Wise Quote

"The neighbours we are competing with are several steps ahead of us, we must run while they walk and, we must stay awake while they sleep" (Youth Position paper, The Knell Tolls for Dark).

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Workers Verification Exercise: Kogi State Has An Open Shameful Secret

By Ismail M. Kabir

An interim report of the staff verification exercise recently conducted across Kogi State has sparked protest in many local government areas of states.

The report is said to have revealed tens of thousands of ghost and illegally employed workers that overbloated the wage bill of the state for the past years.

While violent reactions trail the recommendations of the screening exercise that advised the state government to weed out the numerous ghost workers, Governor urged genuine workers affected to forward their complains to the appropriate quarters for review.

On her part, the Special Adviser to the governor on electronic media,  Petra Akinti quoted a report by Premium Times that viewed the findings of the exercise as troubling.

"Kogi State has a shameful secret that is also an open one: it has one of the highest numbers of ghost workers and as the Kogi State Civil Service screening committee is winding down its exercise, the findings are quite troubling.

...Personally, I think it is wicked for genuine workers to continue to take wages in percentages simply because of the excesses of criminals populating the payrolls; ghost workers effectively crowd out legitimate workers, robbing them of their full entitlements and benefits."

http://opinion.premiumtimesng.com/2016/05/24/172972/

Sunday, May 15, 2016

N260m: Office Of Kogi State Governor Replies Premium Times


After Premium Times yesterday reported that the Governor of Kogi State, Yahaya Bello allegedly squandered over N260m ‘security votes’ days after assuming office, his office has replied the media outlet saying it is far from the truth. Here’s what they sent in.

The use of the word "squander", as far as I am concerned, is a clear abuse of the right to information. Every dime spent by the Governor can be accounted for. He has one of the lowest Security Fund in the nation which has even been underdrawn by his administration.
It is a public knowledge that Kogi State has been contending with serious security breach for the past ten years. As a result of the location of the state as gateway to many states of the federation, the state drifted into a criminal hotbed.

Also, years of gross maladministration and blinding embezzlement has left the youth bear, exposing them to all sort of criminal activities to survive. Kogi became a haven of robbers and kidnappers.

As a responsible government, the Yahaya Bello administration has taken security to the front burners by strengthening the security apparatus and architecture in order to make Kogi inhabitable for hoodlums and criminal elements.

Today, the security of the state has greatly improved and this has not come without a cost. Security vote is not usually a subject for public consumption and no cost can be higher than human lives. The Governor will continue to prioritize security because it is one of the main objectives of his election.

Let me also put on record that the Governor Yahaya Bello administration is contractually committed to fighting corruption and enthroning transparency in the polity. These are the terms of his social contract with the Kogi people.

If you have ever been to the Kogi State Government House in Lokoja, you will appreciate the rot of the architecture. It was not befitting of one of the most historic Government Houses in Nigeria. In tandem with the present administration's drive to turn the economy of the state to a private sector driven one, we need to start our charity at home. People must love to come to our Government House to transact businesses.

The Government House is currently undergoing massive renovation to make it habitable and mirror the image of the state as a firs-rated tourist destination.
Governor Yahaya Bello is an accomplished business mogul, who believes he assumed power by the grace of God. He has reiterated his determination, not only to block corrupt practices, but to also ensure corrupt officials of government are made to face the wrath of the law.

The award of contract to renovate the Government House was justifiable. Weeks after his inauguration, Governor Yahaya Bello was operating from his home because the Government House wasn't conducive. The award was to renovate Government House and not his personal house.

This administration has opened her account books to the people of the state. The Governor has constantly briefed the media on the income and expenditure of government. Massive constructions are ongoing in the state and the Governor is focused on ensuring transparent and active performance of this year's budget.

The antics of our opponents will be judged by the people of the state who are already witnessing the benefits of the New Direction Programs. The bulwark of the Yahaya Bello administration is transparency.

Kingsley Fanwo
Chief Press Secretary to the Governor

Friday, May 13, 2016

Ajaokuta steel company will be revived-Gov Bello

Published on May 12, 2016 by pmnews.

The Executive Governor of Kogi State, Alhaji Yahaya Bello, has assured the management team of the Ajaokuta Steel Company Limited and all the people of Kogi State that during his administration, the revival of the steel company would be concluded.

