By Abu Micheal.

Kogi is one State that is in critical need of development despite its amazing and abundant human and natural resources.

As such the state is not one that should be left in the hands of political gamblers, for few persons who have made fortunes as land speculators and people who do not have the right leadership credentials to govern a complex state as ours.

For now the need to ask those thinking about becoming the next governor of the state, but are dolling out cars, ankara and monies, what there antecedent had been as civil and public servants, has become very important. This is because Kogi is not an investment for people to think that what the spend now, they will recoup later. Furthermore, the state can’t always be guinea pigs for leadership experimentation as has been the case over the years.

Kogi State is no doubt heavily endowed by God to make it prosper as the potential food basket of the nation and also a tourist destination.

According to a report published by the Federal Ministry of Mines and Steel Development in 2009, Nigeria has commercial deposits of a total of 37 minerals, up from 33 minerals in 2008.
The report indicated that Kogi State alone has deposits of a total of 29 mineral resources available in commercial quantities. These include coal,dolomite,feldspar,bauxite,iron ore,tar,limestone,gold, tantalite etc.

Each of the 21 councils in the state is said to have deposits of at least 2 minerals. According to the report, one of the coal-rich areas is the Okaba district of Ankpa Local Council, which alone holds reserves of 99 million tones of coal.

“As things stand, Kogi state alone has enough deposits of coal to supply all of Nigeria with electricity for 400 years. And enough limestone to keep three giant-sized cement factories (with over 15m tons annual capacity) operational for an unbroken stretch of 99 years”, quoted the FG report.

The state capital, Lokoja also hosts historical relics and geographical monuments, notably the museum of old European commercial activities and the confluence of River Niger and River Benue.
Curiously,  despite the amazing depth of her human and mineral resource and tourism endowment, over the years, until the coming of Capt Idris Wada, Kogi State had placed last in all Nigeria’s social and economic indices.

But determined to rewrite Kogi’s story, Governor Wada’s efforts since assumption of office in January, 2012, has ensured that the state is presently undergoing an agricultural and industrial transformation, made possible through the influx of foreign investors to stimulate the state’s economy.

Kogi now under Capt Wada plays the role of a catalyst, culminating into the signing of about 12 memoranda of understanding running into billions of Naira.

The attraction of foreign partners into the state’s economy is anchored on the political will of Capt Wada and the enabling environment for business to thrive in the state he has created.

The generally held views in and outside Kogi state is that a man like Capt Idris Wada, who stands out for good ideal’s, has no doubt done so much in trying to reposition the state in the last few year’s, little wonder he is seen as the better option for the state beyond 2016.

The state governorship election is slated for the 21 day of November this year. Already, politicians of different shapes and sizes and belonging to various political divide are climbing the mountain top to make promises of change.

A look at some of the politicians making these promises, brings to mind the adage that says if a man promises to present you a shirt, you are advised to look at the kind of shirt he has on him comes to the fore.

The last general election where the All Progressive Congress had a sudden had surprise victory at the Presidential election in the state made matters worst politically as some people were deceived to believe that the APC will win gubernatorial election in the state.

Of course those thinking as such may not be wrong because we had a situation where some persons who ordinarily are considered not fit to win election won elections to the National and State Assembly from the State because of the “Buhari” factor.

You can’t take it from Prince Abubakar Audu, the two time governor of Kogi State and builder of the State at creation in 1992, is among those aspiring to be governor of the state, remains a politician that commands follower ship any time any day. He will certainly be a very good match for the PDP and will certainly send shivers down the spine of his co contestants.

While the electorates are  routing for him, unfortunately, some elements in the APC are making frantic efforts to truncate his emergence. The former governor it would be recalled rallied the APC to victory in the last general election and will no doubt be a good match for the PDP.

