2019 DEMOCRACY AND GOVERNANCE ASSESSMENT REPORT ON KOGI STATE BY THE NIGERIAN GUILD OF INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALISTS
The Nigerian Guild of Investigative Journalists, NGIJ is an association of journalists driven by the thirst for professionalism and agenda setting role of the media to make the government accountable to the governed.
The Guild is registered under the relevant laws of the Corporate Affairs Commission of the Federal Republic of Nigeria – CAC/IT/N0 106012
The objectives of the Guild include promoting excellence in the media profession and stimulation the culture of investigation and deep research in the business of journalism.
A major fall out of these objectives is the media tour of states to assess the development process and set agenda for the present and the future. This we believe will help the democratic process and the political choice of the people.
The gubernatorial election in Kogi State will come up on November 16th, 2019. The Guild therefore took note of this and went to assess the development process in the state in the last four years.
We also administered a Governance Assessment Questionnaire (GAQ) to a sample population of 10,000 respondents across the three senatorial districts of the state.
The responses were diverse and very instructive as it revealed the minds of the people on the stewardship of the present occupant of Lord Lugard House, Lokoja, Governor Yahaha Adoze Bello.
Therefore, this presentation is both a document and a process. As a document, it sets out a clear Framework for the achievement, priorities and major policy thrusts for the state.
Kogi is a state in the central region (Middle-Belt) of Nigeria. It is popularly called the Confluence State because of the confluence of River Niger and River Benue at its capital, Lokoja, which is the first administrative capital of modern-day Nigeria.
The state was created in 1991 from parts of Kwara State and Benue State. The state as presently constituted, comprises the people of the Kabba Province of Northern Nigeria.
It was, therefore, the quest for rapid socio-economic development of the area that informed the decision of the Ibrahim Babangida led military government in 1991 to create along with eight others, a State out of both Kwara and Benue bringing together families who had been separated by the 1976 states creation exercise into a happy reunion.
Kogi State is made up of the Igala, Kabba, Ebira and Kogi Division of the former Kabba Province. It is the most centrally located State in the country and shares boundaries with the Plateau, Niger and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), to the North, Benue and the Anambra States to the East and on the West, it is bordered by Ondo, Kwara, Edo and Enugu States.
It is in short, the Gateway State with very rich cultural values, great natural endowments and infinite stretches of arable land.
There are three main ethnic groups and languages in Kogi: Igala, Ebira, and Okun (a Yoruba Group) with other such as Bassa-Nge, a people of Nupe extraction in Lokoja and Bassa Local Government Area, Bassa-Komo of Bassa Local Government Area, Gwari, Kakanda, Oworo people (A Yoruba Group), Ogori, Magongo, Idoma and the pure NUPE people of Eggan community under Lokoja Local Government.
The 2006 population census estimate puts Kogi at 3,314,043
PRESENT STATE OF STATE
1. AGRICULTURE AND RESOURCES
Agriculture is the mainstay of the economy. There are many Farm produce from the state notably coffee, cocoa, palm oil, cashews, groundnuts, maize, cassava, yam, rice and melon. Total land Area is 29,833 km² with a density of 149.9/km²
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,
The state is home to the largest iron and steel industry in Nigeria known as Ajaokuta Steel Company Limited and one of the largest cement factories in Africa, the Obajana Cement Factory.
Kogi state is home to the Federal University (Lokoja), Kogi State University Anyigba, Federal Polytechnic Idah, Kogi State Polytechnic (Lokoja), Federal College of Education (Okene), College of Education (Ankpa), College of Agriculture Kabba, Kogi state College of Education, Technical (Kabba) and the Private Salem University, Lokoja.
There are a College of Nursing and Midwifery in Anyigba and Obangede, School of Health Technology in Idah and ECWA School of Nursing in Egbe.
THE ‘MARSHALL PLAN’
On his swearing-in on May 29th, 2015, Governor Bello stood before the people of Kogi state and declared what he described as his Marshall Plan to turn the state around.
According to him, “this Blueprint will rank as a sort of Marshall Plan for rebuilding Kogi State on every index of Development.