The governor said this while receiving the team, who visited him at his office in Government House, Lokoja. He said he was taking the issue of natural resources very seriously and would make concrete demands of President Muhammadu Buhari and the Federal Minister for Mineral Resources, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, as it concerns the steel complex.

“I will go to Mr. President with practical solutions to the problems,” Governor Bello said. “I want to let him know all that is involved, who started it, where it is now, what is required to complete it, who should complete it, how funds can be sourced to complete it. I want to tell him everything needed and I will follow up on the matter until that place is up and running.”

Governor Bello praised the management team for keeping the place up since they were put in office. He said he would visit the facility himself within a week for an on-the-spot assessment.

The leader of the management team and Sole Administrator of the steel company, Engr. Isah Joseph, said there are 43 different companies within the facility. He said some of the companies could be put to productive use within a few months and that the plant be brought on stream with $500m.

“40 of the companies are 100% completed and can be put into operation in a few months. The greatest obstacle, and that is why the Russians who built the place left in 1994, is that of external infrastructure. They got the place to 98% completion and they kept asking the federal government, ‘How are we going to bring in the raw materials?’ We are supposed to have a rail line from Ajaokuta connecting to Oturpko to Onne where the coking coal can be imported. All we need is political will to do it.”

The Sole Administrator praised the courage of the young governor for his decision to confront the enemies of the project and see that the economy of Nigeria ends its dependency on oil.

“We seize this opportunity to congratulate you on your first 100 days in office which has been filled with positive action. We are very proud of you,” he said. “Indeed, the recent call by the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar on the Northern Governors at the 50th Anniversary of the demise of the Late Premier of Northern Nigeria, Sir Ahmadu Bello, Sardauna of Sokoto to take up the challenge of ensuring that Ajaokuta Steel Plant is completed to the glory of the North and Nigeria in general is a greater challenge to your administration; being the host Governor of the project.

“Your Excellency, with the state of the oil and gas industry today, the nation is crying for diversification of our economy from its mono-product driven nature. This is where Ajaokuta Steel Plant comes handy.”

The Special Adviser to the Kogi State Governor on Energy and Mineral Resources, Hon. Otayite Akerejola, said the Ajaokuta Steel Company holds immense promise for the economy of the state in particular and the national in general.

“The annual revenue generation from the project when commissioned will substantially impact on the internally generated revenue of the state. Okaba and Ogboyega coy deposits will also find ready markets at Ajaokuta and elsewhere in the country. Also, the planned rail link between Jakura to Eganyi will open up the limestone dolomite and other mineral deposits of the central and western senatorial district to Ajaokuta and other markets. These new rail networks will link Kogi State to the coastal ports and International markets. The direct impact of these gargantuan investments on the socio-economic life of Kogi State can therefore only be imagined as upstream, downstream and spin-off industries will spring up in the entire state and even to over 400km radius from Ajaokuta. Thus from Idah to Ankpa to Anyingba to Adogo to Okene to Kabba to Egbe and from Ogori to Okene to Lokoja to Kotonkarfe and, indeed the entire state, will become one vast industrial estate. Unemployment, the bane of our youths and its attendant security connotation, will become a thing of the past in the state.”

My Administration Will Continue to Respect Other Arms of Government, Gov Bello Assures Kogi Judiciary


I  Yahaya Bello of Kogi State has promised to accord the state judiciary the true independence that the arm of government deserves.

I made the promise yesterday in Lokoja while receiving members of the State Judiciary Commission led by the State Chief Judge, Justice Nasir Ajanah, also tasked judges in the state to be professional in their dealings with people.

Accordingly, “the job that you do, the intricacies of which lie beyond the understanding of many a man, demand no less. On an occasion such as this, no two principles will ring louder than Separation of Powers and Independence of the Judiciary. I will settle that dispute very summarily right now: my administration will respect both principles to the letter.

“The Judiciary under my tenure will enjoy equity in the allocation of resources; will be autonomous in managing her finances and you will never find me trespassing into your official duties or capacities. Neither will I send or permit any person to do so on my behalf or the Government’s.

“Yesterday, 21 sets of Local Government Caretaker Committees took Oath of Office in Kogi State. We granted them their autonomy and promised them freedom from interference. The Judiciary does not need such assurances from us. It is constitutionally given that she has all of those, and more, as of right. What might be different now is the abundance of political will that this administration has to respect, and give effect, to those principles. We shall expect nothing in return other than that the Kogi State Judiciary be judicial and judicious in her dealings with us.

