KOGI STATE AND THE NEW DIRECTION: THE AURA OF CHANGE
The birth of a child in a typical African cultural setting heralds boundless joy and happiness. This is because, at the birth of a child into the family, such a child is perceived to be a potentially great individual on ordained mission.
As events rapidly unfolded in the later years of Bello’s adult life, the prayers and fervent wishes of his parents for their child to be great and do exploits for his society and generations, become practically fulfilled today.
A DIFFERENT KIND OF LEADERSHIP
Genuinely disturbed by the prevailing rot and decadence in the murky waters of the ‘Nigeria politics’ and inspired by a propelling vision to sanitize the Augean stable of the Nigeria politics, Yahaya Bello felt challenged to offer himself for leadership as a change agent to rescue the State that had been bedeviled by corrupt and inept leadership.
Apart from his passion and drive for business, Alhaji Yahaya Bello has a moral burden for the poor and the less privileged. He is a highly committed, public-spirited philanthropist and currently funds three orphanages, in addition to his sponsorship of the education of hundreds of Kogi State undergraduates in various institutions of higher learning.
Leadership gives you a platform to effect change and do well. Governor Yahaya Bello is a man who has redefined leadership in Kogi State; a man whose lifestyle and leadership has given hope to over 4million people to reignite their belief in their fatherland. Today, such belief has translated to pragmatic leadership, commitment to infrastructural development, unwavering war against corruption, and undeniable desire to rebound Kogi people to the front of ethnicity, culture and religion.
His landmark achievements can be seen in security, economy, finance, investment drive, infrastructure, health, education, politics, diaspora engagement, women empowerment, coordination of government, quality of bureaucracy, spending efficiency among others
The New Direction Administration led by His Excellency, Governor Yahaya Bello, has relentlessly stood against using the State’s resources to service the avarice of anyone or group – from Kogi State or elsewhere. His Excellency, Governor Yahaya Bello took his stand on an equitable approach to his administration. He clearly and constantly defined his purpose and methodology as one that declares inclusion as his guiding principle for fair governance in Kogi State.
Towards a socio-cultural thrust, a policy for inclusion – EBIGO – was entrenched, where there are no minority groups in dispensing governance. EBIGO is a not a political agenda but a unifying ideology. Tribe, religion or class are no longer the determinants of who or where gets what. They play no role except as measures of proportionality. Affirmative actions have been observed and for the first time in Kogi history, the youth and the womenfolk occupy the largest number of high profile positions in government, and wield real influence. To reinforce commitment towards religious parity, Kogi State Governor breaking a 28-year old jinx, built a Government House Chapel which serves as a symbol of unity.
It is therefore, hope-rekindling and reassuring that at a critical time as this, Kogi State is blessed with a leader in the person of Alhaji Yahaya Bello who has a sufficient dose of morality and a driving passion to redress fatal fundamental errors of the past. With the pragmatic steps taken so far, the Governor has proved beyond all reasonable doubt that when honest, sincere, effective, competent, bold and God-fearing leaders ascend the mantle of leadership the sky will be the limit for the people’s growth and opportunities.
The last 7 years have marked a New Direction for Kogi State. This turnaround ushered substantial improvements in governance which directly impacted the State’s Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) as against what the State experienced in the recent past.
The effort of the New Direction Administration steered the State towards becoming more robust and economically viable. This has made the State safe and secure for investments, woken up the Public Service system, improved Health care services, advanced Education, and increased Infrastructural output for the benefits of the State.
The New Direction promises were coalesced into policy Blueprint and its implementation framework, with strategic outcomes of Social Development, Economic Development and Institutional Strengthening among other results were accomplished.
To achieve the strategic goal of the New Direction Blueprint, His Excellency, Governor Yahaya Bello, introduced the Super Political Action Committee (Super PAC) to enable the Ministry, Department and Agencies (MDAs) act coherently in a collaborative manner ensuring balance of interest and objectives for the accelerated development of Kogi State.
The Super PAC commissioned and supervised by the New Direction executive team strategically implemented and monitored each thematic areas, working for the resultant Policy Thrust and impact on the multi-dimensional poverty index. The Super Political Action Committee was also instituted to serve as an essential sustainability enabler of our developmental effort across the sectors.
