Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello, has stated that he has surpassed his predecessors in achievements six years after taking the oath of office.
In his anniversary speech on Thursday, the Governor said Kogi, under his leadership, has remained top-notch.
Bello was first elected in 2015 after the shocking demise of the former governor Audu Abubakar who was declared winner of the poll that saw the emergence of the former as governor.
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He was then returned for a second term after securing an overwhelming victory at the 2019 gubernatorial poll.
In commemoration of the sixth anniversary in office, the Governor reeled out his achievements, which he said wouldn’t have been possible if not for the unflinching support from the residents of the States.
“My dear Kogites, today is the sixth anniversary in office of my New Direction Administration and I am truly proud of how far we have come with you. Since my first Inauguration as the 4th Executive Governor of Kogi on 27th January, 2016 my team and I have done nothing but labour in your service to fulfil our promises. Everything else has been secondary to this primary assignment.”
“I am able to say therefore that the last six years have been satisfying, to the extent that I can show by many proofs that I have steered Kogi State towards the goal of ‘accelerated and proportional development in all her constituencies’ which I set for us in our New Direction Blueprint shortly after I stepped into Lugard House.”
The Governor stated that lives and properties are safer in the state than when he first took office.
“This is all the more poignant because in the same timeframe much of the country has gone the other way, with many falling deeper into intractable insecurity. Threats from bandits, terrorists, kidnappers or ‘unknown gunmen’ have multiplied across board – except in Kogi State. At great human and financial cost we have continued to ensure that no inch of Kogi State is under the control of hostile non-state actors of any hue or cause.”
On infrastructure, the governor noted that thousands of kilometres of new roads, hundreds of classroom blocks and primary healthcare centres, and several model primary and secondary schools have been constructed across the three Senatorial districts.
“We have also built a 300-bed reference hospital and half a dozen general hospitals, established the brand new Confluence University of Science and Technology (CUSTECH), Osara and constructed dozens of legacy buildings in all our other tertiary institutions. We also achieved the first ever 100% accreditation of courses by national regulators at several of our institutions, including the Prince Abubakar Audu University, Anyigba.
” When you add all of that to enduring Civil Service and Pension Reforms you will agree that we have been busy with the right things in the New Direction.
” We do have reasons to celebrate when you consider that for the first time ever an administration is not owing one month of salaries or pensions midway into a second term. To greater or lesser extent we have continued to pay our state workers on or before the end of each month since our staff screening and verification exercise ended about 3 years ago with a table payment exercise to clear previous arrears.”
However, he explained that some issues with the wage-bill, particularly the inability to accommodate 100% salary payments to Local Government workers, poses a challenge.
“Currently, this can only be possible with extensive staff retrenchment to remove massive redundancy. This is the sad reality imposed on us by a bloated workforce in the face of severely desiccated allocations cum finances,” he confessed.