While we congratulate the good people of this great state on the 26th year of its creation which was on the 27th of August 1991. It is vital to state that a 26 years old child is assumption to be matured and should be able to take responsibility for whatever action he/she takes, as it is expected to be a matured adult. During the early years of Nigeria, we have seen several persons leading several institutions or states particularly during the early military dictatorship, who were that age. However, it is worrisome the spate of development and under development in Kogi state in the last 26 years. Several states that were created at the same period, have had their development more advanced than were we currently find ourselves in Kogi state.
The state that boosts of the highest mineral resources in Nigeria and is hosting the confluence of rivers Niger and Benue, and share boundaries with 9 other states, which invariably makes it the most central state in Nigeria. Despite the importance of information, and in this digital age, the state has no State owned Television. A medium that can disseminate information, generate employment and even revenue and promote the culture of the people, is yet to be established and there is no programme put in place to establish one 26 years after.
Several laws passed by the Kogi State house of Assembly, are yet to be gazetted as the state does not have a functional printing press that should have coordinated such activities.
The Kogi state house of assembly does not have a website of its own and as thus the programmes and activities of the assembly is in darkness to the people of the state that elected them.
The state has no single industry built by the state government 26 years after. Yet under the current administration in Kogi state, and to be specific in the 2017 budget, N25 billion was approved for the administration of the Government House, which does not generate any income to the state. It is also disappointing that an illegal First lady office got approval of N340 million by the Kogi State House of Assembly in the 2017 budget. One wonders what the First lady will be doing with such colossal amount, despite the illegality associated with that office and it not generating a single kobo to the state.
16 months out of the 19 months of this administration, no election has been conducted into the Local government councils despite the provision of S7(1) of the 1999 Constitution as Amended, which states clearly that there shall be democratically elected Local Government councils.
Statistics from relevant professional institutions in Nigeria particularly from the CBN, indicates that Kogi State despite its huge mineral resources, both human and natural, has continued to remain in the back state of development. It is worrisome, that under successful administration of the state, including the current one, there is still no master plan for development that can last over several years. Several Ministries and agencies have no policies to guide their development plan, as State Budgets are still put in place without the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) AND Medium Term Sectorial Strategy (MTSS) that can shape the development of this great state.
More worrisome is the Marine sector, despite the hosting of rivers Niger and Benue in the state, all succeeding administrations, including the present one, has failed in developing the marine sector. A state with such facilities but without strategic polices, will continue to derail in its revenue drive. While tax and taxation is important, and can improve the revenue generation of any state such as kogi state, the lack of creation of institutions and industries that can boost the internally generated revenue (IGR) and create/generate employment, will continue to make the state to live in poverty and under development.
We call on the present administration in the state to work with relevant stakeholders, professionals, and elders of this state and look at the present situation of Kogi state since the past 26 years and come out with a Blue print of development plan for the next 25 years.
Invariably we are calling on the present administration under the leadership of Alhaji Yahaya Bello to organize a 1 week conference that can examine the potentials of this great state and all opportunities available in it to make the state great.
We call on the leaders and elders in the state, not to fold their hands and keep quiet and allow this state to continue to degenerate in under development, as virtually all sectors of the state have collapsed without a road map for recovery.
We call on the Kogi State house of Assembly to re-examine its internal working strategies and come out with progressive laws that can advance and develop this state.
Congratulations Kogi State at 26
– Idris Miliki Abdul
Executive Director, Centre for Human Rights and Conflict Resolution (CHRCR)