“It is to be hoped that the Judiciary will be both forthright and gentle if, in our zeal, we unwittingly trample on the rights of any of the people. We regard the Judiciary in Kogi State as a trusted ally in the delivery of good governance, the entrenchment of the Change Agenda through decided cases and the institutionalization of the New Direction Blueprint in Kogi State via instrumentality of the existing laws.

“Conversely, but only as provided by the Laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria alone, we trust that the Judiciary will also provide the Government the judicial protections it needs to deliver good governance undistracted by gratuitous litigiousness and malicious meddlesomeness.

“In a nutshell, we ask that you give each litigant in any of the cases coming before you his due, including the Government. On this we place reliance on the dictum of My Lord, Justice Nasir Ajanah at an official function in Okehi LGA that ‘The ultimate role of the Judiciary in any conflict is the dispensation of justice without fear or favour’

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Kogi Elders' Forum Give Explicit Positive Nod To Governor Yahaya Bello


In recognition of the developmental giant strides undertaking by his Excellency, Alh. Yahaya Bello, the Kogi state Elders' Forum unanimously paid a solidarity visit to Governor Yahaya Bello in order to register their unreserved and unalloyed supports for his Excellency over what most of them described as being unprecedented giant strides ever since the creation of Kogi state.
These glowing tributes were made at an event which coincides with his Excellency's 100 days in office.
In his Excellency's response to the Elders' words of commendation he thanked them for their unyielding supports and promised to put in more efforts for the upliftment of Kogi state from her current state of quagmire and hopelessness which the previous administrations have subjected the state to in the last 25 years of its creation.
He further stressed the fact that, the Elders' visit has further boosted and strengthened his moral to do more for the state as it is also an indication of the fact that, his administration is on the right track.
In his honest and sincere-ladened voice, he promised to do all that is necessary towards bringing the democratic dividends to the people of the state.
He further affirmed the fact that, he shall do the needful in order to revamp the state irrespective of whose ox is goored.
May God in HIS infinite mercies see him through,amen

Gov. Yahaya Bello of Kogi on Monday signed the state’s 2016 appropriation bill of N99.9 billion into law


This action is against the resolutions of the House of Representatives, last week, that ordered the governor to send the state budget and other executive bills to the National Assembly for consideration as stipulated in section 11 of the Constitution.
The budget comprised N41.71 billion as capital and N58.228 billion as recurrent expenditure.
Assenting to the bill in Lokoja, Bello described the bill as budget of change and promised its full implementation.
According to him, a budget monitoring implementation committee will be set up to coordinate and monitor its full implementation.
He said that government was fully aware of the implication of the drop in the allocation from the Federation Account.
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GOVERNOR. ADOZA YAHAYA BELLO 100 DAYS IN OFFICE: X-RAYING A GOVERNOR AND HIS TEAM PLAYERS

WRITTEN BY BALOGUN OMEIZA DAVID.

How time flies. Just like yesterday, the Confluence Stadium in Lokoja, the State capital in Kogi State was filled to the brim. Faces of men, women, boys, girls, the handicapped and the aged were seen as they all trooped out in large numbers to usher in a government that was bent on charting "A NEW DIRECTION" for the state. Different bodies were present and also groups to witness this epoch making inauguration. To the glory of God Almighty the inauguration has metamorphosed into a hundred days in office for His Excellency, Alh. Adoza Yahaya Bello (AYB) and I deem it fit to congratulate this man of rare qualities and also to dissect the achievements of some of those he has saddled with responsibilities in his kitchen cabinet.

Without mincing words, it is known to all and sundry that His Excellency met Kogi State swimming in the murky waters of backwardness and under development. The administration of Capt. Idris Ichalla Wada from whom our present amiable governor took the baton of leadership from lost has been adjudged as one who lost focus throughout his administration thus making Kogi State wear the garment of shame and reproach.

AYB is one man who knows his onions and he has also taken the giant stride of grooming and recruiting the services of men and women to help him in catapulting Kogi State to greater heights. One major achievement of this present administration is the governor's doggedness at locking horns with the many awkward human elements who out of sheer wickedness flooded Kogi State with ghost workers and institutions just to make ill gotten wealth. For this singular act of concern to prudently manage the meagre income of Kogi State am happy and at home with the way the governor is going about the screening exercise to flood out these bad eggs causing the state much embarrassment. That the bailout fund is also on the verge of landing into the coffers of the state is one more plus to our sitting governor. He has shown clearly to his many doubters that he knows how to navigate the waters until he gets to bank of success which is the expectation of every Kogite both day and night.