The New Direction Administration has enjoyed smooth running like a well-oiled engine. This harmony and coordination of activities has stimulated the accelerated development of the State.
CIVIL SERVICE REFORMATION
Bureaucratic quality in terms of the level of corruption, varies widely across the state. Relative to the speed with which the State Civil Service Act can be implemented, it is generally slow to evolve.
The general notion about the Civil Service in Nigeria is that it is wasteful, inefficient, lazy, inflexible, unthinking, evasive, unresponsive and heartless. The litany of criticism concerning the civil service grows by the day.
The New Direction Administration under the leadership of Governor Yahaya Bello, has increased the capacity and legitimacy of the State in part via Civil Service Reform. Given the central role played by the civil service in the State’s political system, attempts to improve governance have appropriately focused on reform of the civil service. Good governance requires a strong public service that is accountable to the political executive, operates within the ambit of the law, open and transparent, and encourages the participation of everyone.
An efficient and effective civil service is a critical for high capacity and legitimate government, which “good governance” seeks to achieve. The New Direction Administration bid to perk up good governance in Kogi State has increased accountability, transparency, participation, efficiency and effectiveness of civil servants, making the bureaucracy more meritocratic.
Kogi State has an estimated population of over Four million people with workers and pensioners of around Sixty thousand (both State and Local Governments). The Civil Service Reform under the leadership of Governor Bello has provided critical infrastructure such as Pipe-borne water, Good Healthcare delivery system, Feeders and Access roads, Housing, Quality Education among others.
Kogi State Government has reversed the ugly trend of the State Civil Service to a more entrepreneurial and income dependent state through sincere civil service reform and creation of conducive market environment. Today, the New Direction Administration led by Governor Yahaya Bello has minimized wastage, cut cost, and has ensured a productive civil service system.
Effective representation needs to be given credit where it is due. Governor Yahaya Bello’s effort deserves commendation and support from all Kogites who mean well for the State.
PURSE TO PROFIT
Public spending efficiency is a main requisite for economic performance and it is defined as the ability of the government of a state to maximize its economic activities and minimize their expenditures.
With increased pressures on public balances, arising from demographic trends e.g. higher spending on life-long learning, and globalisation, it is even more important that public resources are used in the most efficient and effective ways. Minimising wastage makes a lot more resources available for ventures and projects that are beneficial to the citizens of a State.
Complementing the gesture of the Federal Government through the health care provision funds, his Excellency, Governor Yahaya Bello created Bello Care (BC). Under BC, 200million naira was released to capture 10,500 vulnerable people across the State. This altruistic action provided access to minimum basic medical care for the poor and less privileged indigenes of Kogi state irrespective of their social background.
The New Direction Administration has left no stone unturned over healthcare – expenditure and delivery wise. The Bello Health Care Initiative, renovation of Primary Health Care Centres, the Reference Hospitals among other achievements, are all testament to how much importance the Administration places on healthcare.
His Excellency, Governor Yahaya Bello, prioritised the effective allocation of scarce resources to critical programmes and projects to enhance quality and affordability of education by citizens at all levels for better manpower that translates to economic transformation. The GYB Model Science Schools attest to this.
Public sector performance can be affected by various factors, like institutional and structural elements or other features. These factors can be beyond the control of public authorities. Undauntedly, the New Direction Administration has made major progress in plugging the holes in the sector by carrying out Staff screening and verification exercise.
This exercise removed over 18,000 unintended beneficiaries from the State Civil Service Payroll. With this result, the Administration focuses its resources on the welfare of genuine workers.
Evidently, the New Direction Administration under the leadership of the visionary Governor Yahaya Bello, has remained committed to probity and accountability in the utilization of the State’s scarce resources. This has made it possible to stretch a lean purse to accommodate massive outputs; putting the welfare of Kogi citizens first and translating expenditure into visibly beneficial outcomes across sectors.
The New Direction Administration has shown the impact morals have on leadership and how it has translated to coordination and synergy of activities, increasing quality of government and yielding more with less. Indeed, the Bello-led Administration is worthy of study and emulation.
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