{Full Speech}: 2rd Anniversary of Capt Idris Ichalla Wada As Governor of Kogi State, Achievements

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{Full Speech}: Gov Idris Ichalla Wada’s Achievement at 2nd Year Anniversary in office

The Capt Idris Ichalla Wada’s administration clocks two years in office today. This piece examines the achievements of the administration against the background of the expectations of the people.


Fellow Citizens of Kogi State,
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Two years have passed since I first addressed you as the Governor of Kogi State on January 27, 2012. I believe many of you can remember the circumstances in which, on that fateful day, my Deputy and I had to assume office more than two months ahead of our scheduled inauguration. We give thanks to Almighty God who has enabled us to confront the initial challenges and the subsequent ones along the way with focus, clarity and courage. We wish to express our profound gratitude to all Kogi Citizens in all walks of life whose unflinching support, immeasurable understanding and fervent prayers have sustained and strengthened us.

While it is true to state that two years is indeed a very short time in the life of a people, it cannot be said to be a short time in the life of an administration. That is why I consider it most appropriate to use this occasion to present our mid-term report vis-à-vis the Vision and Mission we articulated on assumption of office.

In this regard, it will be recalled that less than a week after I took the Oath of Office, I inaugurated a 23-man Think Tank to produce a Blueprint for the Transformation of Kogi State. The Think Tank worked assiduously to produce, in record time, an outstanding document outlining strategic development policies and programmes along eight sectoral clusters – notably Agriculture and Natural Resources, Infrastructure, Commerce and Industry (including SMEs, Tourism and Solid Minerals), Human Capital Development, Social Services, Integrated Rural Development and Good Governance Issues. I will like to state emphatically that I consider the Blueprint one of the major achievements of our Administration because it provides a developmental framework that can stand the test of time.

In our determination to ensure that the Blueprint was well understood and internalized by all political appointees, we planned an elaborate 4-day retreat for them and the top echelon of the Civil Service. Unfortunately, this plan was aborted by the unprecedented flood disaster that affected many States in the country in September 2012. We only succeeded in putting up a scaled down version for top Government Officials by the Secretary to the State Government. Kogi State was ranked among the most adversely affected States in the Federation. The flood which wreaked havoc in 9 Local Government Areas in the State led to the displacement of over 600,000 people while property worth more than Three Billion were destroyed. These included about 304,775 hectares of land and 61,775 houses. We acted immediately and aggressively by setting up the Flood Disaster Relief Committee to co-ordinate the flood management efforts of the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) and Voluntary Organizations as well as the intervention of the Federal Government and International Agencies.

In view of the magnitude of the flood disaster, the deployment of considerable human efforts and financial resources for its effective management temporarily affected our well laid out development programmes.

The flood disaster was not the only serious challenge our Administration had to grapple with. I believe in the history of our nation, no State Governor has had to contend with as many litigations as I have had to do and as I am still doing. Apart from the Election Tribunal which terminated at the Supreme Court, there were eleven litigations, ranging from the sublime to the ridiculous. Three of them are still pending in the Supreme Court. All of them were deliberately instigated to distract, frustrate and immobilize us. In fact it has become the favourite pastime of some people to peddle rumours of my impending removal from office. Regrettably, the architects and financiers of these distractions are the most vociferous critics of our Administration.

As if these were not enough to impede our progress all Governments at the Local, State and Federal Levels are grappling with dwindling resources which sometimes make it difficult to meet basic obligations like salaries. In spite of these well known constraints we have recorded remarkable achievements in the critical areas of Good Governance, Agriculture, Infrastructure, Education and Human Capital Development, Job Creation and Youth Empowerment, Rural Development and Poverty Reduction as well as the Delivery of Health Services.
THE IMPERATIVES OF GOOD GOVERNANCE
One of the areas in which the Think Tank advised our Administration to focus is Good Governance. The focus on Governance emphasizes that accountability and probity in governance, elimination of endemic corruption, complete value reorientation, inclusiveness as well as harmony across ethnic and religious boundaries are indispensable conditions for successful transformation. Accordingly, we have made these core values and pillars of Good Governance our watchwords and the guiding Principles of our Public Policy decisions. Towards this end, political appointments have been fairly and equitably distributed and devoid of acrimonies.