“Under this Plan, Education and Health Infrastructure, State of the Art Security Coverage, Roads, Rural Water Schemes, Farm and Agricultural Communes, heavy Investments in Solid Minerals, Artisanal Mining Collectives, repositioning of Kogi State as a preferred tourist destination, etc. are projected to play lead, open overlapping, roles.
“We will run this Blueprint along with Civil Service reforms to change the orientation of our workers and improve their productivity. To show that we are ready to work and not just talking, the Blueprint contains ‘Action Plans’ for developing each sector. We expect that we will see begin to see increase in our Internally Generated Revenue.
“For ease of monitoring by Kogi People my Team and I have distributed our Projects into the 100-Day Accomplishments, the First Year Results, the Halfway Marks and the Final Milestones. When our full Blueprint is published, anyone can predict where we will be, developmentally, in 100 days, and after each year of our Administration.
“Security is a huge concern across Kogi State as we step into Oﬀice – in particular the dastardly and twin scourges of armed robbery and kidnapping. I therefore acknowledge with pleasure the Commissioner of Police and Heads of every Security Agency in Kogi State.
“Gentlemen, I shall be meeting with you soon to fashion out modalities to rid Kogi State of Insecurity. Please have forceful and actionable proposals for me when we meet. I promise you every support that this Administration can give.
“Nothing engenders skepticism, even cynicism, in the citizen than lacklustre leadership of the sort that we have experienced in the Conﬂuence State. I am aware that with some notable exceptions successive Administrations have posted largely unimpressive performances. The cumulative eﬀect is that the average Kogi Person has developed an acute distrust of Government.”
Four years after, and specifically on Saturday 16th November, 2019, Governor Bello will receive his assessment report card from his “employers”, the people of Kogi state.
GOVERNANCE ASSESSMENT REPORTS
At the beginning of his administration, Governor Bello promised a ‘new direction’ which was hinged on: Health, Education, Job creation, Infrastructure, Public sector and Pension reforms.
THEREFORE, THE NIGERIAN GUILD OF INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALISTS- NGIJ WAS IN THE STATE TO VERIFY THESE AND MANY MORE.
Agriculture is one of the sectors where the current leadership in Kogi State performed creditably well. Political actors and the major stakeholders all agree that the government has done much in the last three and a half years in the area of agriculture.
GREEN HOUSE FARM
For instance, the Green House Farm located at Osara in Adaze Local Government Area in the Kogi Central Senatorial District is a four hundred million naira project aimed at alleviating poverty among the residents of the state and to empower the youths and women.
The Commissioner of Agriculture in the state, Engineer Kehinde Oloruntoba explains that the greenhouse farm is a modern way of cultivating vegetables and fruits. According to him, the state government is committed to ensuring the state becomes a vegetable hub for the nation as the pilot model was successful.
Although the NGIJ team saw only one greenhouse farm tent in the compound, the commissioner assured that nine others were in the offing stressing that the farming project will run for a whole year in harvesting.
“This has the capacity of churning out 1500 kg of tomatoes on weekly basis and we harvest almost every day. This is a pilot project but we want to have is 10 of this tents so that we can divide them into pepper, tomatoes, vegetables, cucumber and so on
“From the profitability analysis we did in less than 18 months we can recoup our investments,’ he stated.
However, some of the residents still harbour doubt that the project truly belongs to government. Others also pointed out that products from the green house were not sold in the state for local consumption rather they were taken to Abuja.
The commissioner for agriculture agreed that harvests from the green house were taken to Shoprite and other super markets in Abuja. He added that “it would be too expensive to sell the first produce for local consumption”.
OMI RICE MILL
Another agricultural project of the Bello administration is the Omi Rice Mill.
The billion naira project which is located in Ejiba, Yagba East Local government area of the state has the capacity of producing 50 tons of rice per day and also generating thousands of employments for the people of the state particularly the people of Kogi West where it is situated.
Oloruntoba explained that the present administration in the state began efforts at boosting local production in the year 2017 with the launch of Confluence Rice.
In his words; “We launched Confluence Rice in 2017. We planted rice at Omi Dam with the expectations that the rice mill would be ready before harvest time then to process it but that wasn’t possible because of so many instability in the system which was actually not our fault.