Now, let us look at some of the good hands AYB as governor has used to achieve so many positives for Kogi State within 100 days in office.

Hon. Edward David Onoja is one man many people do not understand how good a creature he is. He is the Chief of Staff to his Excellency. His relationship with the governor is one that can be termed as a special siamese twins relationship of which Dr. Ben Carson's medical professionalism is not needed for any operation that will lead to separation. He is brilliant and intelligent. His facial appearance is always welcoming. He has got a smile for everyone and that alone is a plus for this administration. As the Chief of Staff to the governor, Hon. Onoja is humble and humane. This attribute of his made him to join Project Kogi First in one of her many sanitation exercise carried out to give Lokoja the state capital a new look as the last administration left the state capital in a mountainous  dirty state. He loves the company of the youths because he is one with a youthful mind. His office is always wide open for everyone with one or two ideas to help advance the course of this government. He is not hostile. His hospitality touches the heavens and he has become a force to reckon with in this administration. His closeness to the governor made him to represent his excellency at the election tribunal in Abuja on many occasions. His eloquence is something not to be shelved. Despite his tight schedules he has got time out of no time to contribute to issues of governance on the social media as the voice of the governor. Therefore am happy to say that the Chief of Staff has really performed excellently in this first 100 days in office of the present administration.

Hon. Petra Akinti Onyegbule is the Special Adviser on New Media to the governor. Her carriage is a special thing to talk about. She is blunt with the truth. Her appearance and contribution on the social media has carved her as one feminine specie that knows what it takes to do a job assigned her. She has a vast knowledge of every issue ranging from politics, economy, entertaimnent, religion and sports and one wonders whether Hon. Petra Akinti Onyegbule sleeps at all. Any government that will succeed in this present age must be at home with the new media as many people now garner information from such a platform. Hon. Petra Akinti Onyegbule is the perfect definition of a round peg in a round hole.  Her zeal and zest for her job is no doubt part of what made her to make the team that went in search of business partners in China for the state. Hon. Petra Akinti Onyegbule has received the positive nod of commendation from a person like me in this 100 days of this administration.

Engr. Abubakar Ohere is one man I have deemed it fit to celebrate also. He is the Special Adviser to the governor on Chieftaincy Affairs. The traditional council in Kogi State has not been too healthy for quite some times now and it is one institution that any government that will succeed can not for any reason handle with levity. His Excellency out of his wealth of experience handed the Chieftaincy Affairs to Hon. Abubakar Ohere and he has been able to convey a conference that was well attended for all the traditional title holders in the state capital, Lokoja a feat that the state under the past administrations has not been able to achieve for many years. The truth is that when the traditional institutions are properly put in order, the friction that existed creating rust among them will be oiled and the traditional rulers as father's will then have one voice to make the governor do that which will enhance good governance in all of their communities. Engr. Abubakar Ohere has also been able to travel to many traditional council areas in the state to find out some of the problems they are faced with and putting such problems on the table of the governor for possible solutions to them. This is a good position given to a good man who knows how to find lasting solutions to nagging problems to the traditional council in the state. The meaning of "Ohere" in Ebira means making something light. This man has been able to live up to the meaning of his name. He has to a larger extent portray to us that every "heavy" matter of traditional leadership can be made "light." Thumbs up at 100 days in office.

Engr. Sadiq the Special Adviser on Works is a workaholic whose energy is given to him by God and by dutch courage or any other energy enhancing substance. With the little resources at his disposal he has been able to give the state capital a facelift. The roads in the state capital have started surrendering to development and the many potholes have given way to an express way with motorists and cyclists having the chance to now express themselves by moving smoothly on well tarred roads. This is not to mean that the job on the roads has been completed. No, it has not but it is drawing nearer completion. Engr. Sadiq will leave office on a daily basis to visit the workers at the site and even stay with them rendering helping hands where possible. What more do we want from a man who works so hard for the state like Boxer in the novel "Animal Farm" by George Orwell. May God bless you in this 100 days in office and help you to realise that you have not even started anything good in the many positive things your people are expecting from you.

