Contrary to the use of the term ‘sack’ to describe the decision of Governor Yahaya Bello to ease out its political appointees, Kogi State Government says the decision of the administration to relieve them of their positions was part of preparations for January, 2020 transition process. The Director General, Media and Publicity to the Governor, Hon Kingsley Fanwo made the clarification in an interview with our reporter where he bared his mind on some of the policies and programmes of the administration in the last four years and what the people of the state should expect in the next four years.
What is your reaction to the news of ‘sacking’ of political appointees in the state?
The Governor did not sack them. Sack is a harsh word especially as the relieved office holders did not commit any crime. The Governor only relieved them of their offices as a part of the transition process. The next administration will kick off in January 27, 2020, and there is need to ‘clear the table’ before that administration kicks off.
The Governor is eternally grateful for the selfless and innovative services rendered by the outgoing office holders. They will always be in his thoughts.It has been an eventful tenure and the Governor is conscious of the need to maintain the momentum and do more in line with his electioneering campaign promises to the people of the state.
Can you quickly summarise the policy objectives of the present administration in the last four years?
The Governor focused on the major needs of the people which were woven into a solid bond for delivery. Our education suffered in the previous administrations without plans. Governor Yahaya Bello has envisioned an educational policy that will help transform the state. Today, we are doing very well in that sector.
Agriculture is another area that serves as the mainstay of the state’s economy which the past administrations had neglected. Governor Bello has made the sector competitive and productive. More youth and women are now engaged and we have the second largest Rice Mill in Northern Nigeria built by the administration in Ejiba, Yagba West Local Government Area.
Before the Governor came on board in 2016, we had a horrible maternal mortality index. Governor Bello has said mothers do not have to die giving birth to life. Today, the narrative has changed with our Healthcare Plus and other health intervention programs. The administration has also upgraded our health institutions and facilities as well as drastically revamped and renovated structures at our healthcare training institutions.
The administration has built a new bloc of economic powers around the micro business hub. More people now own and run businesses. Our environment has been accommodating ventures of business growth. More jobs have also been created under the present administration.
Also, the Governor is the number one crime fighter in the country today. Our security architecture model has been copied by many other states across the federation. Operation Total Freedom has freed our state of criminals.
Successfully, the administration has sanitized, reformed and digitalized the civil service. Our civil service is now more efficient than it has ever been. Over all, Governor Yahaya Bello has united the state. To get an opportunity in the state, where you come from does not matter anymore. That was why people across the state voted for him in the just concluded governorship election in the state. Their votes represent a loud voice of unity and endorsement of the governor as the purveyor of Kogi unity.
He also ensured overhauling of infrastructure across the state. Many roads were constructed. More hospitals built. More water projects as well as electrification projects also completed and others still ongoing.
Operation Light Up Kogi East alone is electrifying over 190 communities in Kogi East which used to be the worst hit in terms of electricity deficit despite producing all the Governors in the state before Governor Yahaya Bello.
What should Kogites expect in the next four years?
It is going to be the last term of Governor Yahaya Bello as Governor of the state and so he will use the period to consolidate on his achievements. He will surely construct more roads. It was a miracle he could complete the kilometers of roads he did judging by the paucity of funds. He will complete those legacy projects and do more.
We are currently raking in over N1.4 Billion as Internally Generated Revenue. We want to get more from there without introducing new taxes. We can get more by making more people pay taxes.
He will also lobby more to get the Federal Roads in the state fixed. They are in a terrible state at the moment and it is giving the state a bad image. The Governor is not resting on his oars and is working round the clock to ensure he achieves it. He will pile more pressure on the Federal Ministry of Works to attend to Kogi roads.
The Governor will also not relent in his conversations with the Federal Government to get Ajaokuta Steel Company back to life. This will help engage more of our population and improve our revenue and economy as a whole. The Governor will build more schools and strengthen our tertiary institutions.
He needs the cooperation of the people to achieve all these laudable projects.
What, in your views, are the qualities the governor should look at in appointing people into his cabinet in his second tenure?
It is the Governor’s exclusive preserve to determine that. He knows the characters that fit into his plans and agenda for his second term.