The Governor of Kogi State, Alhaji Yahaya Bello has assured that his New Direction agenda is aimed at making the State one of the most developed in the nation, saying it is high time Kogi joined the league of developed states. He said his administration has the capacity and will to rebound the economy of the State through agriculture and industrialization.
In a statement in Lokoja by his Chief Press Secretary, Kingsley Fanwo, the Governor said the economic future of the State lies in agriculture and industrialization, urging Kogites to key into the New Direction Blueprint to actualize economic prosperity.
“With the economic reality in the country, the need for diversification has become inevitable. States are finding it increasingly challenging to pay salaries due to dwindling allocations as a result of the instability in the global oil market.
“The benefit of times like this is the probe of our intellectual capacity as leaders to think out of the box to bring solutions to the challenge of empowering our people to march out of poverty into shared prosperity.
“My government is working with local and international partners to make agriculture and agro-business the drivers of our economy. Our New Direction Blueprint focuses on what agriculture should give to our economy and help reduce the load on our payrolls through the promotion of entrepreneurial communities of modern farmers.
“On the long-run, we must all come together to explore ways of re-engaging our people to make them pillars of economic sustainability, rather than under-utilized labour. Our state is blessed by nature to be the epicentre of agro-business in Nigeria and the West African sub-region”.
The Governor assured the people of the State of the determination of his admiration to ensure that contractors who abandoned projects for which they have been mobilized, come back to complete the projects.
He said: “As a state, we are ready to create an enabling environment for contractors to execute projects. However, I want to assure the people of Kogi State that no contractor will succeed in defrauding the State through projects abandonment under my watch. I had a meeting with all contractors handling projects in the State where I made it known to them that my administration will ensure accountability and delivery.
“The era of collecting mobilization fund for projects and bolt away is over. Our state must derive value for every kobo paid to contractors. Under this administration, the citizens will know how their taxes are spent. I am only holding trust for the people of Kogi State “.
Governor Bello also said security has improved in the State through various collaborative efforts between the State and security agencies, saying his topmost priority is to ensure the security of lives and property in the State.
He thanked the Kogi civil servants for supporting his initiative aimed at removing ghost workers from the payrolls of the State.
“I do not know how to thank the workforce of the State enough for its understanding and sacrifices in the course of the staff verification exercise. Ghost workers are the wet wood militating against the progress of the State. In those weeks of verification, I felt the pains with you. We are close to our destination and we shall get there as salary payments continue.
“I am building a Kogi that will be strong at home, respected abroad and that which is ready to engage the world. My election was ordained by God to liberate the State from those who have held it down. In doing that, I know every corrupt system will always fight back. But with God and my good people of Kogi State, we shall triumph.
“The need to build a civil service that can March on with us to reposition the State is not about political exigencies, but my profound conviction that an efficient civil service is necessary for development. To the Kogi workers, I will work with you.
“The time to seize our state from the hands of ghost-worker proponents is now. Let us do it for the civil servants who couldn’t get full wages due to over-bloated wage bill. Let us do it for the man in the rural community who couldn’t be supported by government to access Medicare due to the fact that ghost workers take away hundreds of millions of the Commonwealth. Let us do it for the generation-next. Let us do it for a nation that is looking up to our state for economic leadership. Let us triumph. It is time to put food on the tables of Kogites and plan for the future. I represent these goals”.