Hon. Arome Adoja is indeed an achiever. As the Special Adviser to the governor on Youths and Sports he has been able to award scholarships to over one hundred and fifty students from the limited resources assigned to him. He believes so much in educating the minds of the youths. Furthermore, just within one hundred days in office we heard he has won some trophies on his tables from Kogi State sports contingents. Am waiting for him to elevate Kogi United Football team to play in the Nigeria Premier League and also to make Kogi State's name ring a bell in other sporting activities round the globe before I eulogise him more. I felicitate with you on your 100 days in office. May the heavens help you to do more. Amen.

When AYB (the governor) came up with the idea of having the position for the Specal Adviser on Multinational Donors, some people who could hardly see beyond their nose gruntled like pigs fighting over dried cassava. AYB projected into the present and future and he knew that office is needed for Kogi State to move forward. We have natural resources and tourist attraction sites that the state can eke out much money from before looking at the allocation from the federal government so, he wanted foreign investors to be made to believe that Kogi State is a land flowing with milk and honey that they can make money from. Hon. Adoga Ibrahim was appointed as the Special Adviser on Multinational Donors. He has been able to travel to China within this 100 days in office with some other persons to broker business with foreign investors from one of the Asian Tiger countries. This is a plus. We are waiting however for the dividends before we shout uhuru for this administration based on what your position stands for. May God bless you and open the doors of blessings to the state through you whenever you visit any country for help.

Am glad to announce to you that we have a Henry Townsend among AYB's Special Adviser's and he is the last but not the least I will be writing about. Evang. (Hon.) Kingsley Fanwo is indeed a Henry Townsend. Henry Townsend was that missionary that came to Nigeria, Egba in Ogun State to be precise and added journalism to his missionary work. He came about the first newspaper in Nigeria with the name, "Iwe Irohin fun awon Egba." Kingsley Fanwo is an evangelist and also a journalist. He was the correspondent for the Vanguard newspaper in Lokoja before he was appointed by the governor as the Chief Press Secretary to the governor. He is a man who has a good command of the white man's language. Tall, dark and lanky he speaks English even far better than some English men. He has been able to represent this administration in media houses like the Africa Independent Television (AIT) and his utterances were wow when I listened to him live. I have also been able tonread some of his writings and with him I can conclude that the pen is indeed mightier than the sword. Well done Fanwo. May Jesus uphold to do the best for His name, your family and your state at ALL times. Amen.

And to others whose names I have not mentioned I say well done and congratulations for seeing 100 days in office with the governor. To whom much is given they say much is also required. You must have done some wonderful things in your closet but maybe my nose for news did not smell those things you did for the betterment of this administration. Am always on the go to find who is doing what and I promise to write anytime I stumbled into any wonderful thing you have wrought to help AYB in his administration. Once again I congratulate all of you with great joy in my heart.

Back to his excellency, I rejoice with you heartily and I pray on a daily basis for God to wrap you up in His protective arms. The idiom that says, "I have seen 99 and am not afraid of 100" revolves around you as a person. You have faced many hurdles and permit me to tell you frankly that many of those hurdles are still ahead waiting to crush you but God in heaven will not allow that. Amen. It is an abomination for you to forget how God, the Master of the universe brought you to this earthly exalted position of a governor. Know it that whatever we do here on earth as mortal men echoes in eternity and that is what our Maker will judge us with. I beg of you to please pay Kogi State workers their salaries as soon as you have chased away these ghosts taking our money to spend in the grave or thick forests. Many of the civil servants are yawning as you mark your 100 days in office and I know you do not subscribe to such. Please save your people from hunger like the biblical Joseph and God will elevate you more than you ever dream of. Thanks. I want to beg of you to put your house in order and do not allow the devil have his way of bringing you down. Love all. Listen to words of advise and pick those that will broaden your knowledge horizon. Do away with sycophants and false tale bearers. Forgive those who might sinned against you. This is the time for you to wear the divine garment of forgiveness and try to carry everybody along in the state.  Never for any reason wage war with anybody for God has been your shield right from day one. Fear this God in every ticking second of your life for without Him you are nothing. Make jobs available as soon as possible so that a jobless person like me will have hope of having a take home pay every month alongside many wonderful Kogi State youths that are also in the labour market. May God bless you real good. Amen.

You may place your comments based on your understanding of the post.

