The Kogi State Governor, Alhaji Yahaya Bello, has called on all Kogites to be prayerful and hopeful for a better future even as the his administration is committed to delivering good governance to the people.
In a press statement containing his Christmas Address released by his Chief Press Secretary, Petra Akinti Onyegbule, the governor pointed out that in his 23 months in office, insecurity issues have been largely tackled, infrastructure is getting needed cash injection while civil service reforms are on course.
It reads thus:
“My dearest fellow Kogites, it gives me great pleasure and deep humility to say ‘Merry Christmas’ to you all, young and old, residents and our brothers and sisters in the Diaspora. This is the season that remains us all of the gift of life. It is a time to trade stories with loved ones on what a year the outgoing one has been and our undying hopes for success in the incoming one. It is indeed a time of sober reflections and stock-taking to determine if all or any of one’s goals for the year were met and plans for the next year are lined up and debated. As it is for the people, so it is for the government. A look at what has gone by in the last 365 days gives us much to be hopeful for in the future of our dear state.
“I have always loved this time of the year. Even as a Muslim child growing up in Okene, the frenzy of preparations, the arrival of relations from far-flung places, the decorations and the smell of savoury food meant the Christmas Fever caught me too. We would celebrate in unison with our Christian neighbours, confident in the fact that they would also join us when our festivities came around. Everyone would together pray to God for a better year while thanking Him for the good in the last. I hope those days of joyful brotherhood have returned to our midst.
“This is my second Christmas in government and in that time, we have by and large conquered the monster of insecurity in our land. Kidnappers and armed robbers have beaten a hasty retreat because we have made Kogi uncomfortable for them. We achieved this previously unfathomable feat together. This year, we took huge steps in our Civil Service Reforms drive. Although, largely cumbersome, painful and sometimes chaotic, we have seen the process save us valuable hundreds of millions of naira. We have opened up hundreds of kilometres of rural roads, which have in return brought our agricultural revolution on stream with our farmers finally liberated enough to bring their produce to the markets quickly. Only yesterday, (December 23rd), I launched the much expected Confluence Rice and commissioned a great number of agricultural machinery to aid our dreams of feeding Nigeria and Africa.
“Our health sector has witnessed steady and measurable progress as we march towards drastically reducing maternal mortality and containing and preventing epidemics. We recruited a number of doctors while a lot of other medical professionals are awaiting their employmentletters to join the service. We have trained thousands of youths to be self-sustaining and secured placements for thousands more in federal government funded programs. We have connected many communities to the national electricity grid and have connected many more to adequate and portable water supply. Our roads in Kogi are smoother and more motorable. We have done well given the prevailing national economy and the resources available.”
The Governor thanked the people and civil servants for their understanding and patience in the outgoing year. He promised that, although the state is undergoing a painful period in its journey to financial independence, the end would justify their sacrifices.
“Yes, we made a few enemies this year but we know that we we also made a lot of friends. Our foes are those who are either uninformed of our intentions or simply uninterested in our brand of people-centred governance. The act of using the people’s common patrimony to solve the problems of the majority of common people is a concept most alien to them. It is our hope that they would leave such selfish behaviour in 2017. If not, we are determined to prove them wrong.
“We are not unaware that some of our civil servants are yet to get their salaries. The importance of the season was what pushed us to make every effort humanly possible to secure the funds to pay salaries. For the pain and disappointment, we are deeply sorry and seek your understanding. We thank the Organised Labour for agreeing to the compromise of percentage payment and are grateful to our workers for standing with us at this most trying period. Resetting a decayed system and getting it ready for the challenges of the 21st century is a daunting task. We are stretching every single penny to get those who deserve their pay to get it in good time.
“Our promise is that next year, things will improve drastically. Those who have been bugging down the payroll will be fully and legally removed and those that warrant it will be made to face their day in court. Our resources they stole away must return and be ploughed back into making our lives better.
“My solemn charge to all this Yuletide and for 2018 is that we remain our brother’s keeper and continue to live in peace. Nothing can be achieved without peace. Report suspicious activities to the appropriate authorities. Keep your surroundings clean and our drains free of debris to prevent flooding and diseases. Remember; Change begins with You!
“As we look forward to 2018, let us all resolve to be committed to the concept of One Kogi! Let the common hopes, dreams and aspirations we share outweigh despair and distrust.
“On behalf of my Deputy, Elder Simon Achuba, and all the energetic and youthful New Direction Team, Merry Christmas to us all. We wish you safe travels through the state and a fun filled time with your family.”
Petra Akinti Onyegbule
Chief Press Secretary to the Kogi State Governor