ADDRESS BY HIS EXCELLENCY, GOVERNOR YAHAYA BELLO OF KOGI STATE ON THE 32ND ANNIVERSARY OF THE CREATION OF KOGI STATE BEING SUNDAY, THE 27TH DAY OF AUGUST, 2023
My great people of Kogi State,
I address you today with a heart that is brimming with pride and hope as we celebrate the 32nd Anniversary of the creation of our beloved Kogi State. This historic occasion is a day of remembrance and recommitment toward progress, even as we pause again to reflect upon our journey, our achievements, and our dreams for the future.
Kogi State emerged as an entity from parts of Benue, Niger, and Kwara States on the 27th day of August, 1991 full of the promise and possibility of a new era for our people. Since that day, we have come a long way. In the process we have overcome challenges and though our history has been chequered, we have continued to journey towards a stronger and more vibrant Kogi State.
On this Anniversary, I have decided to reference my own contributions as a leader over the 8 years of my tenure which began on 27th of January, 2016 and will round off, by the grace of God Almighty alone, on the same day next year 2024. As for my predecessors, it suffices to say that their times in office, including their triumphs and failures, all contribute to the land and people we have become and are becoming as we march resolutely towards the greater future that we dream of. I salute each and everyone of them and do thank them sincerely, on behalf of all of us, for their services – such as it may have been.
Throughout my tenure as Governor, my commitment to the New Direction Blueprint has been the major driver of our actions and decisions. This policy plan has served us well as our guiding light, leading us towards the accelerated and proportional development we envisaged from inception across all constituencies in our State.
In education, health, infrastructure, youth empowerment, civil service reform, security, agriculture, and more, we have taken remarkable strides that are both visible and impactful today – even to the worst naysayer or skeptic. We have been able to do so much irrespective of the back to back years of financial underdelivery which has characterized our tenure from start to finish.
Our advances have been made possible because of our determination to display both astuteness and probity in Public Financial Management. We have diligently reformed our budgeting, procurement, debt management, revenue generation systems, and more. It is no longer news that our commitment to financial transparency and accountability has earned us the top position among Nigerian states in the World Bank’s States’ Financial Transparency, Accountability, and Sustainability (SFTAS) index, time and again.
In a nutshell, our success in leadership and governance has been meticulously planned and executed, and it is with the same intentionality that we embarked on the creation of the Kogi State 32-Year Development Plan earlier in the year. This plan will project our developmental aspirations for the next three decades, outlining both the short-term objectives that will derive from it and the longer term aspirations that we must pursue. Just as Alan Lakein once said, “Planning is bringing the future into the present so that you can do something about it now.”
Our vision is clear: to provide a ready Blueprint for our future leadership to continue developing Kogi State into Nigeria’s foremost and most secure emerging commercial hub, leveraging our geographical location, natural endowments, and human resources for a sustainable future. This envisions a functional sociopolity with self-sufficient economy, high standards of living and abundant socioeconomic opportunities that is sustained by industrialisation in an operational environment that promotes ease of doing business and climate-smart processes. We anticipate improved infrastructure, education, healthcare, security and agricultural advancements, with enhanced cooperation and integration amongst citizens.
Today, I look to that future with an urgent imperative to ensure that we do not fall into the hands of a leadership in our State after me that will ignore the needs of our people or of our State for good governance and proportional cum accelerated development that respects our great diversity.
In this regard, and as I round off my time in Office, I aim to ensure that Kogi State transitions into the hands of a successor that is committed to Continuity and Consolidation of the far-reaching legacies of our Administration and is able to keep providing our people with the empathetic, practical and transformational leadership that is so crucial the next stage of our development.
Alhaji Ododo Ahmed Usman is the candidate that we have selected and presented to Kogi State as the candidate for the 2023 Gubernatorial Elections and our preferred successor to the GYB years. He is well known for his humility and humanness, underlined by professionalism and strong leadership skills. I am confident in his ability to continue the upward trend in our growth graph established by our New Direction Administration and I solicit your support for him in the November 11 Kogi State Governorship Elections.
For the records, Kogi State is fully in support of recent hard decisions taken by the Administration of His Excellency, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to free Nigeria from some institutionalised practices with which ordinary Nigerians have been forced, for far too long, to subside their own despoliation at the hands of a rapacious few among the elite. I refer, of course, to the removal of the agelong fuel subsidy regime and the floating of the Naira.
The twin policies, though acutely necessary for freeing our people from the clutches of chronic Exploitation, have not been without labour pains. Indeed, their implementation have been quite hard on all Nigerians, including our people here in Kogi State. In response, the Federal Government has laid out a scheme of palliatives to cushion some of the painful impact. Let me assure us that here in Kogi State your Government is putting finishing touches to your own basket of palliatives and will soon deliver them to your doorsteps. These are hard times, but we promise to be with you every step of the way.
In closing, let us remember that any success we have seen as a state since we became one of the Federating units in the Federal Republic of Nigeria is not the work of a single individual or administration, but the collective effort of every Kogite. I thank you all for your dedication to working together with us to achieve a brighter future for Kogi State that transcends all personal and clique interests.
May the Almighty God continue to bless our Kogi State, increase our greatness and comfort us on every side.
Governor of Kogi State