‘If you are conversant with project procurement, the financial instrument we used needed to be confirmed by the office of the Accountant General of the Federation, the Ministry of Finance and Debt Management Office.
“That took time. Again, when the equipment came from India to the port, it was a point when the port was congested and so clearing it also caused delay.
“When we harvested our rice, we took it to Offa in neighbouring Kwara State to mill and package. That was why we were able to launch our Confluence Rice in 2017. And ever since then, we have been planting rice.”
On the capacity of the Mill, Oloruntoba disclosed that the over N4billion rice milling plant has the capacity of producing 50 tons of rice per day and will generate thousands of employments for the people of the state, particularly the people of Kogi West where the project is situated.
Analysts explain that when put to maximum capacity, the plant can easily produce out 3,000 tons per month and 36,000 tons per year, which will translate to an equivalent of about 720, 000 of 50kg rice bags per year.
The 800 hectares of rice plantation that is meant to feed the mill, according to findings by NGIJ team, can produce 3,200tons of paddy rice annually which can be consumed by the plant within just a month.
NGIJ checks reveal that the farm is currently generating over 300 direct jobs, which comprises of farm staffs, hunters and equipment operators while over 5, 000 indirect jobs can be generated through the out-growers empowerment programme.
Further investigations reveal that just last year 150 local farmers were also empowered through the office of the wife of the state Governor.
Apart from producing quality rice of international standard, NGIJ team found out that other by-products and benefits will also be accrued from the Mill
The first is the rice bran. Since this is part of the products used in making fish feed there is plan to set up a mini fish feed processing plant for the community empowerment which will generate up to 100 direct and indirect jobs.
Again the husk is expected to be used as 100% fuel to power the 500 kWh biomass generation plant. This is expected to drastically reduce operation cost as there will be no need to buying fuel to power the plant.
For uninterrupted operation the plant has its own independent power generation plant which is powered through biomass gasification technology. The capacity of the plant is said to be 500 kWh and the rice milling plant capacity at every processing line (shift) is 200kwh.
This means there will be an excess power of 300kwh which will be used to power strategic locations in the host community.
Most of the residents of the area who spoke to members of NGIJ expressed joy over the siting of the Rice Mill stressing that it will go a long way to uplift the economy of Kogi West and the state at large.
One of them, Elder Ayo Friday, President of Isanlu Progressives Union noted that apart from creating jobs and wealth for teeming people of the area, the rice milling plant and the Omi Dam Rice project would go a long way in boosting the economy of the state.
A check at the Ministry of Agriculture in Lokoja also confirm that the government of the day has procured tractors, seeds and many other agricultural machinery for use of farmers.
Other projects visited by the NGIJ team include Kogi Cashew farm, Cassava Farm and Kogi Fish Pound in Ida, Adafiaba and Ajaokuta.
The state government also procured about 100 thousand hectare of land for 25 thousands youths who are interested in large scale farming. Available records show that over 150 thousand tons of fertilizers were also distributed to aids farming in the state.
There is no gainsaying the fact that accelerated infrastructural development is a vital component of economic growth and alleviation of poverty in any country. It is a known fact that infrastructure in itself enhances the efficiency of production, transportation and communication and also helps to provide economic incentives to public and private sector participants.
In Kogi State, our findings reveal that the present administration in the state is putting in place enduring infrastructural development in the areas of water works, roads, drainage, rural electrification, recreation centers etc
2.1 WATER WORKS
‘Water is life’, this seems to resonate with the current administration in Kogi state.. The current leadership in the state rehabilitates dredges and expands the Okene water works.
The Kogi State commissioner for works, Engineer Abubakar Sidiq who took members of NGIJ team on a tour of the ongoing projects stressed the commitment of the Governor to successfully tackle the menace of water shortage in the state, especially in the central senatorial district of the state.
He assured that when completed the water works would provide five hundred thousand litres of water daily to households in Okene and its environs.
The expansion, dredging and reticulation project also includes a recreational park which has swimming pools for adult and children, sports arena and lots more fun spot for the whole family.
Aside that, the NGIJ team visited some boreholes constructed and maintains by the state government in many remote areas of the state. Residents of the state affirm that the borehole were being powered by standby generator procured and fuel by the state government.
