Nigeria at 60: Bello unveils welfare packages for Kogi citizens

KOGI State governor, Alhaji Yahaya Bello has unveiled his administration’s welfare packages for the people of the state.

The governor reeled out some of the welfare packages put in place for the people in his Independence Day State broadcast to commemorate Nigeria’s 60th anniversary of freedom from British colonial rule.

He said his administration was committed to delivering strongly, his second term campaign promises anchored on doing more.

“Our first term in office ended on a high note on 27th January, 2020 when our second term commenced. In-between, we saw an initial misunderstanding of our methodologies, followed by grudging acceptance of our reforms and finally some open admiration for our accomplishments.

“Our pledge is that we will continue to earn your trust by delivering strongly on our second term campaign promise to do more. No opposition, no matter how fierce or unreasonable will derail us from that objective.

“A foundational philosophy of our leadership is that once we do what we perceive to be right for you, we are content to take the accolades or the attacks which follow with a clear conscience. After all, good governance becomes its own reward when it meets the target of improving life for the present or for posterity or both. Nothing else matters.

“To further improve the resilience of our people into the aftermath of this pandemic, we have developed the Bello COVID-19 Action Recovery and Economic Stimulus (BELLO-CARES) as a homegrown programme of palliatives through which we shall assist Kogites across the 3 Senatorial Districts with various forms of succour.

“I am particularly excited by the Bello-Kogi Enterprise and Empowerment Programme (BELLO-KEEP), a sub-programme of BELLO-CARE through which we will help MSMEs in particular.

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“As the rains intensify around this time every year, we experience heavy flooding of communities in 9 LGAs by the Rivers Niger and Benue. As usual, Government is prepared to give succour to affected citizens and residents,” he said.

He said government has set up camps for displaced people where food, medication and other essentials will be provided, urging those at risk locations to preemptively take shelter in the designated locations.

“Please do not endanger yourself and your loved ones unnecessarily by leaving evacuation to the last minute. Climate change is an unfortunate reality in today’s world and we will continue to adapt positively to it,” he said.

Bello while congratulating the people of Kogi State and all Nigerians on the occasion of the nation’s Diamond Jubilee anniversary, said Nigeria’s nationhood journey has been a “challenging odyssey.”

“It is a credit to our unbroken will to succeed and our resilience as a nation of diverse peoples that we have made it thus far despite plenty of milestones in our history where we could have messed it up, or missed it totally.

“Those who look at Nigeria and see a dysfunctional polity or as some irrationally say, ‘a failed state’, can only do so because they have refused or otherwise failed to acquire a dynamic understanding of our ongoing metamorphosis,” he said.

According to him, Nigeria has been blessed with abundance of human resources and natural endowments needed to become great, adding that: “All that remains is for us to get our act together – in citizenship and civics, but more importantly, in leadership and governance.”

The governor also used the occasion to commend the people of the state for the overwhelming supports they gave to him and his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) during the elections that ushered him in as governor for the first and second terms in office.

“If we are to judge our acceptance among Kogites by the support they gave us in the various polls conducted during our first term, we would be inclined to rate ourselves high. In particular, our historic outings in the 2019 General Elections and the 2019 Kogi State Governorship Polls cemented our faith that we have a vocal majority standing with us.

“My first term was heavily challenged by the absence of friendly federal legislators to help speak for Kogi State. Now that you have given us 3 out of 3 Senators, 7 out of 9 members of the House of Representatives and all 25 State Assembly members, we have no excuse left.

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“Moreso when you also reelected the President and Vice President thereby ensuring that my party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), can push through her governance objectives,” he said.

The governor solicited the supports of people of the state ahead of the Local Government election scheduled to hold in the state on December 12.

“I solicit your support and votes for all APC Chairmanship and Councillorship candidates across the 21 Local Government Areas. With my own people to interprete my policies at the 3rd tier of government in Kogi State, you have empowered me the more and I assure Kogites that this second term will be even better for our state,” he said.

The governor who also spoke on the gains of his administration’s Public Service and Pension Reforms, said it has helped in plugging leakages and corruption in the public service.

He however said that all those involved in compromising the payroll system to corruptly enrich themselves would be made to face the full wrath of the law.

“Our Public Service and Pension Reforms have been a huge success. Non-payment, late payment and percentage payment of salaries are becoming a distant memory to our workers.

“Prompt payment of salaries have become the norm now. Inasmuch as government revenues have always been tight since we took office and Covid-19 has worsened matters even more, we will endeavour to keep meeting our wages obligations to the genuine civil servants of Kogi States.

“However, the government will be taking legal action soon against some of those who compromised the system and fraudulently intercepted wages to which they were not entitled. Bringing consequences to those who compromised our workforce and payroll is one way we can forcefully deter such misconduct in future.

“To give you an idea of the huge scale of this problem, let me inform you that this administration has had to clear over N50 billion in salary obligations inherited from previous administrations.

“The bulk of that money was borrowed and along with our other debt obligations continues to impede our ability to free up funds for infrastructural and other development as we would like. Those who actions hurt our state and people must face a reckoning,” he said.

In the area of security, the governor said that his administration had done a lot in checkmating the activities of criminal elements especially kidnappers and armed robbers that hitherto terrorize people of the state.

“Be assured that we will never relent in our efforts to rid Kogi State of these antisocial and criminal elements,” he said.

 

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