There is manifest transparency in the procurement process while the Fiscal Responsibility Act has been demonstrated to enhance financial management discipline. The State Government has also constructed a Central Store with a view to reducing the cost and pilferage of goods being purchased by Government. Furthermore, we have undertaken a reform of our Internally Generated Revenue machinery with a view to blocking all loopholes and leakages in the collection process. As a result of these efforts, internally generated revenue has more than doubled. This is expected to raise revenue generation level by 100%.

GENERAL ADMINISTRATION AND WORKERS’ WELFARE
As I stated while inaugurating the Think Tank, a Governor cannot govern well without a skilled, knowledgeable and loyal civil service. I am NOT one of those who believe that Civil Servants or the bureaucracy are our problems. Rather, I believe the problems are the environment in which they work, their level of training, motivation, their remuneration and what they can realistically look forward to after service. In order to ensure that our civil servants are highly motivated and result-oriented, we have brought a lot of improvements to the environment in which they work as well as their general welfare. We have faithfully implemented National Minimum Wage while ensuring that salaries, allowances and pension are paid regularly. Funds are released regularly for offsetting huge arrears of gratuity. Other achievements of Government include:
a. Massive training and retraining of all cadres of Civil Servants within and outside Nigeria to enhance efficiency and productivity.
b. Completion of Phase II of the State Secretariat.
c. Assisting civil servants at subsidized rate to make them ICT compliant.
d. Industrial harmony in the State.

AGRICULTURE AND NATURAL RESOURCES
It is the view of the Think Tank that the focus on agriculture is based on the fact that Kogi is primarily an agricultural State. Agriculture remains the largest source of employment and income for most of our people and the source of raw materials for agro-based industries. Consequently, efforts to increase personal incomes and reduce poverty must begin with agriculture. Besides, the State is highly endowed in agriculture and natural resources such as fertile arable land, forests and river basins for irrigation farming.

The State has effectively keyed into the Federal Government’s Accelerated Rice Programme (ARP) and the Cassava Value Chain Programme. Under the ARP the State has put 1,500 hectares of land under rice cultivation, while 250 hectares of land is being opened up in each Local Government Area. The land is being cultivated and allocated to women and youth co-operative groups.

The Federal Government is also collaborating with the State to establish Staple Crop Processing Zones (SCPZs) for Rice and Cassava. The Cassava SCPZ is located in Alape in Kabba/Bunu LGA. The State Government is working with investors like Dangote, BUA, Nigeria Flourmills, Chelsea Farms and American Rice Farmers and Cargill International to develop the SCPZs. Over 200 youths and women have been trained in Cassava Chips, Grits and Garri Processing. Other breakthroughs recorded in Agriculture include:
a. Acquisition of 10,000 hectares of land in Acharu for Oil Palm Plantation.
b. Development of Sugar Cane Plantations and Processing by the BUA Group.
c. Production of Soya Beans in selected LGAs in collaboration with UNDP, Federal Ministry of Agric and Two Scale NGO.
d. Green House Tomato Project.
e. Effective Implementation of the Growth Enhancement Support Scheme under the agricultural transformation of the Federal Government. About 30,000 farmers have benefited from the Scheme which has cost the State about N80 million as our 25% contribution.
f. The State Cocoa Development Scheme in 9 LGAs into which the State Government has paid about N30 million.
g. Aggressive implementation of the Fadama Development Project.
h. Cooperation with the Republic of Vietnam on Accelerated Rice Programme.

INFRASTRUCTURE DEVELOPMENT
The Think Tank has justified its recommendation to focus on Agriculture on my observation at their inauguration that during my campaign tour of LGAs 17 out of 21 Local Governments put the request for roads on the top of their priorities. It is also based on the recognition that no meaningful agricultural production can occur without adequate rural roads network.

Our approach to the provision of infrastructure has been largely dictated by the wisdom in completing ongoing projects especially roads. In the Housing and Urban Development sub-sector inherited and completed projects include:
a. Deputy Governor’s Office
b. Secretariat Phase II
c. Vice Chancellor’s Office of Federal University, Lokoja
d. Ministry of Agriculture building
e. Civil Service Commission Building.
f. State High Courts and Magistrate Courts.
g. Completion of Residence of the President of Customary Court of Appeal.