A cross section of residents of the area who spoke to members of NGIJ pointed out that lack of water is a serious concern for residents.
In the words of Mr. Ochili Yusuf, an Okada rider, “Sourcing for potable water has recently turned into a full time job for my two wives and children as the scout for water both in the morning and evening has remained a tough task but if Yahaya Bello complete the Okene water project as promised it will really help me and my family.”
For Mrs. Victoria Usman, a school teacher, the water works will mean a lot of man hour saved. According to her, “If this water works is all he (the Governor) will do for us then I beg him to do it very well and let us enjoy potable water in Okenne. I will benefit from the project because I won’t need to start looking for water very early in the morning with my children before going to work.”
2.2 ROADS NETWORK
Members of NGIJ team visited a number of road projects across the three senatorial districts of the state, some had been completed while others were at different stages of completion.
According to information gathered by the NGIJ team, the administration of Yahaya Bello had earlier procured modern technology in road construction, to ease the work of the state government in delivering quality road at lower cost to the people.
The team however did not see any of the equipment.
In the Eastern flank of the state, the Administration of Governor Yahaya Bello is linking the Igala nation together by ensuring that their roads are motorable.
Speaking with the NGIJ team in his palace, the Attah Igala and Chairman, Council of Kogi State Traditional Rulers, His Royal Majesty, Dr. Michael Idakwo Ameh Oboni II explained that, “Governor Yahaya Bello has done well for the Igalas. He is constructing Idah-Anyigba road to make the road that have not received government attention for many years to be motorable.
It was also gathered that the state government has also released counterpart fund of Idah-Agenebode Bridge amounting to $2million that will serve as gateway for South East and North West states from Idah.
Projects visited in the Eastern senatorial district of the state include 54km Ankpa-Ajekumolo road, the completed Ankpa Township roads, rehabilitation of 32km Ibana Junction/Ikeje/Ogugu/Ette road in Olamaboro LG, Kogi state and Anyigba-Idah road.
2.3 RURAL ELECTRIFICATION
No doubt, electricity is pivotal to industrial development. In order to galvanise the economy of the state, Yahaya Bello-led administration has intervened to deliver electrification projects to many rural communities in the state.
One of such project visited by the team is the electrification project of Abejukolo in Omala Local Government Area. The people were grateful that it was a Governor from Kogi central that has decided to give them electricity
Not only the electricity cables and poles were new but the transformers as well as the date labeled on the poles affirm that the project were carried out by the regime of Yahaya Bello.
The Nigerian Guild of Investigative Journalists (NGIJ) during the impact assessment of Governor Yahaya Bello’s administration in Kogi State paid special attention to security issues not only because of the fact that security is a prime necessity of human need but due to the media reports of insecurity in the state.
However, the situation during the trip was different from horrible situation painted about the state. Our team during the week long assessment exercise didn’t hear, see or have to verify any case of recent robbery, kidnapping and other criminal activities while visiting the 21 local government areas.
For records, NGIJ apart from administering 10,000 questionnaires to gauge opinion of Kogites about impact or otherwise of Governor Yahaya Bello led administration, we also interacted with key stakeholders including Police, Nigerian Civil and Security Defence Corps and other security agencies, Organized Labour, Traditional rulers, Community leaders, Transport Unions among others to get first-hand information on security and safety in Kogi state.
Respondents to our questionnaire rated incumbent administration high in security stating that crime rate has reduced drastically in the last three years. Likewise, the Police and other security agencies corroborated our respondents’ position by commending Governor Yahaya Bello for investing heavily to secure lives and properties of Kogi residents.
While briefing NGIJ Team, the Police Commissioner in-charge of Kogi Command, Hakeem Busari stated that Kogi being one of the most insecure and dreaded states with high rate of robbery, kidnapping, banditry and escalation of terrorism activities in the past, has become second safest state in Nigeria according to National Bureau of Statistics report.
The Kogi Police Commissioner who spoke through the State Police Public Relation Officer, DSP Williams Ovye-Aya rated the governor Yahaya Bello’s high on issues of security, therefore commended the state governor for providing patrol vans and other logistics for all security operatives in the state.
