progressing hands of the clock back, without meaningful development.
Both the military and some of their civilian successors only struggled to lead the state without vision and their sense of purpose and direction was to feather the nest of psychophants and cronies that were assisting them to destroy the collective legacy and commonwealth bequith by the founding fathers.
The berth of the new leadership in 2016, under Alhaji Yahaya Adoza Bello, signalled and eventually redeemed the people of the state from insecurity, ignorance, lack of positive development,poor infrastructure, institutionalized corruption of the highest order.
The New Direction administration has saved the almost collapsed civil service, that was glaringly bedeviled by many unqualified, incompetent, corrupt persons with questionable characters, that were recruited to satisfy divisive sentiments.
The security atmosphere was porous and frightening as residents could not sleep with their eyes closed,while armed robbers, kidnappers, terrorists, house breaking gangs and other highly sophiscated criminals became lords and tormented innocent citizens and other traveling citizens passing through the state.
The system of education collapsed with most of the schools at all levels became dilapidated, abandoned or neglected without qualified Teachers, but full of “ghost” workers that out numbered students and pupils.
The health sector became transition to the great beyond clinics as absence of qualified personnel, drugs and facilities became the order of the day.
Ethnicity and unnecessary rivalry took centre stage in the political and civil service appointments as well as patronage for citizens or dividends . The situation became so bad and aggravated that hatred, mutual suspicion and lack of confidence grew in leaps among the citizens of the state.
Bello’s assumption of office as the Executive Governor restored hope and confidence he confronted and faced these myriad of calamitous atrocities squarely especially the security, to lay the foundation for a rapid development.
Security agencies were equiped and adequately funded and with encouragement, the war against criminals and criminality commenced with utmost vigour.
With the cooperation of the citizens, the security agencies in collaboration with the local vigilantes, criminals were forced to relocate elsewhere within a very short period of assumption of office by the New Direction administration.
The feat earned Governor Yahaya Bello the Inspector General of Police Award and other veritable organisations and subsequently President Muhammadu Buhari gave him the Best Governor Award on Security.
Today Kogi state is the most peaceful in the country, devoid of ethnic or religious clashes as witnessed in many states of the federation. As for the Farmers/Herders clashes and insurgency, Kogi state government has set up what it called Neighbourhood Watch committees in all communities across the state to alert security agencies and government on strange movements of persons or groups.
The committees have been commended by the Special Adviser on Security, Commander Jery Omadara (rtrd), said their wonderful performances has led to massive arrests and apprehensions of criminals and terrorists who dared the security will of the State
If there is no justice, there will not be peace and without peace, no meaningful development. It is on this dictum that the Governor, Alhaji Yahaya Bello, sought refuge to lay the foundation of the New Direction agenda.
For first time in the history of the state, there is equal distribution of socio economic amenities as well as political and civil service positions.
When GovernorBello,assumed office, the state had one state University at Ayingba, Abubakar Audu University.
Kogi now boats of additional two Universities established by the New Direction administration, the Confluence University of Science and Technology, (CUSTEC), Osara in Central Senatorial district, while the Kogi state University Kabba in the Kogi West Senatorial district is to take off in the next semester.
According to the Governor, the establishment of the Universities is to cater for the yearnings of the numerous Kogi students who suffer admissions discrimination from other tertiary institutions in the country, pointing out that they will provide job opportunities for teeming indigenes and booming business environment.
Ultra modern science secondary schools have been established and fully equipped across the three Senatorial districts to feed the Universities with fresh students.
Kogi state Commissioner for Education, Science and Technology, Mr Wemi Jones, while commending the Governor for the foresight and wisdom, disclosed to Journalists recently in Lokoja, that the model secondary schools named GYB Model Science Secondary schools will be churning out qualified prospective candidates for admissions into any tertiary institution across the globe due to the knowledge they aquire both theory and practical.
He said already graduates from Abubakar Audu University are excelling in their chosen professional careers, citing law as example .
One other sector that has endeared him to the people of the state is his total commitment to the health sector.
Multi billion naira health facilities have been constructed across the three Senatorial districts of the state.
Also a Reference hospital, for Nigerians, especially Euro bound patients can be adequately taken care of.
The immediate past Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari, commissioned the gigantic edifice at Okene, when he was in the state for avisit,hailed the Governor for the feat.
In Gegu Beki, Kogi West, Idah, Eastern Senatorial district magnificent hospitals have been constructed and well equipped with modern medical equipment that will soon be commissioned.
Lokoja township roads have been resurfaced, redressed and rehabilitated as the case may be, while roads in urbarn and semi urban areas across the state were constructed or rehabilitated so as to ease movement of persons, goods and services.
Roads in Ayingba, Ankpa, Kabba, Idah and Okene were not left out, while frantic effort is being made to secure mandate from federal government to allow the state rehabilitate dilapidated federal roads within its territory.
The most unique achievement after provision of infrastructure and social development, is the gender balancing in the political equation between the males and females in the state.
The New Direction administration through well thought out political calculation ensured that the female gender are well represented in the governance of the state.
Infact from the commencement of the new leadership of the state, Bello appointed a woman, Dr. Mrs Folashade Arikye as the Secretary to the State Government SSG, at the same time Mrs Hannah Odion became the Head of Service of Kogi state.
For the surprises or wonder of the generation, Governor Yahaya Bello, ensured that women were elected as Vice Chairmen of the 21 Local Government Councils of the state. In addition, the gender sensitive governor and the ruling party,APC, ensured that Women were elected into the local government Legislative Councils and and were subsequently elected Council Leaders, known as Speakers in the legislative parlance.
The governor who used the youths as the pillars of his administration, maintained and empowered them, by awarding scholarship and to study in institutions of their choice
Many Youths have been occupying sensitive positions in the running of the administration right from inception till date.
As the people of Kogi state are willing to embrace continuity in the style of governance, especially the New Direction, for justice, equity, peace, tranquillity and positive development, anchored on trust, should be one of the reasons the for the massive support the All Progressives Congress,(APC), candidate, Ahmed Usman Ododo, is receiving.
For the betterment of the people, the APC candidate should succeed Yahaya Bello, especially that they started the administration together as authors and actors of the new direction agenda .
Ododo should be the only one that knows how they rebuilt the state from the debris of political, social, moral and economic collapse .
Having been part of the journey for the past eight years, it really becomes imperative for the indefatigable powerful, fearless, youthful Governor, to ensure that Alhaji Ahmed Usman Ododo takes over the mantle of leadership from him.