The ongoing or new projects include the following:
i. Renovation of the Governor’s Residence
ii. Reconstruction of the Deputy Governor’s Residence.
iii. New Conference Beach Hotel, Lokoja
iv. Renovation of General Hospital in Dekina, Idah and Ankpa
v. Construction of Post Flood Housing Estate Lokoja.
vi. Construction of Residence of Grand Khadi.

In the road/transport sub-sector, some inherited Township and Inter-town roads have been completed. These include:
a. Ganaja Junction – Ganaja Village (Diversion)
b. Erosion Control, Ajaka – Ibachi Road
c. Ogaminana Township Road
d. Dualisation of Idah Township Road
e. Dualization of Ankpa Township Road
f. 3 & 4 Span Bridges on Shintaku Odugbo Mozun Road
g. Okura Township Road
h. Ankpa – Oloku – Okaba Road
Also in the same sub-sector, the following roads are on-going:
i. Abejukolo Township Road
ii. Ageva – Ogori Road
iii. Kabba Township Road
iv. Lokoja Township Road Lot 5 – 75% Completion
v. Iyara Township Road
vi. Lokoja Mount Patti Road
vii. Rehabilitation of Kotonkarfe Township Road
viii. Ofugo – Ika – Iloni – Icheke Road
Our Blueprint has justified the focus on Human Capital Development in general and education in particular on the fact that education is the most powerful weapon for fighting poverty, ensuring mobility and enhancing our competitiveness nationally and globally. As I also stated while inaugurating the Think Tank, the decline of our education system is doubly unfortunate. First because the old Kabba Province had a great reputation for its high level of well-educated manpower who, like me and my Deputy, are products of public schools with excellent educational facilities. Secondly, because we are living in a world whose knowledge has become the major creator of wealth.

In recognition of the pivotal role of our Tertiary Institutions in Human Capital Development, a lot of resources have been committed to raising their standards. For example apart from recurrent expenditure over N500 million has been made available to Kogi State University in the last two years for the following:
i. Support for Cashew Processing Unit
ii. Construction of two Students’ Hostels.
iii. Accreditation of Academic Programmes
iv. Take off of the Faculty of Medicine.

Funds have also been made available for similar projects at Kogi Polytechnic, Lokoja and College of Education Technical, Kabba, and College of Education, Ankpa. In addition, the sum of N83 million and N400 million has been provided for the payment of WASSCE fee for 42,558 candidates for May/June 2013 examination and payment of Bursary to Law School Students respectively.

Our investment on health like education is guided by the objective of making them qualitative, accessible and affordable. It is also based on the fact that investment in education and health is not just social but economic. A healthy and educated child or adult is more productive and constitutes less burden to the society.

The following projects inherited from the previous administration have been completed which include:
a. Construction and equipping of comprehensive Diagnostic Imaging and Laboratory Services Centre, Lokoja.
b. Construction of General Hospital Icheke
c. Construction of Primary Health Centre, Imane.
d. Procurement of Medical Diagnostic equipment.

Other projects in the Health Sector include:
i. Free medical service
ii. Establishment of Primary Health Care Development Agency
iii. Elevation of School of Nursing Obangede to a College of Nursing.
iv. Payment of Counterpart Funds of about N75 million for several Health Intervention Programmes such as Safe Motherhood, Polio Eradication, Routine Immunization etc. As a testimony to the success of our Health Dare Programmes we won the First Position in the North Central Zone for the Bill and Melinda Gate Polio Eradication Challenge Award.

RURAL DEVELOPMENT
In my inaugural address to the Think Tank, I observed that the bane of our Rural Development efforts is that the various components are not integrated. This informed my decision to establish the Ministry of Rural Development where all the various projects aimed at eliminating rural poverty can be brought together so that they can be singularly effective but mutually reinforcing. The various components are Rural Water Supply, Rural Roads, Primary Health Care. There are also various Intervention Programmes like the Kogi State Community and Social Development Agency and the Millennium Development Goals.

In the Intervention Programmes, our strategy is to ensure the payment of our Counterpart Funds so that we can benefit maximally. Consequently, we have recorded the following achievements:
a. Disbursement of about N445 million to projects under the Community and Social Development Project (CSDP) in various sectors like education, rural electrification, transport and water.
b. The State Government paid N495 million as counterpart fund under MDG’s Conditional Grant Scheme (CGS) in the year 2012.
c. As a result of (b) above the State and Local Governments have been able to embark on projects worth N1.037 billion in the areas of Solar Boreholes, Construction of Primary Health Clinic, Classrooms, Purchase of Ambulances and Water Projects.