DSP Aya said Kogi state is relatively peaceful when compared to what it used to be before the incumbent administration came on board. He stated that although there is no perfect security in any part of the works but there is always room for improvement.
Furthermore, the Chairman of Kogi State Traditional Council and Attach Igala, His Royal Majesty Dr. Michael Idakwo Ameh Oboni noted Governor Yahaya Bello chased out Kidnappers from Kogi, especially in the eastern part of the state which used to be their den before January 2016.
Also, Kogi state chairman of United Labour Congress (ULC) Comrade Simeon Opaoluwa commended the All Progressive Congress (APC) in the state for what he termed, an impressive performance in security, road construction and others.
He however called on Governor Bello to sustain his administration’s gains in area of security so as to avoid the return of thuggery, hooliganism, kidnapping among others.
According to a civil servant: ”When Governor Yahaya Bello came on board, he reformed the vigilante groups by given them maximum training by soldiers, operation vehicles and ammunition plus good and regularly salary. I scored him on security but he is punishing the civil servants by owing us salary.’’
Some other security efforts include procurement of 200 patrol vehicles for security agencies, purchased 500 motorcycles for thousands of Vigilante Service men employed by his administration to allow security agent’s access to the hinterlands where most of the heinous crimes are committed.
The Vigilante service men and women use the motorbikes to access difficult terrains where criminals reigned as terror lords since those locations are inaccessible.
The state government also in bid to curb Highway crimes has cleared 40 metres on both sides of highways to ensure criminals have no hiding place, provided sophisticated security equipment for security agents and constructed Army Forward Operation bases at different places across the state to enhance security of lives and properties.
In related development, the state as part of holistic approach to avert Farmers/Herdsmen Clashes created a dialogue and cooperation platform for free flow of communication among the Government and the herdsmen and the Communities.
Other actions of Governor Yahaya Bello that enhanced peace and security of the Confluence state are Provision of Free Toll Lines to encourage citizens in giving information about criminal activities to security agencies, support training of security operatives to equip them with modern knowledge of crime control and create healthy relationship with heads of security agencies in the state.
This has boosted the morale of the security agents to defend the state.
Data collated from Police records indicate the daunting statistics of an average of 25 kidnap cases per month prior to incumbent administration has reduced to an average of 2.
In many months, there were no cases of kidnap at all. The 92% crash in cases of kidnap and robbery was achieved through the right policies. The launch of Operation Total Freedom, which has driven fear into the criminals, heavy investment in communication gadgets and training of security operatives, the Security Whistle Blower Policy which exposed the criminals, the Vigilante Service Operation and the domestication of the Criminal Justice Code were all instrumental to the excellent security of lives and property in the state.
4. REVENUE GENERATION
Available records across all secretariats in the state reveal that before the advent of the Yahaya Bello administration in the State the Internal Revenue Service operated from a rented apartment.
However, on assumption of office one of the first projects he embarked upon was the building and completion of a befitting edifice for the agency termed Revenue House which was built within a year.
Not only that, introduction of prudency in the government finances, auditing of the state work force to get rid of ghost workers and blockage of financial leakages are some of the impactful policies entrenched by the incumbent governor
5.0 HEALTH SECTOR
Provision of quality healthcare services is one of the key indicators to measure human capital development in the society. Therefore, the Nigerian Guild of Investigative Journalists (NGIJ) team while in Kogi State interacted with health practitioners, traditional rulers, patients, community leaders, residents and also visited some health facilities including General Hospitals and Primary Health Centres across the state to assess impact of Governor Yahaya Bello on health sector.
Majority of respondents to NGIJ questionnaire agreed that the incumbent administration has impacted on the sector positively. Other stakeholders such as doctors, nurses, health attendants, patients confirmed presence of medical personnel as well as drugs and other medical facilities.
Although, the Kogi state chapter of Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) refused to grant NGIJ team formal interview but some doctors who spoke on condition of anonymity stated Governor Bello administration has improved standard of health service delivery, adding that shortage of drugs and other facilities are no longer the challenge in health sector.
Others condemned the state government for inability to clear outstanding salaries as they hinted that about 50 Medical doctors have existed the state as a result of poor welfare package.
