Governor Yahaya Bello's Remarkable Achievements Over an Eight-Year Tenure in Kogi

Governor Yahaya Bello’s Remarkable Achievements Over an Eight-Year Tenure in Kogi


Leadership, according to Warren Bennis, is the capacity to translate a vision into reality. That is exactly what governor Yahaya Bello has been able to achieve since 2016 that he assumed office.
He has  successfully raised the tempo of governance higher through his various policies and programmes for the benefits of the people of Kogi State and even generations unborn.
The emergence of Governor Yahaya as the fourth executive governor of Kogi state on the 27th January, 2016, has no doubt  put smiles on the faces of the people of Kogi state.
The circumstances surrounding his emergence still poses a surprise to Nigerians.
However, on assumption of office, governor Bello hit the ground running with his New Direction mantra despite understanding the enormous challenges ahead of him.
The governor begun by enunciating five thematic areas in his administration’s blueprint which he pursued with clear vision of developing Kogi State for eight years.



Infrastructural Development


Under governor Yahaya Bello leadership for 8 years, Kogi state has recorded substantial achievements in security, roads construction, agriculture, rural electrification, provision of portable water, agriculture, youth and women empowerment, civil service reform and many more have earned him awards both locally and nationally.
For instance, the construction of Okene–Kuroko-Ehika-Ikaturu-Itakpe roads,
Other legacy projects which was  commissioned by former President Muhammadu Buhari included the first-ever Flyover Bridge at Ganaja Junction in Lokoja, the State capital; the Muhammadu Buhari Square; the GYB Model Science Secondary School, Adankolo, Lokoja; Ambulances, and special security vehicles; Okene, Agasa/Ogbogoro Road, and other township roads in Okene town.


Education


The landmark achievements of Governor Bello in the area of education can not be overemphasised. The administration has also devoted a large chunk of its resources to education in the last eight years.
The latest of his giant strides is the payment, by his government, of the sum of N115m as  the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) application fees for 15,033 students in public schools across the state, for the 2024 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Exams(UTME).
Coming a few weeks after the administration paid about N497 million to the West African Examination Council (WAEC) to ensure no student in Kogi public schools is made to pay a kobo before writing any internal or external examination, Governor Bello has through his free education policy effectively shifted the burden of financing education from parents to the government.
The message being sent across by the governor, even as he rounds up his tenure, is that no student in Kogi public schools should drop out of school because of the low economic status of the parents.


Bello’s investment in the education of Kogi State citizenry is not limited to payment of examination fees, else his administration would not have surpassed the benchmark set by United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in budgetary allocation to the sector by states.
The allocation to education in the Kogi State Budget in the year 2022 was 30 percent for example whereas UNESCO recommended 26 percent benchmark.
Before the advent of his administration, the education sector in Kogi State from primary to the tertiary level
was characterised by non-payment of salaries, striking teachers, shortage of teaching staff, decayed infrastructure and other challenges inimical to progress and development.

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In 2014 for example, teachers in Kogi State were on strike for over six months, thus putting the future of the students at risk.
This is no longer the case as stakeholders unanimously agree that things have changed for the better.
Today, Kogi remains the only State in the northern part of the country with a well articulated education law which became effective in 2020. The law spells out the short-term, medium-term, and long-term
milestones and modalities required to propel the sector to greater heights.
Many of these have germinated and Kogi  currently has the least number of out-of-school children among the 19 Northern States, according to the Nigerian Bureau of Statistics (NBS).


Through his education roadmap, the governor ensured that all the 48 courses offered in the Prince Abubakar Audu University formerly known as Kogi State University, Ayingba, secured full accreditation from the National Universities Commission (NUC), making it the first time since the establishment of the institution.
The state-owned polytechnic in Lokoja also got full accreditation of all courses offered in the recent accreditation exercise conducted by the National Board for Technical Education (NBTE).
Another regulatory body, the National Commission for Colleges of Education (NCCE) also found the two state-owned colleges of Education namely College of Education Ankpa and College of Education Technical, Kabba worthy of full accreditation of the courses offered them making it first-ever in the history of the two schools”


At the College of Education Technical, Kabba, 17 courses offered the College got full accreditation in 2017 a year into Governor Yahaya Bello’s administration and he ensured the partial movement of the institution to its permanent site.


Governor Bello equally completed 10 buildings at the permanent site and provided a big bus to ease the movement of staff and students aside from other facilities.


Also worried by the gap created by the number of Kogi indigenes seeking admission yearly and the number that got admitted, Governor Bello established the Confluence University of Science and Technology, (CUSTECH), Osara in the year 2020 and Kogi State University Kabba (KSUK) in the year 2023 and the university has admitted over one thousand students in their first Admission which the students were Matriculated in January 16 2024


CUSTECH and other institutions of higher learning in the state are getting ready intakes from the secondary schools where Governor Bello placed special emphasis on STEM – Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics.
In addition to improving on the infrastructure of the primary and secondary schools he inherited across the state and in every senatorial district like Kogi West, Kogi Central, and Kogi East,


the Governor also completed the construction of the Ultra-modern GYB Model Science Secondary School Adankolo, in Lokoja, Ebira Community Secondary School Ogaminana in Adavi Local Government, and Community Secondary School Ajiolo Ojaji in Dekina Local Government Area to mention but a few.


