By Shaibu Stephen Ojate
Kogi state created two decades ago has not found its right footing in our national political and economic landscape.
The state has been riddled with underdevelopment and in clear term cannot be said to be in tandem with her contemporaries created in the same day with it. The state has suffered great infrastructural defeat due to bad governance and socio-economic life of the people have not been fared better off as the people wallow in abject poverty with no sense of hope.
Political pundits have long attributed the colossal failure of the state to the prolong misrule of successive Governors who were mostly of Igalla extraction.
It was hinted that these Governors had turned the running of the state into Igalla family affairs and because of that; they failed to put in their best to fully develop the state. The emotional feeling in this regard was what triggered up the call for power shift by the people of kogi central and west axis predominately by Ebiras and Okuns respectively who felt shortchanged in the scheme of things.
Recall that the power shift had had repeated failures but respite came to the Advocates through the death of the All Progressive Congress’s Candidate, Prince Abubakar Audu which later seen to the emergence of Alhaji Yahaya Bello, a man from one of the areas that long clamoured for powershift. The emergence of Alhaji Yahaya Bello as Kogi governor of the state was greeted with high hope and expectation.
The people of ebira kingdom where the Governor hails from generally believed the Yahaya’s administration is a must for positive change and infrastructural development as kogi central people long thirst for headship of the state.
Inshort, barely one year into the administration of Yahaya, his performance has been a subject of questioning and being greeted with mis-feelings. Today, many are disenchanted with his performance as there are no visible completed projects one can attribute to him.
As a matter of fact, proponents of the government have attributed slow pace of work to years of state roth that pervaded the state which they said, ‘he is trying to clear the mess’. They alluded that the cost of running the state is more astronomical to what the state gets in terms of revenue and monthly allocation. This, they also said had contributed to hiccup to months of unpaid salaries in the state.
The protracted unpaid salary payment has brought lock jam between the people and the government. It brought untold hardship of the people and also led credence to increasing critics of kogi state government. As it is, the governor is thrown off balance and seems not knowing what to do prompting him to arrest some critics of his administration for unguarded utterances. Silencing critics is not the best option in this time of ours.
What the Governor needs doing is to put its’ thinking cap right. They need to think outside the box if not they will continue getting usual result which will make people not to take them serious.
To overcome these quagmires of not being impressive, I strongly proffer that the government of the day should give high premium to civil servants salaries than the political office holders. The governor should slice political office holders’ salaries by 50%. He should strip them (political appointees) off unnecessary allowances to free up fund to use in paying workers salary.
The governor should be reminded that political office holders are nominated to serve the people and they should be ready to serve the society nomatter the amount of the take home pay and not the society living at their peril. In contrast, the civil servants are working for their pay and the Governor should not rub them in whatever disguise. Anyone of the political appointees not ready for the salary reduction should resign and get another replace them instead.
This will in no doubt shall free up fund for the regular and prompt salary payment of Civil Servants. Adopting this will in no doubt reduce the number of his critics as presently examined.
On a second note, i equally suggest that the governor should float state owned construction company for the construction of all the roads in the state. Few billion of naira as ear-marked for one road construction contract project can comfortably procure the heavy equipment for use. Kogi state is blessed with rocks, quarry grinding company should equally be set-up too and whose responsibility would be to break rocks into granites for use in the road construction. We can get these free of charge.
To buttress more, the said construction company can equally be used to bid for the construction of other State’s roads projects. The state will generate more revenue from other State roads construction contract. Going by this, it will help in boosting the overall internal generated revenue base of the state.
With these, more money will be saved for use by the State. Also, new jobs will be created as Engineers, drivers, quarry and construction workers shall be employed too. All these will greatly compliment the “NEW DIRECTION” programme of your administration on Job creation and empowerment.
The State government will be able to address the menace of kidnapping orchestrated by jobless. It is through these the government of the day can repose confidence of the populace and create a virile state that will be a pride of all. I am making this suggestion because the success of the Governor is ours and when he fails, we fail too.
Shaibu stephen ojate is a journalist writes from abuja. He is on facebook and reachable via phone number 08052666344 or 09075716236