Gov . Bello and Youth , Women ,Empowerment in Governance in kogi.
The Administration of Governor Yahaya Bello of kogi state came on board on the 27th January, 2016, in what people coined “Child of Circumstances. The Candidate of the APC in the ill fated 2015 election, Prince Abubakar Audu died on the cusp of declaration.
The Legal and political fireworks that ensued thrust the mantle of leadership of the state on the Youthful Yahaya Bello.
He hit the ground running with his New Direction mantra. He begun with total departure from the existing order of running government affairs.
He enunciated five thematic areas in his administration blueprint. Women and Youth inclusiveness was very dear to his heart . He has since matched his words with actions.
The first appointment on assumption of office was the Secretary to the State Government SSG, Dr. Folashade Ayoade Arike, who is not just a female, but has become the longest serving SSG since the creation of the state thirty one years ago.
Consequently, many women were also appointed as Special Advisers, Senior Special Assistants, even as others were entrusted to head Ministries, Departments and Agencies. MDAs the first of its kind in the annal of the state
So far, three women in a row have superintended the office of Head of Service of the state . These important positions have nearly become the exclusive reserve of the male folks. They are Mrs Hassana O.K. Lawal, Mrs Deborah Ogunmola and Mrs Hannah Onyinoyi Odiyo, who is still in the saddle.
Of great recognition and mentioning was the election into the Local Government councils.
The state has twenty one Council areas. He ensured that women contest the office of the vice chairman. The women, who were hitherto in the past regimes regarded as women’s wing only good for clapping and dancing at campaign rallies. He equally motivated women and young ladies to vie for councillorship in their respective LGC.
And when the results of the election was announced, all the 21 LGC have returned women as vice chairmen.
In the same breath , sizeable number of ladies emerged winners into their local legislature. He again ensured that they become Council leaders. These two positions were the most powerful positions in the Local Government Council Administration.
With this feat, women have been transformed from a mere baggages of the dominant male hegemony. They have become honourable, contributing their quota to the development of their fatherland.
The action of Governor Bello to ensure that women and ladies mount apex positions in Council Administration has become historic and worthy of emulation by other states of the country. He has raised their consciousness that, what men can do women can equally do or even better.
Since , their emergence into the high echelon of the council administration, as mothers, they have brought relative peace and cohesion in the running of the councils.
Bickering and unhealthy politicking at that tier of government have been drastically reduced , with even development taking place across the Councils.
Impeachment of chairmen and council leaders which was commonplace in the past has taken a long distance flight.
While women in other states are poised for war with their Government for non actualisation of the Beijing conference on 35% affirmative action, Bello has technically domesticated it in the state.
Although, he may not have extended the gesture to the state legislature and state Executive Councils, which he vowed to institutionalise before the end of his tenure, has triggered their awareness and consciousness to actively participate in politics and not merely as onlookers.
Just as what he has done to the women, he technically upgraded the youths, and children of nobody who were literally regarded as thugs , good only to torment opponents of the administration and to cause crisis during elections.
They were only good to be trained to carry arms to kill themselves over crumps that will fall from their paymaster’s pockets. They will be used and when election is over, they would be offloaded, without post election benefits.
In kogi state of yore, many of them had become private armies , sent for the opposition members” jugular.
However, all these inglorious appellation has changed with the emergence of Alhaji Yahaya Bello.
In his first broadcast to the state, Bello, the youngest governor of this dispensation did not hide his preference for the youth. Just like the Americans in the 1930s when Europe and America were engulfed in Economic quakes, the youth from all professions ceased mantle of leadership and restore sanity, the same way he brought paradgm shift into governance by appointing young men and women who were either before their 30s or in their early 30s to the positions of Authority.
The young men he appointed as caretaker chairmen of the 21 Local Government Councils on his assumption of office were sons of poor men.
Some of them were bicycle riders (Okada), patent medicine dealers, boys’ wing of the party, in fact, some of them were unemployed. They became foundational members of his government. He instilled confidence in the youth, that one does not need to come from a certain background before one can be entrusted with position of high Authority.
The Governor believed that the remnant youths could still pose threat to Socioeconomic and political landscape of the state, he then rolled out numbers of youth and women empowerment programmes which have made many of them not only became self sustainable, but proud employers of labour.
In his estimation, for a free society, majority of citizens should be able to satisfy the three most critical needs of man according to Manslow hierarchy of needs – Food , Shelter and Clothing, hence, by August, 2016, he engaged over 239 young men and ladies on tenured state security vigilantes.
He revamp and restructured the existing Social Support Program -Youth Employment and Social Support Operation , ( YESSO) of the federal Government. Thousands of youths have been enrolled on the programme and they are contributing their quota to the development of state.
Not done with giving the youth the confidence to own their lives, as he established Youth Development Commission, which is assumed to be the first in the country.
To him , the first security of man is food security, hence, 100,000 in addition to the 75,000 already on ground have been trained and adequately mobilised to drive agricultural renaissance in the state. No wonder, food security that the state enjoyed , has kept, would be errant Youths busy away from crime.
Speaking on his personal encounter with destiny through the hands of Chief Executive of kogi state, HE. Alhaji Yahaya Bello, the Executive Chairman of Omala Local Government Council of the state, Alhaji Ibrahim Yakubu Aboh has this to say. “Today’s youths are the leaders of tomorrow”
The above popular saying has manifested in the minds and actions of very few personalities in this country. And one of the proponents, believers and champions of that statement, who has created a niche for himself is the Chief Executive of Kogi State, His Excellency, Alhaji Yahaya Adoza Bello.
He said ,Governor Yahaya Bello is a perfect example of youth for youth, youth for all and youthful and useful youths in leadership.
” I’m not surprised by his achievements in uplifting youths from zero to hero. I can beat my chest to say that myself and others are part of his numerous beneficiaries of building confidence and reshaping the future of the youths and by extension progressively projecting the image of the society in good light.
In the same light, the chairman of Olamaboro Local Government Council of the state, Hon .Friday Adejoh, who is in his 30s acknowledged the wisdom of Yahaya Bello to have zero in on the youth to help deliver on his mandate. He said, prior to the emergency of Alhaji Yahaya Bello, he used to ride motorbike popular known as Okada to make ends meet.
He said he worked so hard that he was elected chairman of Ade unit , in Olamaboro LGA .
He admitted that if not for Yahaya Bello who would have considered him and most of his colleagues into high echelon of state craft.
Speaking recently to a crowd of supporters at Okpo , headquarters of the LGA, Adejoh , commended the governor for appointing children of nobody , like himself to help him drive his developmental agenda at the grassroots.
He admitted that on inception, Governor Bello did not hide his preference for the youth, women in Governance, that was how , he was fished out from a local corner of the state and brought to limelight competing with the children of the mighty in the society.