GROUP CONGRATULATES ALHAJI YAHAYA BELLO ON THE OCCASION OF HIS HUNDRED DAYS IN THE OFFICE

By Rekiya O. Sanni

A hundred days ago, the Governor of Kogi state was sworn in. Our people and the whole country marvelled at what has been variously characterised as a miracle and an epoch-making event.

The Bello Support Group (BSO) wishes to thank God for the victory of having Change instilled in our beloved State; we are grateful to God for giving us a Governor of our dreams. Indefatigable, detribalised, focused and highly motivated towards excellence.

In the light of this, and the many landmark and impact feats ongoing, we congratulate His Excellency, Alhaji Yahaya Bello, on his one hundred days in Office, as the Executive Governor of Kogi State.
We have seen the delight in the faces of the entire workforce in the state – both Local Government services, State Government services – as you have taken up the Augean task of sanitizing the Civil Service; plus the recent gesture geared towards ameliorating the working conditions of the Labour union at large state-wide.

We are also aware of the magnitude of infrastructural projects on-going in the state capital, and especially with impact on the Primary Health Care Services to the benefits of grassroots; we are sure many more are in the offing.

We use this medium to seek your blessings over our dear State; we desire a State void of animosity, and grounded in unity. We believe "together is better", and a Kogi State with Citizens who see themselves as one big family, will be a "dream-come-true"

Our confidence is in the fact that we are knowledgeable of your thoroughness with regards to execution of projects and plans. We are therefore eager to celebrate victories from the results of your many plans and designs put in place over these hundred days period.

May your reign continue to be prosperous and full of positive and people oriented changes; changes to take the state to a new apogee in all sphere of life.

We at Bello Support Organization (BSO) wish you greatness and more record of successes as we journey with you through the lifespan of your administration and beyond.
Many opportunities have opened up for Kogi State to exceed even beyond our expectations and this requires that we all take up the cudgels and consciously change our paradigms.

We restate our confidence in your leadership, and reaffirm our loyalty to you and your vision of a New Direction for Kogi State.

Long live Kogi State.
Long live your Excellency.
Long live the Citizens of Kogi State.
Long live Bello Support Organization.

Signed
Rekiya Onayivo Sanni
Team Leader
Bello Support Organization
Twitter: @bellosupportorg
Like our page: https://m.facebook.com/bellosupportorg/

Tuesday, May 03, 2016

Kabir Ajanah Empowers 450 Youths in Kogi

 Member representing Adavi/Okehi Federal Constituency, Hon. Kabir Ajanah has empowered over 450 youths through the first phase of his empowerment scheme.

The programme, which was held today at his Obangede hometown in Okehi Local Government Area of Kogi State, had its beneficiaries from the 22 wards in the Adavi/Okehi constituency.

In his speech, Ajanah noted that most of the beneficiaries had been trained by his scheme on small and medium scale enterprises, while others are faithfuls of his party, All Progressives Congress.

"We have successfully trained people to be computer literates and they shall be empowered as graduants with a Computer Machine.

"We have also trained people to be specialist in tailoring work and today they shall be empowered with Tailoring Machine as graduants.

"We have trained people in Vulkanizing work and today they shall be empowered as graduants to stand on their own.

"There are these beneficiaries of a motorcycles to which most party Leaders/faithfuls were beneficiaries in appreciation of their individual contribution in the last election to the victory of the party.

"All these marked the first phase of my empowerment programme, the second and third face of it will soon be unveiled," he said.

Speaking on behalf of the youths, Mr.Momohjimoh Yusuf lauded Hon.Ajanah for complementing the efforts and good work of the APC Government, noting that his kind gesture and love for the people would strengthen their support for him in the mission to rebuild the constituency.

The empowerment items distributed include Motorcycles, Hair Dryers, Sewing Machines, Vulqanising Machines, Computers, among others.

Sunday, May 01, 2016

May Day: Gov. Yahaya Bello addresses Kogi State Workers

BEING TEXT OF AN ADDRESS BY HIS EXCELLENCY, GOVERNOR YAHAYA BELLO OF KOGI STATE TO THE STATE’S WORKERS ON MONDAY, MAY 1 (MAYDAY), 2016.