YOUTH AND SPORTS DEVELOPMENT
Apart from completing the Lokoja Confluence Stadium, additional investments have been made to bring it to International standard. These include the purchase of 2 Nos. 1,500 KVA generators. Kogi State has also made impressive appearances in Zonal and National Sports Championships.

COMMERCE AND INDUSTRY
Our generous endowments in mineral, natural and agricultural resources make us a potential industrial hub in the country. The success story of Obajana Cement Company has amply demonstrated the great possibilities that exist in Cement alone. Equally promising is that of agro-based industries for the processing of cassava, oil palm, sugar cane, cashew and sesame seeds. We have adopted the two-pronged strategy of promoting commercial agriculture and facilitating the establishment of large-scale agro-based industries in partnership with local and foreign investors. At the same time, we have been providing support and incentives for indigenes of the State to establish small and medium enterprises. The successes we have recorded include the following:
a. Completion of all infrastructural projects at the Confluence Fertilizer Company Ltd, Agbeji – Anyigba which has made it possible for the company to commence production.
b. Special Projects Intervention Scheme in the State involving 91 SMEs
c. MoU for Coal Fired Plants for electricity generation has been signed. The expected outcome is massive employment and wealth creation, for our people and increased revenue generation for government.
d. The ongoing Cassava/Ethanol/Jathropha – Castenol Project at Icheke in Omala Local Government.

The project when completed will enhance the State Government’s contribution to the nation’s development of clean and renewable energy.
e. The ground breaking ceremony of the Kogi State Cement Company, Itobe has been performed.

In keeping with the State Government’s Policy of attracting resources from the rest of the world, we have brokered 12 MoUs with foreign partners worldwide. Some of the MoUs are:
i. A joint venture agreement with Oster Trade Engineering, and Manufacturing for the farming of up to 6,000 hectares of Cassava and processing it into Cassava starch.
ii. A joint venture with DPP International APS for Cassava Farming estimated to cost 650 Million USD.
iii. MoU with Chelsea Group for the establishment of large-scale Agriculture and Ethanol plant and other associated industries in Ilama, community in Dekina LGA. It is a 300 million USD investment.
iv. Light House Financial Services Limited to build 1,500 houses of various categories in Lokoja and other towns in the State.
v. Good Earth Power Nig. Limited and Astra Coal Nig. Limited Companies to invest in Housing, Agriculture, Infrastructure and Power Plants. Company to establish a Rice Farm at Ibaji, with infrastructures such as Healthcare Centres, Schools and Roads.
vi. KIABO Engineering Group Holding Limited Hong Kong, to Design, Construct and operate an eleven storey Hotel and offices to be known as Kogi House.
vii. BUA Sugar, Dangote Sugar and Unikem Sugar Companies to establish Sugar Cane Plantations and also set up refining facilities.
viii. A joint venture agreement for the Achaju Oil Palm Plantation.

JOB CREATION, YOUTH AND WOMEN DEVELOPMENT
One of the first appointments I made on assumption of office is that of a Special Adviser on Youth and Women Development in recognition of the great challenges posed by Youth unemployment and its attendant social problems. Such social problems like thuggery which manifested themselves even around and within the seat of Government had assumed such dangerous proportions that it became obvious that we had start empowering the youth rather than ignoring them.

Many programs have been developed with the objective of engaging the youth and women positively, developing their entrepreneurial skills and enhancing their income generation capabilities. Notable among these programs are:
a. Training of 10 youths at the National Agricultural Extension Research Liaison Services (NAERLs) at ABU Zaria to enable beneficiaries expand their businesses. They were subsequently given grants by the Federal Ministry of Youth Development for this purpose.
b. The Youth Advancement and Development Programme for Kogi State (YAD4Kogi) which is aimed at addressing youth unemployment in the State. The scheme which is designed for training unemployed graduates in Agro Entrepreneurship development involved 349 males and 244 females in September 2012. The second phase which took place in January 2013 involved 442 participants.
c. YAD4Kogi Public Works:
This set of trainees consist of Primary school leavers, secondary school leavers and school drop outs who are trained to carry out environmental sanitation jobs in their various LGAs. The training which has been done in four phases between October 2012 and August 2013 has involved a total number of 3460 participants. The trainees who are called volunteers are property kitted to carry out their assignments.
d. Dangote Foundation Micro-Grant Beneficiary Selection:
Following Dangote Foundation Proposal to give Micro-grants to 22,000 women in Kogi State, the Office of the Special Adviser on Youth and Women Development has commenced the selection process. The selection process is expected to be completed soon so that the programme can be inaugurated.