However, we gathered the state government is expanding some general hospitals like Isanlu General Hospital while construction of new wards complex, consultation rooms and modern reception area are ongoing.
NGIJ also sighted new borehole executed by Governor Yahaya Bello administration to ensure supply of potable water to the hospital. Our team also saw rooms full of drugs in some of the hospital visited in Kogi West and Central senatorial district.
Besides, over 200 Primary health centres have been given facelift by the new administration in order to bring quality healthcare services closer to Kogites at the grassroots.
While speaking with our team, Kogi State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Saka Haruna Audu said the state has employed 2400 Health personnel and upgraded public Hospitals across the three Senatorial District with state of the art medical equipment, essential Drugs and premium quality Diagnostic Apparatus.
Audu added that the government has ensured distribution of medical equipment and free essential drugs/ pharmaceuticals to 332 primary healthcare centres across the state.
He noted that the introduction of maternal Newborn and Child Health care programme and Healthcare Plus led to reduction of maternal mortality rate to 145 per 100,000 birth from 685 per 100,000 birth the government met in 2016. Stressing that mother’s death on delivery has been reduced to around 30 from 72 per 10,000 delivery.
Other programmes being implemented by current administration include construction of Advanced medical Diagnostic and Imaging Center, Lokoja. (CAMDIC)almost at completion stage, Construction of Hostel Blocks, Kogi State College of Nursing and midwifery, Obangede, Construction of State Public Health Emergency Operation Center (KSPHEOC), Construction of State Nutrition House, Free medical outreach under Bello Health Intervention Initiative, Professional Training of Health Care Officials across the State and free medical and surgical treatment of over fifty thousand patients.
We gathered Kogi state governor recently signed into law Kogi State Health Insurance Agency bill and also amendment of the bill establishing the Kogi State Primary Health Care Development Agency. The two bills according to investigations would health the state access $3million grant from World Health Organization to improve health sector.
Findings from federal ministry of health source indicated that Kogi state was rated one of the eight best states and second in North Central for effective implementation of World Bank/Federal Government Saving One Million Lives Project in 2017/2018.
Furthermore, Governor Yahaya Bello government has reduced malaria through distribution of 2.4million mosquito nets on ratio of one per family of two and intensified sensitization to prevent it.
Kogi state now offers free and complete antenna care from conception to four weeks after delivery while surgical complications of pregnancy has reduced significantly. The new direction administration recently introduced electronic tracking system to curb diversion of drugs meant for public hospitals.
Likewise, over 400 indigents have benefited from Bello health intervention where the governor pays medical bills including surgery expense.
Similarly, the state has made tremendous progress in area of diseases control, especially deadly/communicable once such as Lasaa Fever.
Kogi state has established Lasaa Fever Isolation Center at Lokoja, thereby the first state to treat Lassa fever apart from federal government. Some Public health operation centre for reporting communicable diseases are in place across the state to ensure timely escalation of cases and usually address press conference every Thursday in partnership with WHO on Flood, Lassa fever, Malaria and other communicable diseases. Yellow fever vaccination centre has been established in Kogi in partnership with FG.
Consequently, the state government is attracting some donor agencies back to the state in order to complement Governor Yahaya Bello’s efforts to provide affordable and quality healthcare for Kogites.
According to Health Commissioner, We are building trust and confidence through transparency and accountability in management of grants. NGIJ learnt WHO, UNICEF, SWIPA and other development partners will resume operation in Kogi soonest.
Not a few residents also salute the governor for being youth-friendly. This they say, is evidenced in the appointment of young Kogites of between 20 and 30 years age bracket as commissioners and Special Assistants. To many stakeholders, this is very encouraging at a time like this in our nation when the clamour for ‘Not too Young to Run Campaign’ is spreading. A cab driver told our team that Governor Bello ‘’has indeed become the poster boy for the youth in Kogi state and beyond.”
Kogi is a multi-ethnic state with diverse tribes and religions. The governor has however been able to act as a statesman and harness these differences into strong weapon of consensus to strengthen the bond among the various ethnic groups.
Many residents see him as an apostle of peace and harmony and point to the fact that for the first time in the history of the state, a governor, a Muslim, built a Chapel in the Government House for worship by Christians. He is also the first to appoint a Chief of Staff and some other key staff from outside his tribe and immediate constituency.