The Deputy Governor of Kogi State, His Excellency, Honourable Simeon Achuba.
The Speaker of the Kogi State House of Assembly, Honourable Umar Imam
The Chief Judge of Kogi State, My Lord Justice Nasir Ajanah
Secretary to the Kogi State Government, Her Honour Mrs. Ayoade Folashade Arike
The Chief of Staff to the Governor, Honourable Edward Onoja
The Head of Service (Acting), Kogi State Civil Service,
Political Appointees and Members of Government.
Leaders and Members of the Nigerian Labour Congress
Leaders and Members of the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria
Great Nigerian Workers!
Ladies and Gentlemen,
May 1st every year is a testimonial to the indomitable spirits of men and women, the Workers, who play the most invaluable roles in the Development of any Society. It is a day set aside by the World to pay deserved tribute to the people who constitute the Engine-room of every Society. These people, individually and collectively, labour, often without recognition and commensurate remuneration, to oil the wheels of progress in every Administration.
On this day, on behalf of the People and Government of Kogi State, we salute Workers all over the World. We salute you, Great Nigerian Workers. Above all, we salute each and every person who is a part of the Kogi State Civil Service at any level. Thank you for your Labour and Contribution. We acknowledge that Governments and Societies, including ours, are helpless without the Workers.
**Solidarity Song**
The ideal Workforce is the one in which Workers are consistently improving in skills and salaries. It is one in which the operating environment allocates dignity to human beings and rewards merit. It excludes redundancy and stagnation by a smart process of job placement and transfers. It provides continuous learning through training and retraining. Above all it works seamlessly to generate maximum productivity. It is our aspiration as an Administration to build that Ideal Workforce in Kogi State. However, reality shows we have a lot of work to do.
We cannot deceive ourselves that all is rosy with the Worker, whether in Nigeria or here at home in Kogi State. We inherited a Kogi State in which unpaid salaries and general atrocious working conditions were the norm. All sorts of tricks were devised by previous administrations to short-change the Kogi State Worker. The worst is of course the scourge of ghost-workers. Thousands of non-existent ‘workers’ paid from Kogi State coffers thus bringing it under undue strain and leaving the real workers either totally unpaid or only receiving meagre percentages of their wages.
I was a former Federal Civil Servant. I was never owed salaries during my time in service. When we came into Office, Kogi Workers were already on strike for at least 6 weeks, fed up with the then PDP Government’s kleptomania, lack of transparency and disastrous policies. It hurt me that a so-called Government could receive all the Federal Allocations due to it and still find the heart to leave workers unpaid. I decided that my Administration will be different. We remain committed to improving the lot of our Workers by eliminating every scheme in the system designed to exploit and cheat them. 
Accordingly, the ghost-worker syndrome is an evil this Administration is committed to eradicating forever. The first line is the Screening Committee we set up soon after our Inauguration, led by Brigadier-General Paul Okuntimo (Rtd). General Okuntimo is a fine officer and an incorruptible gentleman. The Screening Committee is scheduled to conclude her work within the next one week and we shall thereafter expect to have only genuine workers on our payroll.
No more will people sit in Pay Offices and fabricate thousands of names, add them to the nominal roll and siphon Kogi State resources with them on a monthly basis. No more will people sit down in Lagos, Abuja, even abroad, and receive bank alerts for salaries from the Kogi State Government. No more will Kogi State pay salaries to ghost-workers who are ‘serving’ in non-existing institutions discovered all over the state by the Screening Committee. We are dismantling all of that satanic infrastructure. Our people will no longer be robbed.
On this Workers’ Day I must also seize opportunity to sound a timely warning to every genuine Worker in the Kogi State Civil Service: ENSURE THAT YOU ARE SCREENED. If the Screening Committee has somehow missed you, seek them out and do the needful. Once the Screening Exercise is done, we will only be paying salaries to Workers who have gone through the process. If you miss this train, you will have only yourself to blame.
Let me state that nothing happens without somebody knowing about it. We are therefore encouraging whistle-blowing. See something, say something. Everyone is encouraged to reach the Screening Committee or any of my appointees with information that will help us to completely sanitise the system. We will shortly set up a Call Centre so that those who prefer anonymity in this regard can put a call across and not have to fear detection or persecution. In any case, I personally guarantee protection and maybe, some token reward, to every whistle-blower but only for giving us actionable intelligence.
We want the support of Organised Labour on this, especially the Leadership. This is after all for the overall benefit of your members. If we clean up the Workforce and remove those who should not be there, it is Kogi State, and in particular the Workers, who benefits. The situation in the recent past where some labour leaders have opposed the Screening Exercise under guise of the interests of their members is, to say the least, suspicious and unacceptable.
