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Saturday, January 27, 2018

SECOND YEAR ANNIVERSARY OF GOVERNOR YAHAYA BELLO'S GOVERNMENT: FIRST YEAR WAS ALMOST SCUTTLED WITH LITIGATIONS- Prince Onyekehi

Let us not forget so soon about the circumstances and natural antecedents that brought Governor Yahaya Bello into power. The death of Late Prince Abubakar Audu of blessed memory created a vacuum in the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

This trend in the political space of the state and nigeria as a nation has created a long legal battle even before the inauguration of Governor Yahaya Bello.

The development sparks off a major legal debates across the legal spectrum and many senior advocates of Nigeria and other legal practitioners in the country were attempting to proffer permanent solution to its interpretations which eventually favours Governor Yahaya Bello to serve as the governorship candidate of All Progressives Congress (APC)

Also, we should not forget that after Governor Bello assumed office as the fourth civilian and democratically elected Governor of Kogi state on January 27th 2016, Bello was confronted with eighteen (18) court litigations by various political parties and individuals that challenged the legitimacy of his victory.

On June 6, 2016, the cases brought against Bello were dismissed and the tribunal’s chairperson, Justice Halima Mohammed,  upheld Bello’s election as a validly elected Governor of the state. The judgement did not go down well with James Faleke and others, they headed for the Appellate Court. On Thursday, August 6, 2016, the Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja again threw out the appeal on the ground  that it lacks merit. Again, Bello’s election upheld!

The final judgment was delivered by the Apex Court on 20th September, 2016, where all the filed applications of appeals by James Faleke, Capt Idris Ichala Wada, Labour Party and others were all dismissed for lacking merits and thereby affirmed the decisions of lower courts.

In addition, governance has assumed a different drift since Governor Yahaya Bello took over the mantle of leadership in the state. The ardent critics of the government  believed that Bello campaigned to drain the Lugard House swamp. It appears as though he is drowning in the swamp.

In fact, their criticism and derogatory submission on Bello's led government was contingent on the daunting challenges that confronted his government immediately he assumed office in January 27th 2016.

For almost nine months, the political class in Kogi State has dragged Governor Yahaya Bello to Election Petition Tribunal and Supreme Court with eighteenth court cases, threatening to replace him with unqualified candidates.

It defies logic how government can meet up with its constitutional obligations having spent or wasted several months to battling with a myriad of court litigation. Asides, partisanship and brinkmanship got in the way.

The detractors and critics of the government who are within the folds of the ruling and opposition parties are chiefly employing the instruments of media hype and propaganda to deliberately pull down the government.

If they defeated Bello and his government, a wide range of government programmes are put on hold, creating hardship and frustration for hundreds of thousands in the state. But he surmounted those daunting challenges and was declared as a validly elected governor of the state by the Apex Court, in September 20th, 2016.

Consequently, the prolonged court litigation turned into political fortunes and good governance pervades the entire state, resulting from Bello's quest and determination to re-positioning the state for economic growth and prosperity.

In fact, Governor Yahaya Bello has proven himself that he actually campaigned to drain the Lugard House swap. Asserting that it is not a mere political slogan to be forgotten later. He began to revolutionising the state using his New Direction blueprint to attract massive infrastructural development to the state.

In addition, it is worth taking stock why Bello is working in Kogi state. For the first time in the political space of the state, Bello has broken the jinx of political Godfatherism and politicians who benefitted from the old order are relegated to where they belong.

Within the last two years of Bello's government, his numerous achievements resonated in his fanatical devotion to stem the tide of tribalism and clannish sentiments that had held the state on the retrogressive path since the creation of Kogi state. He has proved himself beyond skepticism that he is not an ethnic jingoist.

This further demonstrates that Bello is assiduously working to fix the state using his couched democratic phraseology "Equity and Fairness" to equitably distributes political appointments across ethnic lines, and also developmental projects are equally shared across the three senatorial districts of the state.

In the context of a discussion of massive reforms that took place under Bello's government, he is perceived by many as a man who obeys his conscience to fixing the state. In fact, Bello undertook a taxing and onerous responsibility of governance by expunging  many obstacles threatening the progress of the state.

In the furtherance of the foregoing, Governor Yahaya Bello subscribed to James Freeman Clarke's dictum which states that "a politician thinks of the next election, statesman thinks of the next generation". Governor Bello thinks as a statesman to carry out massive reforms in the civil service structure of the state.

Because he believes that the next generation are going to suffer from the ruthless pillaging of our collective resources by some disgruntled elements who are hellbent to sink the state into colossus domestic debts for their selfish gains.

This is because Bello considers civil service re-organisation and restructuring as an engine of good governance and financial probity that can bring about the desired change in the state. As a bravest individual, he obeys his conscience and took a bold decision of clearing the rots perpetrated by the previous regimes.

To entrench good governance at all levels, it requires a painstaking efforts of the government and the governed. Government must be focused to fulfilling its constitutional obligations to the citizens, in line with the provisions of the law.

Citizens must be ready to obey the rules and regulations as enacted by the state, to ensure a secured society free from insecurity, despair, poverty and hopelessness. For there must be an agreeable combination of the fundamental components that constitute a state.

Congruously, the government and the governed must be able to exist as a harmonious entity for the overall development of the state. It is in such a context that government can deliver on its mandate by appraising its lined up policies and programmes for the ultimate good of the citizens.

In spite of the daunting challenges, Governor Yahaya Bello has performed exceptionally well in the following critical areas of human and structural development, resulting from the critical evaluation of development index of the state.

1. Improvement on security architecture which significantly boosted morale of security agents to rout out the criminal syndicates from the state.

2. Reconstruction and rehabilitation of the existing state roads across the state.

3. Installation of street lights across the major towns in the state.

4. Building of standard revenue house with the state of the art facilities to improve on the revenue generation of the state.

4. Employment of graduates, technicians and Youth as vigilantes into ministries, departments and agencies of government, spreading across the three districts of the state.

5. Construction of utra-modern geographic information centre for high profile data collection and analysis.

6. On going completion and equipping of diagnostic centre in the state special specialist hospital with the state of the art facilities to ensure proper diagnosis of patients.

7. Youth and Women  Empowerment through Collaborative join efforts of the state and federal government, etcetera.

Other critical areas are accurately captured in the New Direction blueprint of the present administration of Governor Yahaya Bello. All these development index indicates the positive direction of the present government in the state. So, citizens must be supportive of the government to ensure that government can improve on its developmental strides in the subsequent years.

Abdulkareem Onyekehi Suleiman is the Special Adviser to the Governor of Kogi State on Job Creation and SMEs Development

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