Kogi State, unarguably the nation’s ‘confluence state’ is currently witnessing unprecedented developmental strides under the leadership of Governor Yahaya Bello. This is in spite of the seemingly interminable and endless litigations that have attended the nomination and election of the incumbent as governor in the supplementary elections of December 2015.
In recent times, the governor had faced series of cases instituted by his main challenger in the All Progressives Congress, APC, Hon. James Faleke, a former deputy governorship mate to the late Prince Abubakar Audu who is laying claim to the governorship seat and the ousted Captain Idris Wada (rtd), the immediate past governor of the State.
The cases variously heard at the Elections Petitions Tribunal, which in separate rulings upheld the nomination, and election of Bello as the governor of Kogi State. Not satisfied with the rulings, both Faleke and Wada proceeded to the Court of Appeal in Abuja.
But in different judgments, the appellate court affirmed the verdicts of the lower court. With the second string of judicial victories by Bello, it was widely expected that the litigants would bury the hatchet and give the governor a breathing space to face the real issues of governance in the self-styled ‘Confluence State’. This is to no avail.
In spite of the genuine hand of fellowship extended to both Faleke and Wada and other aggrieved political elements in the state by Governor Bello to join him in re-working and re-engineering of the state, the aggrieved refused to give up the matter which is now at the Supreme Court where the issue would be finally determined.
However, given the rulings at both the Election Petitions Tribunal and Appeal Court, which were in favour of Governor Bello, there is no doubt that he would ultimately triumph.
It is equally amazing that in the face of these fierce legal challenges, Governor Bello has remained focused in his determination to give the state a new lease of life.
In the last eight months, it will be recalled, Governor Bello has not only redefined the parameters of governance, but has given increased and better attention to the welfare and security of the people which are the primary purpose of government as stipulated in Chapter 2, Section 14 (2b) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).
Towards actualising this dream of a new Kogi, he has mobilised contractors back to all the abandoned critical road projects in the 21 local government areas of the state under the past administration. The on-going remedial works on these strategic roads in the state have brought a lot of relief to the people and other commuters that must of necessity pass through Kogi to other parts of the country.
As an apostle of due process and zero tolerance to corruption, he has taken a bold step blocking all known areas of financial leakages in the State. For instance,the first thing he did upon assumption of office was to institute the Treasury Single Account, TSA, which ensured that all revenues of the state are not diverted into private accounts.
Secondly, he commissioned a staff audit of the State Civil Service with a view to weeding out ghost workers who have constituted a major drain on the scarce resources of the state. The staff verification exercise was hugely successful as about 16,000 ghost workers were identified and expunged from the payroll of the state, which translates to a saving N18 billion annually ,which would now be deployed to provide key infrastructure and other important amenities in the State.
Sadly, this huge sum of money is what some cabals in the state have been diverting through ghost workers and at the expense of development. Although this cabal resisted, he remained undeterred.
While in the area of security, the governor equally made commendable progress, which is evident in the strategic partnership he forged with the military high command. And this resulted into a high-level visit of the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai to Lokoja where he pledged to deploy troops to critical roads across the state with a view to routing out kidnappers, armed robbers, cultists, bandits and other sundry criminals that have made lives unbearable for Kogi citizens and commuters particularly on the dreaded Lokoja-Okene road.
Also, his purposeful governance is visibly seen in other crucial areas like the provision of quality education, healthcare delivery, towards the promotion of agriculture and efficient transportation for the socio-economic development of the state.
But more importantly, he ensured that the state continues to enjoy relative peace and harmony through political inclusiveness and constructive engagement with relevant stakeholders. He demonstrated this when he intervened and resolved the lingering crisis in the State House of Assembly, which had threatened peaceful coexistence in the state.
Therefore, for the state to join the train of global development, Governor Bello needs the support and prayers of all and sundry towards repositioning the state for greater developmental strides.
Dr. Okpanachi, wrote in from Ayangba, Kogi State)

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