6.0 SOCIAL WELFARE
Over the years, media reports about the plight of Kogi Civil Servants have been unpalatable. While some social media commentators still believe the state government withholds several months of salary, NGIJ discovers that genuine civil servants are being owned five months as at May, 2019.
Although, failure to pay up promptly still angers the state work force as majority of them laments lack of money. “This is a wicked government. I have never experience this before since my 18 years in the service of Kogi state government. Sometimes it is half salary, at times, none. I’m tired of Yahaya Bello style of governance” a middle aged civil servant lamented during our encounter with him in an eatery.
While the genuine civil servants who have passed the Screening/Verification exercise are lamenting over five months’ salary arrears those to have failed the Verification test were still talking of one year/two years’ salary arrears.
According to findings, the verification and screening exercise swept away ghost workers and unproductive elements in the Kogi state civil service. According to the reports of the Verification/Screening exercise, workers without required certificate, some with falsified and fake certificates and many other non-existing names under the pay roll of the state government were all screened out.
In the words of the Kogi state SUBERB Chairman, “Governor Bello was too lenient with the alleged culprit of the screening exercise. If I were the governor, I would have prosecuted and convicted some people defrauding the state government of over millions of naira monthly. And do you know what? These are the people peddling fake rumour that they’ve been owed 20 months of salary arrears”.
A particular case of one Mr. Joseph Tunde Ajayi of the Kogi State, a staff from the office of the accountant General who was posted to be in charge of salary in Kogi Ministry of Education was very amazing. Joseph Ajayi according to the report of the Screening/Verification exercise had been loading the ministry’s monthly pay roll with names of retired staff and inflating the pay roll figures with about 2.7 million naira monthly.
Also, Mrs. Usman Adishetu, a chief porter at the Kogi State University was working full time as an Adult Instructor on grade 03 at Dekina Local Government thereby earning two salaries from the state treasury.
The full report of the SCREENING/VERIFICATION exercise was made available to NGIJ team and the Guild discovers that most of these categories of staff who were allowed to disengage from the service without legal actions were always on social media counting the number of months since the stoppage of such corrupt practice.
However, many civil servants in the state condemned the government over insensitivity to workers’ welfare. Analysis from the questionnaire administered by NGIJ score Governor Yahaya Bello’s low, apparently below average on the welfare of the state work force.
ANALYSIS OF DATA GATHERED FROM THE GOVERNANCE ASSESSMENT QUESTIONNAIRE (GAQ)
The Guild administered 10,000 in all the 21 local government areas of Kogi state to gage people’s opinion about the impact of Governor Yahaya Bello’s administration on them. The questionnaire used for the opinion poll was divided into two parts with 10 closed ended questions giving respondents opportunity to pick any of five available answers;
1. Strongly agree
3. Strongly disagree
5. Don’t know.
The second part contained five open ended questions on policies, programmes and achievements of Yahaya Bello led administration in Kogi state.
After the collation of completed questionnaires, 9224 questionnaires representing 92.24 percent were returned while 7.76 was not submitted to our team for different reasons.
Therefore, 9224 respondents filled the opinion poll and their responses were used to assess the impact of Governor Yahaya Bello’s administration in Kogi state from January 2016 till date.
- The present administration in Kogi State has improved infrastructural development tremendously
|I Don’t Know||1529||16.6|
The chart above shows the view of respondents on improved infrastructure
Governor Yahaya Bello has tackled security challenges in the state
|I Don’t Know||16||0.2|
The chart above shows the view of respondents on improved security
The present administration in Kogi State has introduced policies to improve quality of education in the state
|I Don’t Know||1450||15.7|
The chart above shows the view of respondents on improved education
Healthcare Services Delivery has greatly improved under the present administration In Kogi State
|I Don’t Know||502||5.4|
The chart above shows the view of respondents on improved Healthcare
The All Progressives Congress (APC) Led government In Kogi State has been prudent in managing the financial resources of the state
|I Don’t Know||25||0.3|
The chart above shows the view of respondents on improved Financial Prudency
The present administration in Kogi State has been sensitive to welfare of civil servants in the state
|I Don’t Know||32||0.3|
The chart above shows the view of respondents on improved worker’s welfare
Would you consider job creation under Governor Yahaya Bello’s administration in Kogi State as been satisfactory?
