…8 Days of Projects Inspection, Pouring Encomium of Good Dividends
The media space went agog recently with eye pleasing and aesthetic images of what could be referred to as Legacy projects of the administration of Governor Yahaya Bello. What followed were remorseful apologies of previously critical commentators who had at one point or the other vented anger and resentments against the government of kogi. Many of them acknowledged that they were grossly misled by propagandist who took advantage of the governor’s decisions not to blow his own trumpet in the early days of his government.
Throughout the eight days of inspection, images of infrastructural master piece right from the state capital, to Idah, Gegu-Beki, Anyigba, Ogugu, Okene, Kabba and some other places which were yonder rented the air. One thing was made clear, propagandist had lied and their lies were believed by many who joined to spread their deceit. But just as the saying goes “truth will always prevail”
There was no better place to commence the inspection other than the state capital, Lokoja. The city which historically stands remarkable as the Confluence state in previous years has not received the needed touch befitting of its status. The administration of Governor Bello from its first term, resolved to address years of misdeed and the first step it took was ensuring the capital’s security and cleanness, the government also massively invested in road infrastructure.
The administration however in recent times constructed the first ever; fly over in the entire state. The about 500 meters, Ganaja Junction flyover was ticked on the bucket list of the state and a legacy of the governor Bello led administration with the aim of easing the traffic congestion often witnessed around the Ganaja Junction area of the state. Aside from achieving the earlier stated purpose, the site of the fly over would have added aesthetics to Lokoja town which is on the path of becoming a modern city.
In our travels to Kogi East of the state, the motorcade had a long drive through a 55 km Ejule – Umomi – Ugwualawo – Ajaka – Idah road project of this administration. What greeted our sojourn were excited and jubilant communities who sang danced and chanted choruses of satisfaction. This particular road project which cut across the heart of the igala kingdom is listed among the previously initiated and completed road projects in the region.
The Kabba township roads was yet another addition to road projects while in Kogi central, our inspection motorcade visited about 10 spots of completed township roads in Agasa GRA, Okengwe – Makaranta and several other points.
Community members in these areas could not but acknowledge the benevolence they have received from the government, as not only such had improved the social economic well being (agric produce from the region will be easily transported from rural to urban areas), but has placed them on the map of good governance.
NEWMAP AND THE GIANT STRIDE IN EROSION CONTROL
Erosion remain one of the greatest environmental concern in recent times, particularly across Africa, which is renowned for its very porous erosion control systems with a largely backward waste disposal culture and improper architectural roadmap as well as planning.
The Nigeria Erosion and Watershed Management Project (NEWMAP) is a World Bank assisted scheme that is targeted at proffering solution to the imminent gully erosion crisis in captured areas in the country. It is however pertinent to point out that under the leadership of Kogi State NEWMAP Project Coordinator, Barrister Ladi Jatto, the state has benefitted greatly from this project.
A little enlightenment would suffice. Projects as such, although requires funding from the international body because of its huge capital need, each beneficiary state is often required to pay counterpart fund, a policy to indicate commitment to the cause. Many states lose out in this regard, because of either delay in this payment or outright lack of commitment.
Many who have queried vehemently the inclusion of numerous projects which include erosion control in Kogi East, alongside long stretches of roads constructed as well as similar feet in Kogi Central and west on the list of the infrastructural accolades of the New Direction Government, may be ignorant, or simple trying to hide facts.
They should simply ask, is Kogi the only state in Nigeria? What is the current administration of Governor Yahaya Bello doing differently as regards NEWMAP that its impact has been felt more than the previous administrations in the state? Truth is, beyond politics, when we see good results, they are not just wishful thinking or coincidence, most times they are backed up by strong commitment, political will and the ability of a leader to place a round peg in a round hole.
A NEW TEMPLATE FOR ACADEMIC INFRASTRUCTURE
Such a joy, which gleaned the face of Governor Yahaya Bello during the inspection of the GYB Model Secondary Adankolo, an edifice which has now become a new template for Academic infrastructure in the state. The smiles were a testament to the satisfaction and contentment witnessed by the governor owing to the fact that aside from its aesthetic ambiance, the building was fully equipped to the teeth. As we toured from the entrance, the tour guide led us from the security post, to class rooms, biology, physics, chemistry, home economics laboratories all fully incorporated with the necessary tool required for learning and academic excellence.
An obviously joyous investor with his good dividends standing tall in front of him, the governor said, the school could stand head over shoulders with any institution of learning within and outside the country and of truth such was the popular opinion of citizens who have laid eyes on the citadel of academic venture.
The inspection train also visited yet another iconic model school, this one particularly being facilitated by the State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB) where jubilant students and their teachers could not hide their feelings. Who would blame them? they are witnessing the first of such conducive learning environment.
