By HAFSAT IBRAHIM
INDEED, there is time for everything in life. There is a time to invest and a time to pack, a time to sow and a time to reap. There is a time to work hard in hope and a time to be appreciated and commended. A lot has been said and written about Governor Yahaya Bello’s remarkable relationship with President Muhammadu Buhari and the doors it has opened for the former in his bid to transform Kogi state.
The crowning glory of his stewardship therefore must be the fact that on December 29, 2022, the President did not only storm the state in style, he also commissioned Bello’s amazing projects and recognised the greatness imbued in the 47-year- old governor. There is no doubt that no sector in Kogi State has received as much attention as the health sector since Governor Bello came to power in 2016.
Aside from the completed state-of-the-art Medical Diagnostic Centre in the State that will arguably become the best in the country, lots of other beneficial health programmes have been going on, one of which is the Healthcare Plus concept that has been applauded as one of the best intervention scheme across the Federation.
Indeed, Gov Bello has transformed Kogi State in all sectors, ranging from health, education and security. Upon becoming the governor, he made a lot of promises and has fulfilled about 80% of them.
Some time in May 2022, myself and a couple of colleagues visited the state to see for ourselves the amazing work of the governor. The Reference Hospital was one of the projects we inspected. It is not only huge, it is impressive in terms of quality of work done and the entire edifice of the building.
The hospital, among other projects which were near completion as at then, is now completed and was finally commissioned on December 29 by President Muhammadu Buhari. The Reference Hospital is adjudged to be the first of its kind in Nigeria with modern medical facilities and of international standard.
Among other landmark projects commissioned by President Buhari were the new Palace of Ohinoyi of Ebira Land in Okene and the fly-over Bridge at Ganaja Junction, Lokoja. The importance of the fly-over project cannot be overemphasized as it will tackle traffic congestion and ease the movement of road users and residents who use the township road to access other parts of the city like Phase II, Barracks and the road that leads to Okene, Obajana and Kabba.
President Buhari also commissioned the Okene-Agasa-Ukpgoro road and other township roads in Okene, together with ambulances, special security vehicles, the GYB Model Science Secondary School Adankolo in Lokoja, andMuhammadu Buhari Civic Centre.
President Buhari, in his remark, commended the governor for delivering all his electioneering campaign promises to Kogites. He also urged the good people of the state to cooperate and support the governor for him to deliver more dividends of democracy to them. While commissioning the legacy project implemented by the Kogi State Government, President Buhari said Gov. Bello had performed creditably in his two terms as governor of the state.
He also commended the governor for rising up to the occasion in many sectors, especially security. ”We are proud of him and I encourage the people of Kogi State to continue to support him and his team as they are working hard to ensure peace, security and development in the state. I am glad that we have an impressive array of legacy projects through your own state government as proof of our stewardship of Kogi. The APC Administration has indelible footprints in Kogi,” he said.
Speaking on the determination of his administration to position Kogi as an industrial hub as well as a solid mineral power base, the president explained how the Federal Government achieved the resolution of all legal entanglements that had bogged down the progress of the Ajaokuta Steel Complex. According to him, the project stands to benefit the people of the state immensely as it would generate $1.6 billion annually and provide 500,000 estimated jobs for Nigerian youths.
“No other single project holds the key to unlocking this vast potential as much as the Ajaokuta Steel Complex which we inherited as a long moribund complex strangulating under a tangle of local and international commercial disputes. I am glad to report that as we begin to round off in office, we can genuinely say that our administration has rescued Ajaokuta from all legal disabilities. It is now ready for concessioning to a private investor with the right profiles to put it to work for Nigeria in general and Kogi in particular.
”The process has cost this Federal Government over 400 million dollars so far, but I consider it money well spent as we move closer to achieving our objective of transforming Kogi State into Nigeria’s iron and steel powerhouse,” he said.