We have also been inundated with allegations of collusion between some labour executives and the past administrations in cheating the very Workers they represent through corrupt practices. We will of course investigate and anyone found culpable will have a date with the Anticorruption Agencies. We are cooking something nice for Kogi People, I know the kitchen is getting hot but I promise you there will be no sacred cows. Let those who cannot stand the heat get out of the kitchen!
Masu gudu, su gudu. The guilty are afraid. Evildoers may run, but they cannot hide.
Like I have repeatedly said, we intend to do things differently. A cardinal principle on which this Administration operates is transparency and open communications. I wish to bring to your notice the following facts:
• We have received four federal allocations since our assumption of Office in January, 2016 out of which we paid full salaries for January and March.
• In January we received about N2.6bn while our salary bill came to about N2.7bn. We paid full salaries.
• In February we received about N2.5bn and applied that the differentials between allocations and wage bills for January and March as well as other pressing needs of the State which has direct impact on the lives of the people, including you, the Workers. You will admit that Kogi State, with a population of about 3.5m people cannot spend all her money to service a Workforce of about 100,000 people. Security, obligations to contractors, rehabilitation of infrastructure, etc are also pressing and unavoidable.
• In March our allocation was about N2.3bn but we again paid full salaries to the tune of about N2.9bn.
• For April, allocation is about N2bn only. Even though the nearly N900m gap between allocation and wage bill is a huge challenge, we still hope to pay full salaries and even start defraying some arrears incurred by previous Administrations.
We put these figures in the public domain in the hope that Organised Labour will have the information they need to match us good faith for good faith. It saddens Government when industrial action is embarked upon in a capricious manner that seems to say that only the interests of striking workers matter. We believe that we can always partner together to manage every situation, including tight financial situations, in order to achieve the best results.
I am aware that almost as soon as were sworn in malicious persons serving evil interests both within and without Kogi State filled the media with rumours that we have accessed and frittered away the Bailout Funds. Nothing could be further from the truth. The reality we met on ground at the CBN was that the previous application made on behalf of the State by the last administration was fraught with irregularities and shoddily done. In a word, it was so badly done it could never be approved. We had to start from scratch.
We are glad to announce that our efforts have paid off. This week we received approval to draw down on the first tranche of our Bailout Funds from the Federal Government. This will amount to about N20bn. We will draw down on the balance of about N30bn as we meet the milestones for implementation of the first tranche as set by the Central Bank of Nigeria. I also announce a commitment to use that money for salaries and emoluments of our workers. I am certain that by the time we fully disburse the Bailout Funds, disputes over outstanding emoluments will be over.
I therefore call on the Members and Leadership of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, Kogi State University Chapter to call off their ongoing Strike and let our dear Students go on with their education on schedule. In return, I promise them, and indeed all Workers of Kogi State, that there is now some light at the end of the tunnel.
We are also building momentum on our promises to the people in our manifesto. The promise of a New Direction is not ‘One Chance’ by any stretch of the imagination. Our New Direction Blueprint Team has taken our manifesto and produced the Quick-Wins which we are already implementing. I will speak more on that during the 100 Days’ events. The main Blueprint which identifies planned developmental strides in every year of our 4-year tenure will soon be ready too.
My People, your Government in Kogi State is running with a 4-year Plan, a Blueprint for Accelerated Development of the State in all areas and socio-economic indices within this current term of office. We are focused on this one tenure. Those going around scheming against 2019 should therefore leave us alone. We are not open to distractions at any time. Like power, 2019 and beyond lie in the Hands of God. I trust that when the time comes, God and the great People of Kogi will decide who will lead this State further.
In closing, it is my pleasure to announce a donation by the Administration of two brand new buses to the Kogi State Chapters of the Nigerian Labour Congress and the Trade Unions Congress respectively. The Kogi State Government charges the Leadership of the Unions to deploy these vehicles in the best interests of their members and in service to God and humanity at large.
Once more I felicitate with all Workers on this May Day, 2016. In particular, I felicitate with the Disciplined, Supportive, Resourceful and Productive Workers of the Kogi State Civil Service. I identify with you today, and always, and promise our continued commitment to your welfare and rights.
Solidarity forever.
Thank you very much.

ALHAJI YAHAYA BELLO
EXECUTIVE GOVERNOR, KOGI STATE.

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