‘We Are Working For Now And Future’
IT is no news that revenue accruing to state governments has been on the decline, forcing economic experts to conclude that many of them are not viable or have failed or heading for failure, unless they begin to look inwardly to augment allocation from the federation account through projects that are revenue-generating.
Kogi State, under Governor Idris Wada, aptly fits the bill of states that appear to be ahead of time in this new thinking, with its intense, massive drive towards initiating and executing projects intended to ensure the future growth of the state with less dependencies.
It is not surprising, therefore, that he emerged winner of this year’s edition of the prestigious Hall of Grace Magazine’s ‘Governor of the year’ award.
The magazine’s Editor-in-Chief, Rupert Ojenuwa, explaining the choice of Wada at the event held in Lagos last weekend, was based on the fact that the governor has done so much at a time the N3.5bn monthly allocation from the federation account to Kogi was peanut, compared to what some other states earned.
More so when workers salary alone is in the neighbourhood of N3billion monthly and yet Kogi is among the few states not owing its workers.
Ojenuwa said: “In the midst of verifiable, concrete achievements, in the midst of paucity of fund, Wada appears to have one desire and that is that Kogi must be transformed into an ultra-modern state.
Wada’s point of call when he assumed leadership in Kogi was by completing projects embarked upon by his predecessors, a practice that is alien to many Nigerian political office holders.
Undeterred by inadequate funding from the federation account and critics whose sole agenda is to discredit him, he went on to undertake development of infrastructure and complementary health care delivery. “His firm belief in agriculture as a potential driver of the economy has led him to fully support agriculture in Kogi State.”
Indeed, the governor is undertaking several projects, including the Kogi House project at the Abuja Central Business District, the remodelling of Kogi Hotels, the construction of the mega motor park at Felele in Lokoja and the Institute of Vocational Training and Advanced Technology, which has been completed, are notable, verifiable examples of this vision.
The essence and benefits of these projects came to the fore two weeks ago, when Wada, on a routine inspection of some going projects, visited some of the sites.
The governor explained that the essence of routine project inspections, which is the hallmark of the administration since inception over three years ago, is not only to ensure that the projects are executed to specifications, but also delivered on schedule. He enthused that the projects, when completed, would rewrite the history of the state.
Three weeks ago, the governor inaugurated the Institute for Technical and Vocational Training in Lokoja the state capital, as well as the Nigeria-Korea Friendship Institute of Vocational Training and Advancement Technology, which is a joint project by the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) and the state government, is regarded as a huge boost to technical education in Nigeria.
Wada disclosed that students of Kogi origin, sponsored by the government, have undergone training in Korea Republic and are well equipped to handle the equipment in the technological centre, which he described as “world class.” He stated: “Our students who went to Korea for training are very knowledgeable.
They were impressive the way they explained the workings of the various machines and equipment we have here. “I am highly optimistic that all those who will graduate from this Institute will become useful candidates of and will impact positively on Kogi, Nigeria and themselves, because many of them will go out and set up their own businesses.”
The governor said the recent economic recession has shown that the task of governance in the present times calls for ingenuity on the part of policy makers and resource managers.
According to him, the mega terminal, whose work has reached 75 per cent completion, is meant to generate revenue, stressing that the facility would provide quality services to road transport workers, vehicle operators and travellers alike.
The motor park at Felele, along Abuja-Lokoja highway, was awarded at the cost of N1.2 billion and would on completion meet the needs of the state, in view of its gateway status, with 23 states that pass through the state on a daily basis. Facilities available at the park include a clinic, automobile workshop, eatery, a bank, Police post, offices and shops.
It is designed to help decongest the highway of vehicles that cluster the road and cause obstruction to free flow of traffic.
Representative of the contractors, Planet Project Limited, described the terminal as the first of its kind in Nigeria, focusing on revenue generation while also placing the people at the heart of the project.
He explained that by the time the terminal becomes operational, an estimated 50,000 people from across the country would use the facilities. “It is not a white elephant project; it is a gigantic project.
The Abuja-Lokoja road is used by everyone and the mega terminal will impact Kogi people and Nigerians,” he added.
The governor was conducted round the parking lots of the bus section expected to accommodate about 250 buses, public convenience, drivers lounge and 17 buildings designed to host various business activities.