The Confluence state has come of age as it will soon experience her 6th democratic form of governance in few weeks from now. As preparations and plans are being made, it is important for electorates to cast their minds back to the notable political records and achievements of our past leaders who have piloted the socio-economic and political affairs of the state from 1999 to this point and compare it with the present in order to make the right decision with their voters card in the forth coming November 16th governorship poll.
After the creation of Kogi state in 1991, the first governorship election that was conducted to usher in a democratic form of governance made late Prince Alhaji Abubakar Audu to emerge as the winner of the election with over 700,000 votes under the umbrella of the All Nigerian Peoples Party (ANPP) which was formally known as All Peoples Party (APP).
Late Prince Abubakar governed for four years; during his administration, it was recorded that his socio-economic contribution in the state is a point of reference to the generality of the people and many aspiring leaders.
Some of his major achievements during his brief first term in office include the establishment of three different housing schemes for public officers consisting of over 1,500 housing units in Lokoja, the transformation of Lokoja township with asphalt roads, street lights, aesthetic roundabouts, the construction of inter-township and rural roads, over 75 electrification schemes and 50 water projects.
Others include the founding of Kogi State Polytechnic, establishment of Kogi State University Anyigba, the establishment of a television station, radio station (both AM and FM), a state newspaper and the transformation of the colonial residence of Lord Lugard into an ultra modern government house complex, the construction of office blocks for ministries as the new state had no office accommodation, the construction of shopping arcade complex to enhance commercial activities, among others.
It was also on record that late Prince Alhaji Audu Abubakar pioneered the construction of the first ultra modern state liaison office in Abuja. His administration also built an ultra modern stadium and a five star hotel in Lokoja; the Confluence Beach Hotel was also part of his achievements. He also took steps to woo prospective investors to harness the numerous solid mineral potentials in the State. The big prize was the establishment of Obajana Cement Factory. The project, which was on going before he left office, attracted the support of the United States Government. During the visit of former U.S. President Bill Clinton to Nigeria, it was recorded that the State Government signed the agreement with the US Trade Development Agency (TDA) for a grant to finalize the feasibility work on the project. The cement project is now operational.
Late Prince Audu completed several landmark projects within four years. They include: 250 units housing estate, a sport complex, a specialist eye hospital and 25 other medical institutions. Others were a government Girls secondary school on student exchange programme, 350 borehole schemes, 300 kilometers of township roads, the procurement of 100 transit buses and completion of 40 rural electrification projects. He was also named the best governor in the 1999-2003 dispensation, despite being a governor on the platform of the ANPP.
In April 2003, after the reign of Late Prince Alhaji Abubakar, the 2nd democratic election was conducted and Ibrahim Idris emerged as the winner of the election under the family of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) after several nullifications and repeats of the 2003 governorship election.
During his tenure, it was recorded that Inikpi and Ocheja hostels in Kogi state university were built and commissioned; several professional courses in Kogi State University were also accredited. Not only that; during his reign in office, there was construction of 200 units Housing estate within the state.
In addition, water works project in Lokoja was also commissioned, the Confluence stadium was also completed and commissioned; construction of feeder roads were also part of his achievements.
To compliment his achievements in 2003-2007, he was also reelected in April 2007 as the 3rd democratic governor of the state. Records show to some extent, he was able to compliment his previous achievements by ensuring public power supply in Kogi state university and privatalisation of Kogi cement, which led to the massive employment of many Kogites in the Dangote cement industry.
It was also on record that Alhaji Ibrahim Idris graciously approved and released substantial amount of fund for appropriate construction and cleanup activities in Kogi State College of Nursing and Midwifery Obangede which was formally called School of Nursing, Obangede. Activities such as Ultra Modern Auditorium, Science Laboratory and a brand new 45KVA generator were all set towards the full accreditation of the College. These prompted the Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria in a letter dated 4th March 2008 to give full accreditation to the College after their last visit.
To crown it all, it was also observed that during his tenure, there was 97% mutual relationship between him (state government) and Kogi state Civil Servants.
Similarly, in December 9, 2011, Captain Idris Ichala Wada emerged as the winner of the 4th democratic governor of Kogi state, and was sworn into office in January 2012 under the wings of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). Captain Idris Ichala Wada ruled for four years and it was on record that his contributions to the socio-economic and political development of the state is far less and poor than what the people expected of him; it was revealed that even his home town was unable to feel his impact in terms of societal development.
However, few people have testified that Kogi State Transport Terminal and construction of two (male and female) buildings in Kogi State University were done by him.
Recently, in the history of Kogi state, the unexpected in politics happened; natural power-shift took place peacefully, which ushered in a new direction of governance. His Excellency Alhaji Yahaya Adoza Bello, the incumbent governor of Kogi state was declared winner of the 2015 Kogi gubernatorial election after he was elected on the platform of the All Progressive Congress as the replacement for the late Abubakar Audu who originally won the election but died before the result was announced.