The testimony of a community leader from Ajiolo-Ajikpome in Dekina Local Government Area of Kogi State, Pa Yusuf Okala who poured encomium on Governor Yahaya Bello, affirming that the state has witnessed tremendous infrastructural development under his administration, remained another high point of our tour.
Pa. Okala popularly referred to as Baba Clifford Ajiolo who is also the father of the State Auditor General, thanked the governor for bringing to bare equity, justice and fairness in the selection of his appointees across the three senatorial districts of the state.
The governor who visited Pa Okala during his tour to the Local Government , particularly to inspect the community secondary school, Ajiolo-Ojaji was told that, his administration’s strides were highly commendable and that history would be kind to his good leadership and kind gesture to the people.
Pa. Okala added that the governor has also ensured that projects touching education, health and other critical sectors that touch the lives of citizens directly had been evenly allocated to every nooks and crannies of the state without disparity or bias.
Governor Bello while addressing students, teachers and the administrators at Adankolo, noted that one thing has been made clear, the administration has made it obvious that education was placed top tier in the blue print guiding its administration’s direction. Little wonder, the budgetary allocation in the current fiscal year was 30%. The governor revealed that such educational infrastructures were being replicated across the senatorial zones of the state.
ENDING MEDICAL TOURISM IN NIGERIA
Governor Yahaya Bello’s solemn vow is to put an abrupt end to medical tourism in Africa’s largest country through the provision of medical facilities which would be elite in providing similar services with any renowned world recommended facility.
This solemn promise is soon becoming a reality with the tour of over four general, zonal hospitals located strategically in Gegu Beki, Anyigba, Idah, Isanlu and Ankpa alongside a massive 300- Bed space world class Reference Hospital in Okene.
Just as the popular cliché “images don’t lie” goes, all these medical epicenters are fully equipped to the teeth and ready to be brought to full use. Governor Bello affirmed that the ultra modern medical epicentre in Okene was fully equipped with world class state of the art facilities, with several first of its kind medical equipment which could render similar services with world renowned hospitals that many Nigerians run to for Medicare.
According to the governor, what inspired the conception of such befitting, gigantic and well equipped medical facility was the understudy of expenses Nigerians make on seeking medical attention outside the shores of Nigeria as well as a keen concern on how various medical conditions cut short the lives of many individuals.
The Governor noted that while the government planned to help the hospitals stand on its feet when operations commenced, it was already working out an all encompassing model which would be used to run the medical facilities, alongside other ultra modern hospitals in a bid to guarantee their self sustenance, while they remained affordable for the people of the state.
YOUR APOLOGIES ARE ACCEPTED
During the inspection of the GYB model secondary school in Adankolo, Governor Yahaya Bello in his very usual pleasant gesture inundated several repentant critic of his government that he has accepted their apologies. He opined that their continued criticism were taken constructively and had only put his government on its toes thereby making it consistently better.
What necessitated some of these heartfelt apologies were the fact that truth prevailed over lies and propaganda of many years. Before now, ask any social media commentator who might have not passed through the boarders of Kogi state, about the state and their comment would be…..”Ahhhh….civil servants are owed salaries, no single infrastructure in that state, there is no evidence of good governance, what is the governor doing with the state’s money…..its goes on and on.
These were the narratives peddled by citizens of the state who were largely unpleased for one reason or the other with the person, government or the composition of the new direction government, while they consistently used the means available to them to give the outside world a very wrong impression about the state and government.
In the Governor’s 46th birthday personal message and other times of public speeches, he laid emphasis often on the dangers of a one sided story telling an allusion drawn from one of the remarkable works of Chimanmanda Adichie. Truly, the danger prevailed for far too long, so much that a one sided story told became the true unreal story.
The turn in tide began when real time images of various projects initiated and executed by the administration while information earlier circulated mischievously for instance the issue of salary began to get tangible clarity. Although the question I have asked was that were these not the same stories the administration have told, the only sane answer which I have drawn is that, when the time comes for your truth to be heard, the universe must surely agree with you.
The Governor who spoke directly to the social media audience on this particular day noted that their criticism spurred him to always do more and that his government disposition to such was always positively constructive.
He said “This is GYB Adankolo secondary school in Lokoja, when we came into office we met this school in shambles and promised to remodel it. Today we have a remodeled secondary school that will beat any university in Nigeria. The school is well equipped, adequately staffed, and ready for commissioning”.
WORKING TILL THE END
Throughout the days of inspection, one statement was consistent “we will work until the last seconds of our administration, in providing good dividends for our people”. The statement to many might utterly sound like yet another political cliché, but the GYB I know, is a man of his word, and one fact that many have come to acknowledge about the man is that he always match his words with action.
AKADIRI ADEMOLA EMMANUEL is a Mass Communication Graduate of Kwara State University, Malete and a political cum social commentator.