Aside the Prince of the Niger, as he is fondly called, the likes of Baba Suleiman Ali, one time commissioner of Health under Prince Audu is anther good material. The likes of Sen Alex Kadiri, Sen Nicholas Ugbane and the rest who are aspiring to be governors are spoilers and are seen by analysts as pretenders to the throne. This is because their antecedent portrays them as those on an adventure. After the 2015 governorship, they are sure contenders in 2019 because to them it is a hobby to aspirants all the time.

One candidate though yet to have declared his intention, but has shown capacity in running the affairs of the state is Capt Idris Wada, the incumbent Governor. Gentle and easy going, Capt Wada has simplified governance. Within the last three years of his administration, the governor has enthroned good governance when viewed against available resources.

Governing a state as complex as Kogi is not a tea party. Furthermore, governance has gone beyond the usual where building of roads and payment of salaries of workers are what is seen as the only responsibility of a governor.

Unfortunately, gone are the days when a state can predict what is to come to it at the end of the month as allocation.

Recent revelation shows that most states are bankrupt. It is certainly no longer fashionable to strive to be governor again.

The persistent low crude oil prices has left states in perilous state, thus it requires only governors who wear the right thinking caps to do the unusual to meet the basic and long term infrastructural needs of their people.

A lot of wrong perceptions have been created about Capt Wada. Unfortunately, he has been made to be seen as a man who has under performed, clueless and above all not fit to run another term as governor.

For emphasis, through collaborative efforts, under the Capt Wada administration, a cement industry at Alo, Itobe is nearing completion.

The administration is building about 1,000 houses in the State.

About 58 roads have been completed by the present administration. The township roads of Dekina, Ankpa, Mopa, Kabba, Iyara, Isanlu, Egbe, Dekina, Lokoja and Koton – Karfe are also under construction.

This administration is building a University Teaching Hospital in Anyigba, aside the establishment of five Zonal Hospitals in Ankpa, Idah, Ayingba, Kabba and Okene. Presently the Wada administration has upgraded the infrastructures of all its General Hospitals in the State. Aside the 250 Cottage Hospitals at Odu and three others in Ikeuhi to mention a few,  the Diagnostic and Imaging Centre in Lokoja is also nearing completion.

In the area of education, all Iconic schools in the State have been rehabilitated, while over 200 Primary and Secondary Schools have been renovated.

Higher Institutions like the Kogi State Polytechnic, Ayingba University, Colleges of Nursing have Hostel buildings built and completed by the Wada administration while all the schools aside having their courses accredited, enjoy adequate funding. Efforts is on to clear the arrears of busary owed students, while parents will soon get the refund they paid for this year’s WAEC fee. The government has paid that of the last three years.

Furthermore, government is at advanced stage for the completion of Kogi House, a seventeen storey building that is located in the heart of Abuja. A modern trailer and motor park is also on going in Lokoja, while remodeling of Kogi Hotels, construction of a 16 km Otokiti – Ganaja bye pass road and another road from welcome to Lokoja through to the new market are simultaneously on going. These roads are multi lane, and fitted with side walks and street lights.

The Wada administration has as credit too that it has also completed the payment for the Greater Lokoja Water works project, carried out an embankment at the cost of N400million to protect the water facility and would soon complete the reticulation of water to towns adjoining lokoja at the cost of about N2 billion. About 35 other water schemes across the State are also on – going simultaneously.

The administration’s free rural health program has taken care of over 120,00 persons, while another about 10,000 youths have been employed under the YAD4KOGI program. In the Civil Service, the administration employed water engineers, Doctors, Nurses and other workers in the Radio and other Agencies, thus reducing the number of unemployed in the State.

From the foregoing, Capt Idris Wada has proven to be the best man for the job, making analysts to conclude that the next Governorship election in the State should not be for administrators who want to learn on the job and for desperate power seekers.

Having achieved so much, amidst the available resources, but basically through prudent management of resources, it thus become important that the people shine their eyes in choosing a governor, knowing fully well that Rome as they say was not built in a day.

Abu Micheal, is the Chief Press Secretary to Kogi State Deputy Governor.

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