Since his inception in office in January 27 2016, the activities in Lugard House have really taken another dimension of socio-economic and political execution.
From January 27th 2016 till date, it has been recorded that the administration of Gov. Yahaya Bello has achieved the following: reduction of ghost workers, provision of 200 utility vehicles and over 500 motor cycles for security operatives, construction of Army Forward Operation at different locations in the state, recruitment of thousands of vigilante Corps to enhance security, renovation of 21 primary health centres in all the 21 local government, introduction of PPP (Public Private Partnership) onto the health sectors.
Establishment of Confluence Advance Medical Diagnostic and Imaging Centre (CAMDIC), renovation of Zonal Hospital in Kabba, Idah and Okene, construction of cottage hospital in Kpareke, construction of new hostel and clinics at the School of Nursing Obangede, construction of administrative block at the School of Health Technology, Idah, facilitating loans for farmers, clearing of 1000 hectares of land across the state which were allocated to youthful farmers with farm inputs and agric machines services, procurement of 375 Fergus Tractors and 1500 Tillers, cultivation of 3000 hectares of rice and 5000 hectares of cassava in the state, construction of 500 fish ponds as a pilot scheme; construction of Omi Dam, construction of the Kogi State Rice Mill at Omi, construction of Revenue House, Electrification projects in Lokoja (Banda)-Kotonkarfe, Abejukolo, Agassa, Ogori, and Isanlu community are all part of his achievements.
Rehabilitation of Shintaku-Gboloko-Dekina, Lokoja Township, Ijowa-Jege-Ife-Olukotun, Okene and Ankpa Township roads. Provision of solar-powered streetlights in Lokoja; construction of GYB Model primary schools across the 239 Wards of the state, construction of 50-bed capacity hostel at Government Girls Secondary School, Obangede, construction of Library extension at Kogi State College of Education (Technical), Kabba, completion of the hostel project at Government Science Secondary School, Icheke in Omala Local Government Area, restructuring of the Ministry of Education, ongoing projects at the Kogi State University, Anyigba and the Kogi State Polytechnic, Lokoja. Renovation of the State House of Assembly Complex, Lokoja, construction of the Kogi State Ministry of Justice Office Complex, Lokoja, construction of the Kogi Revenue House, construction of the SDG House, renovation of palaces and royal institutions across the state; provision of new buses for the sports teams of the state.
From the brief review of each administration’s achievements and contributions to the socio-economic and political development of the state from 1999 till date, it has been critically observed that each administration has its strength and weakness, but their different mode of planning and execution towards the attainment of human development shows their hierarchical level of qualitative leadership.
Nevertheless, the vision of taking the state to an enviable height still continues and that is why November 16th has been slated by the Independence National Electoral Commission (INEC) for citizens of Kogi state to evaluate the past, compare it with the present in order to decide the future with their thumb.
In compliance with the Independence National Electoral Commission (INEC), the citizens of Kogi state under different political parties have primarily elected and endorsed their representatives that will emerge as the 6th prospective democratic governor of the state.
Among those primarily elected and qualified candidates are; His Excellency Alhaji Yahaya Adoza Bello, the incumbent governor of the state representing the All Progressive Congress (APC), Engineer Musa Wada representing the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Barrister Natasha Akpoti representing the Social Democratic Party (SDP).
At this point, the stage is set; the primarily elected and endorsed political paparazzi (s) representing one registered party or the other are already demonstrating their competence of true leadership and genuine patriotism in their various glittering political campaigns and manifestos within the 21 local governments of the state; each candidate presenting him or herself as the rightful candidate to win the forth coming November 16th governorship poll and emerge as the 6th democratic governor of the state.
However, in the midst of all these glittering campaigns and sugarcoated manifestoes, the question “who is the right pilot?” and “how are the citizens of Kogi state ready to elect the right pilot?” is still lying restless in the heart of Kogites. As these questions are yet to be answered, both the Independence National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the various security agencies are making serious preparations and strategies to ensure that 2019 Kogi governorship poll is conducted under a free and fair atmosphere of total equity.
To this end, I thereby appeal to every indigene of Kogi state to remain calm and be passionate in terms of ensuring a peaceful and credible poll in the forthcoming November 16th poll. Following the popular English proverb that says the darkest hours are just before dawn shows that Kogi state is closer to the promise land than before; as election is at the corner, we must remind ourselves and have the beautiful mandate of our dear state at heart, and this must be carefully done by doing the needful at the poll as we elect the most credible pilot we think can best represent our interest and help pilot the socio-economic and political affairs of our dear state to the promise land.
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– Onipe Ozovehe Moses
400 Level Student of Mass Communication
Kogi State University, Anyigba