Other Women Programmes which were properly anchored by the Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development include:
i. The hosting of Women Forum organized by Nestle Nigeria Plc.
ii. The hosting of Youth Enterprise with Innovation in Nigeria (You WIN) in the North-Central Zone.

ACTIVITIES OF THE WIFE OF THE GOVERNOR
The wife of the Governor, Her Excellency, Hajia Halima Ladi Wada has been a pillar of support in the State Government’s quest for accelerated development. In addition to her routine humanitarian support for the disadvantaged and vulnerable members of the society, she has established the Kogi Women Empowerment Network (KOWEN). The Mission of KOWEN is to stimulate the socio-economic growth of the State by empowering women to become more effective growth agents. Some of the projects embarked on by KOWEN are:
 Advanced Fashion Design/Textile Production (Adire and Campala) Project in Lokoja.
 Establishment of Kogi Palm Oil Processing Factory at Ikanekpo-Ankpa.
 Establishment of a pilot Fish Processing Project at Idah.
 Micro-Enterprise Management Training/Grant Disbursement.
 Establishment of nine boreholes across the State in collaboration with Ministry of Water Resources.
 Climate Change Adaptation Project “Green for Cash” and Tree Planting.
 KOWEN/KOSACA Programme Implementation, including World AIDS Day campaign.

LOOKING AHEAD
Although we are reasonably satisfied with the achievements recorded in the last two years in the face of the daunting challenges earlier enumerated, it is desirable to fast-track and scale up our development projects especially in the area of critical infrastructure. This has informed our decision to procure a N20 billion Bond for Infrastructure Development.

Following the Completion Board Meeting, the proceeds which will soon be available will be utilized for the following infrastructural projects:
a. Construction of Otokiti – Ganaja – Lokoja Multi-lane Carriage Way.
b. Asphaltic overlay of New Market/ Murtala Mohammed/ Barrack/ Kabba Junction (20.75 kilometres).
c. 500 Housing units in Lokoja Metropolis
d. Kogi State Geographic Information System Phase II
e. Water Schemes in the following locations in the East Senatorial District: Ejule, Odu-Okpakili, Idah, Ankpa, Agaliga, Imane, Ajka, Anyigba and Oguma
f. Water Schemes in the following locations in the Central Senatorial District: Okene Water Works, Ekuku Water Works, Adogo, Ogori, Magongo, Essomi, Egge, Idoji (Okene North), Idoji (Okene South), Ageva, Kuroko, Obangede, Nagazi, Oboroke and Ikuehi
g. Water Schemes in the following locations in the West Senatorial District: Kabba Dam Resuscitation and Water Works Rehabilitation, Rehabilitation of Water Schemes in Egbe, Isanlu, Omi, Ogidi, Mopa, and rehabilitation and extension of Aiyegunle-Gbedde water Scheme.
h. Extension of Greater Lokoja Water Scheme and metering of connection points
i. Provision of Infrastructure and Equipment to five zonal hospitals at Ankpa, Idah, Dekina, Kabba and Okene, as well as construction of five new cottage hospitals
j. Construction of 65-bed Hospital at Odu Ogboyaga.
k. Infrastructural Development of the proposed University Teaching Hospital, Anyigba.

CONCLUSION
My dear Citizens of Kogi State, permit me to emphasize that a peaceful and harmonious atmosphere is an indispensable for socio-economic development. We thank God that in spite of the very challenging security situation in some parts of the country we have enjoyed relative unity and peace in the State. We have an enviable record of religious harmony. More importantly, Kogi is no longer constantly in the news for the wrong reasons as peace has returned to areas formerly regarded as flashpoints. We however need to be eternally vigilant and ensure that our differences are not allowed to harden into anger again.
Finally, while we will strive to offer committed and sincere leadership, I urge you all to continue to demonstrate trust, faith, understanding, and support for me and my team as we strive to serve you better. If we continue to work together the next two years of our Administration will definitely witness a quantum leap in our development.

God bless you.

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