By Idris Miliki Abdul
The impotency of the present administration in Kogi state to control effectively the market forces, in order to tackle the fundamental problems of massive unemployment, poverty, insecurity, payment of workers’ salaries, and the prolong verification of screening exercise and the crises associated with it.
While we congratulate the governor on his six(6) years in office, it is pertinent to look at some of the decisions of this government in the last six(6) years.
It would be recalled that this current government was inaugurated on the 27th of January 2016, and since then several decisions had been taken that have affected the lives of the citizens in one way or the other.
These range from staff verifications, to demolition of roundabouts in Lokoja, and the rebuilding of those roundabouts to a substandard level in the state capital, the illegal composition of Sole Administrators in the 21 LGAs of the state for almost four(4) years and the subsequent “kangaroo” Local government elections conducted on the 12th December, 2020 and the subsequent inauguration of the declared winners on the 14th December, 2020, which results is yet to be made public for more than one year.
Collection of Bailout and Paris club refund funds, internally generated revenue and the monthly statutory allocation we are yet to see him building and commission projects across the state in six years on.
The lack of tour to the LGAs to ascertain the situation in those places by the governor since he became governor is worrisome.
It is disturbing that the staff verification of Kogi State Civil service took as much as several months and the outcome of those disturbing activities led to non-payment of several workers and pensioners at both State and Local Governments, up till now several local government workers are being paid percentage salaries.
When will this government stop paying percentage salaries and refund of the balance to its workers?
Despite the provisions of the law and the Constitution that state clearly that local government administration shall be administered through democratic council, the current administration in Kogi state, the House of Assembly has suspended the Kogi/Konton-Karfe and Okene Local Government Chairmen under the watchful eyes of the governor. we wonder how such suspension could have been carried out without the input of the legislative Arms of Local Government Councils.
Furthermore, it is worrisome and condemnable that the Kogi State House of Assembly created by law to make laws for the citizens of Kogi State, has continue to sideline and deny citizens’ full participation through public hearing on Bills before them, particularly on Budget.
We call on the Kogi State House of Assembly to perform its constitutional role as entrenched in the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in all ramifications.
More so, the statutory allocations from the federal government for these local councils, has not been properly managed and accounted for under this administration, without oversight functions by Kogi State House of Assembly.
It is noted that the State Assembly was engulfed in monumental crises as never been witnessed in the state before the current administration, where 5 members on the 16th of February 2016, invaded the Assembly and pronounced the impeachment of the then Speaker Hon. Jimoh Lawal, which led to avoidable crisis as several legal cases were instituted, under the watch of the Governor.
This led to pronouncements by the National Assembly, which were ignored by the Governor, until the crisis were resolved through Alternative Dispute Mechanisms by the members of the State Assembly themselves with some citizens of the state. Within six(6) years of this government, three Speakers have emerged, which have never been the case in the history of the state in its 30 years of existence.
The state has witnessed and continues to witness security challenges under the current administration. This ranges from kidnappings, armed robbery, jail breaks and other vices dangerous to human existence. We noted that at the 25th anniversary of the creation of Kogi state, more than 100 vehicles were distributed to security agencies in the state. This has had a significant improvement in the security situation. We call for more pragmatic actions and inclusion of citizens in the security architecture as the nation is still witnessing security challenges and Kogi state is in a precarious situation, sharing boundaries with the Federal Capital Territory and 9 other states which makes it very vulnerable.
We also note that the current government in the state happen to be the luckiest since the creation of the state as several billions has accrued to the coffers of the state. This ranged from the several billions of naira as bailout from the federal government, to the monthly statutory allocation, the internally generated revenue, to several Billions of Naria being Paris Club Refund from the Federal government.
However, there is nothing substantial to show for this huge resource inflow except the large numbers of vehicles have been purchased at random without due process and reference to the Appropriation Act.
Since the Constitution bestowed the State Assembly the powers to appropriate and perform oversight functions on the revenue and expenditure of the state, we call on them to look seriously into the funds of the state as the government cannot be run in secrecy and the state affairs is not the personal estate of anybody under any guise.
Those who find themselves in positions of power and authority do so through the provisions of the law and constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria and must respect these laws.
We also note the upgrading and renovation of Kogi State House of Assembly building, the construction of the revenue house, improvement of the street and traffic lights in Lokoja, that have been remove and yet to be replace in the last few months. Unfortunately the Traffic Lights are no longer functioning which exist only in the state capital. Unfortunately and regrettably, the current government could not provide water for its citizens two hours daily in Lokoja despite River Niger and Benue which confluenced in the state capital. The continuous renovation of government house, though, unabated, the uncompleted security gates in Lokoja which serve no benefit to the citizens of the state.
We call on the government to continue with improvement in infrastructural development of the state as that will benefit the large populace. As we have witness some level of road repairs in Lokoja in the last two years.
A government that is brought into power through constitution and constitutionalism, has refused consistently to uphold the tenets of rule of law as it affect the conduct of Local Government Elections in Kogi State, particularly on Transparency and Accountability at local government level in the last six years.
We challenge the government of Alh. Yahaya Bello to publish the details, of the allocations received on behalf of the Local Government Councils from January 2016 to December 2021 and what it has done with such funds.
We wish to let the Kogi State House of Assembly know that they are legally constituted and constitutionally mandated to make laws for the good of people of Kogi State, who gave them their mandate and therefore cannot substitute that mandate for politics in the name of loyalty to an individual, as Kogi State as an entity is bigger than any individual or groups.
It is worrisome that several projects inherited by the government of Alhji Yahaya Bello were not completed and commissioned talk-more of putting them into use.
A government that collected several Billions in the last six(6) years could not build and commission one bedroom flat, what an unfortunate situation we find ourselves in Kogi State despite the location of the biggest Cement Factory, we call on the government to review the relationship and whatever MoU it has with the Factory, so as to make maximum use for infrastructural development.
Regrettably, Kogi State at 30, does not have State Television and under the current administration, the state radio has been off air in the last five months, which is the mouth organ of the state, there seems not to be any genuine effort to bring it back. We call on the Kogi State Governor to immediately work towards bringing back the radio station in the interest of transparency, information dissemination that will lead to good governance.
Finally, the states exist to attend to the need and rights of the people, from the basic necessities of life to more complex demands. We call on the citizens of Kogi State not to fold their arm and watch a government that was democratically put in place, which continue to violate the rights of her citizens, engaged in impunity through untimely and percentage payment of salaries of its workers, two and half years that the minimum wage Bill was signed into Law and several other states have commenced payments and adjustment, the Kogi State Government and Governor has refuse deliberately to conclude the arrangement and commence payment. We call on the Kogi State Workers to Unite and break the chain of oppression by this government.
We wish to say that, those who destroy to succeed will have destruction awaiting them at the door of their success
Long live Kogi State
Long live Federal Republic of Nigeria
*IDRIS MILIKI ABDUL,*
Conscience for Human Rights and Conflict Resolution (CHRCR),
Lokoja, Kogi State.
25th January, 2022