|I Don’t Know||298||3.2|
The chart above shows the view of respondents on improved job creation
The All Progressives Congress (APC) led Government in Kogi State has performed creditably well in revamping agriculture in the State
|I Don’t Know||1233||13.4|
The chart above shows the view of respondents on improved agriculture
Students, Artisans, Physically Challenged and Senior Citizens in Kogi State have enjoyed quality Social Welfare
|I Don’t Know||3200||34.7|
The chart above shows the view of respondents on improved social welfare
Sports has enjoyed quality patronage under the present administration In Kogi State
|I Don’t Know||2827||30.6|
The chart above shows the view of respondents on improved sport
1. In what area (s) of infrastructure would you rate the current administration in Kogi state high?
Health, Road Construction, Electrification/Power, Transportation, Housing, others Women Affairs and Cultural heritage revamping
Majority of respondents rated Governor Yahaya Bello’s administration high in health sector as over 3000 people stated that healthcare services delivery has been improved.
The rural electrification/power got accolades from 2650 respondents followed by road construction with slightly over 2000 respondents.
However, transportation and Housing sectors were rated low as less than 1000 respondents picked the two ministries but Women and Youth Development as well as revamping Kogi cultural heritage, including lifting of ban on some cultural activities in Igalaland.
2. Mention five projects initiated and completed by the present administration in Kogi state
Although many of the respondents could not list five projects initiated and completed by Governor Yahaya Bello’s administration but the following projects featured frequently are Omi Rice Processing Mill, Installation of solar powered streetlights in Lokoja, Ohioniyi Palace road, Abejukolo electrification project, Kogi Revenue House, Construction of new classrooms in over 270 schools, ICT centre insecondary schools, Umomi Ugwolawo road among others.
Some people however listed ongoing projects such as Confluence World Diagnosis Centre and Imaging Centre, Ankpa township road, Anyigba- Idah highway road, Ibana Junction/Ette/Ogugu road and Remodeling of Kogi Hotels, Lokoja as achievements of current administration in Kogi state.
3. Mention three educational policies of the present administration in Kogi state
Although most of the respondents only mention one or two educational policy (ies) introduced by
Governor Yahaya Bello’s administration but Building of ICT centre in secondary schools, training/retraining of teachers and construction/renovation of classrooms as strategy to improve standard of education sector in Kogi state.
4. In your opinion what sector would you score the present administration in Kogi state highest
Majority of respondents rated APC led administration in Kogi state high in security, agriculture, health, infrastructural development and economy development.
While giving reasons for rating the Governor Yahaya Bello’s administration in those areas, many respondents opine that Omi Rice Processing Mill, Osara Cassava Farm Estate and establishment of Kogi Revenue Services would soon have positive effect on the state economy.
5. In your opinion would you say the All progressives Congress (APC) led government in Kogi State deserves a 2nd term. Give reasons for your answer
58% of respondents agree that All Progressives Congress (APC) deserves a second term in Kogi state citing different reasons such as improved security and rural development, continuation of identified laudable programmes/policies of the incumbent state and likeness for President Muhammadu Buhari.
Others also believe that the APC could get the second term by clearing outstanding salary/pension backlog.
However, 35% of total respondents said APC does not deserve a second term due to Governor Yahaya Bello’s insensitivity to worker’s welfare while the remaining 7% were indifferent.
The overall findings of Nigerian Guild of Investigative Journalists assessment of Governor Yahaya Bello’s administration through inferences from the questionnaires revealed that APC government in Kogi state has tackled insecurity revamped agriculture sector, improved on healthcare services delivery, provide Infrastructure in schools and increased internally generated revenue of the state.
But the inability of the governor to pay outstanding workers salary resulted to bad press and downplaying of Yahaya Bello’s achievements in other sectors.
It was discovered that the administration has not communicated his policies effectively to the electorates.
Our findings also revealed that many Kogites have benefited from Governor Yahaya Bello projects such as water, rural electrification, good roads, and opportunities created in agriculture health sectors among others.