Transparency


His commitment in financial transparency and accountability since he came on board in 2016 has also earned him accolades by the World Bank’s States’ Financial Transparency, Accountability, and Sustainability (SFTAS) index.
It is however not out of place to mention that Governor Bello’s success in the governance of the state has been well planned and executed which gave raise to the enunciation of 32-Year Development Plan for the state.
The plan which would span over three decades would put successive administrations on their toes to further develop the state and this envision motivated the governor to search inward for a successor who would not deviate from his laid out vision for the state, but consolidate on his numerous landmark achievements and programmes.


Health sector


The health sector has also witnessed developments as governor Bello’s landmark achievements in the area of health especially the establishment of world class Reference Hospital in Okene the headquarters of Central Senatorial District equipped with state-of-the-art equipment endeared him to many stakeholders.


The 300-bed capacity hospital which has been completed and now operational has commenced services to humanity. As at today, renal and coronary disorders for which some people travel abroad can now be accurately investigated and treated at the hospital.
The medical facility which would also serve as teaching hospital for medical students has to a greater extent reversed the trend of medical tourism within the North- central states.


Despite his lone voice on the issue of Covid-19 pandemic of 2019/2020 era down to 2021, Governor Bello paid attention to medical facilities as the Specialist Hospital in Lokoja which was established by former Governor Ibrahim Idris was rehabilitated, upgraded and expanded to serve the health need of the people.


In addition, Governor Bello also constructed, completed and put in use Specialist Hospitals in four other towns including Gegu Beki in Kogi local government, Ajaokuta, Dekina and Isanlu, Yagba East local government areas. This is aside the Primary Health Centres that were rehabilitated in more than 80 communities.


The governor in the recent past procured and distributed 25 brand new ambulances to several hospitals in the state.
Other achievements to his credit in the health sector are in the last eight years include:

Establishment of a World Class Reference Hospital in Okene with the capacity to handle complicated medical and surgical cases in the State as  well as promote medical tourism in the State.

Renovation and Remodeling of Kogi State Specialist Hospital Lokoja to include Construction of an Ultra-Modern Administrative Complex with two (2) Suspended Floors;  Construction of Psychiatric Department and Complete Renovation and Remodeling of the whole Hospital.

Construction of two (2) New Ultra-Modern General Hospitals in Eganyi Ajaokuta Local among others.

The Bello administration also saw to the establishment of Kogi State Health Insurance Agency in other to help reduce out of pocket expenditure by the people of Kogi State requiring medication and medical attention thus putting the State in the right direction for Universal Health Coverage otherwise called Health for all.
Staff Welfare is on the front burner in the State across board, including the health sector.


This January, Governor Bello approved a one hundred percent hazard allowance for medical doctors and other health workers in the state.
The Governor made the announcement during a courtesy visit at the state Banquet Hall, Lokoja, where he addressed the pioneering medical students of Prince Abubakar Audu University, Anyigba, and the leadership of the Nigerian Medical Association.


Security


Another area where Governor Bello succeeded is security.
Being a major link between southern and northern Nigeria, Kogi State had more than its fair share of the insecurity the country has been battling with. So bad was the security situation in the State that it became a haven for the terrorist group, ISWAP and its local affiliates.


To attack the problem of insecurity from the grassroots, Governor Bello reached out to traditional rulers and mandated  them to do everything to secure their domain, while vowing not to spare them, if they are found culpable of fomenting troubles. This strategic move paid off as many terrorists and other criminals were fished out while others took flight from the State.
Apart from employing the services of the traditional Institutions to tackle insecurity, Governor Bello also established the Kogi State Vigilante Service, which has helped in combating crime and ensuring the safety of citizens.
He equally motivated the Federal Government owned  with logistic and other supports, in addition to the Kogi Government partnership with the Nigeria Police Force to establish two Mobile Police Squadron Bases along Obajana-Kabba road and in Okene.
 
Bello also facilitated the location of a Naval Base in Lokoja to ensure adequate security of the waterways in the confluence state and personally commissioned the Nigeria Navy Ship Lugard and Navy Barracks.
In recognition of Governor Bello’s outstanding performance in the security sector, he has been honoured with several prestigious awards from around Nigeria and beyond.


Agriculture


To ensure improved food production and enhanced export, governor has implemented various agricultural initiatives to boost food production and create employment opportunities for the teaming youth.


These initiatives include the distribution of fertilizers and improved seedlings to farmers, as well as the establishment of farm settlements.
As part of efforts to enhance food security and promote agriculture, Governor Bello procured and distributed agricultural equipment across the 21 local government areas of the state. They include tractors, ridgers, harrows, ploughs, power tillers and boom sprayers among others.


Governor Bello also created cluster value system through Agro Processing Productivity Enhancement and Livelihood Improvement Support (APPEALS) where group of youth and women farmers were provided with implement, incentives and cash to engage in farming in their respective communities and the establishment of the ‘Cluster Agricultural Settlement Scheme’, (CASS) .
Equally of note was the establishment of the biggest Rice Mill at Ejiba, Yagba West known as Kogi Confluence Rice Mill  which has the capacity to produce 50 tonnes of rice per day. 


All the aforementioned were complimented with the training and empowering youths in livestock initiative, aqua culture (fish farming), cassava plantation among others and the commencement of a greenhouse vegetable agricultural program in Osara in the Central Senatorial axis of the state
.

Governor Yahaya Bello was born on 18 June 1975 in Okene, Kogi State, and studied Accounting and Business Administration at Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria.
As he hands over power to the Governor-elect Usman Ododo on Saturday, Governor Bello can confidently say that he came, he saw and he conquered.

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