Since I read the piece purportedly written by one Mr. Amuda Dan Suleiman to the effect that Governor Yahaya Bello was barred from travelling abroad, I have restrained myself from responding to the calumnious, spurious and malicious publication by sponsored renegades of the opposition.
My restraint was informed by so many factors. One, the architects came up with so many versions of the story. To some dreamers, Buhari stopped the Governor. To some mischief-brewers, security agencies barred the Governor from travelling. And to the last set of abridged thinkers, Sen. Dino Melaye physically went to the airport to stop the Governor.
Let us however give the sponsors the glory of weaving up a nexus of agreement on the reason why the Governor was “stopped “ from travelling. They claimed the alleged stoppers told the Governor to go back and pay salaries before embarking on any international trip.
To set the record straight, nobody stopped the Governor from travelling abroad. Nobody would have anyway, because he reserves such right to travel even as salary payments have been ongoing. Only a few MDAs, who haven’t complied with the wage bill integrity are yet to be paid and they are few.
The sponsors of the write-up have a clear mission : To smear the personality of the Governor and distract him from his laudable projects and programs in the State, which is making him more and more popular among the people. The goal of the sponsors was clearly defeated.
The elbow of attack by the detractors has been sprung on their desperation to discredit the Governor and set the people against him. The Kogi State Staff Verification Exercise has emerged as the most scientific and meticulous. It was an all-out approach aimed at weeding out the canker worms, who had made it impossible for Kogi State to progress. As a Governor who is determined to succeed, it is logic-wise to confront the cog in the wheels of progress.
Why salaries were delayed
Salaries were delayed for a few weeks in Kogi State because of the inevitable necessity to ensure only those who serve Kogi are paid by Kogi. Investigations showed that many people who work in companies outside the State draw their salaries from the coffers of the State.
There were examples of people who work with para-military organizations and still draw salaries from Kogi State with myriads of implications. One, the State payrolls grew fatter while productivity waned. The State wage bill outgrew its revenue, making it realistically impossible to build roads, provide medicare, support education and improve the welfare of the people.
While it is non-negotiable to pay workers their dues, government recognizes the percentage of the population that constitute the public service and also, the need to service the over 80% that are not engaged by government. It was time for government to take a bold decision, which a responsible and responsive government would ordinarily do. Governor Yahaya Belllo did just that and should be in our hall of fame.
What will the verification exercise bring to the table?
The quick wins are enormous. It means government will be able to regularize payment of genuine workers. That has since commenced as workers now smile to the bank with many months’ salaries. Two, it will free more funds for capital projects for the benefit of the Kogi people. Three, it will foster industrial harmony between government and the people.
An example of the third benefit was witnessed in the State recently as civil servants shunned a recent strike called by the union leaders. When the people trust their leaders, governance becomes a screen of responsibility.
As you read this piece, Kogi State is going through massive reconstruction, physical and psychological. While road constructions are going on everywhere; our environment is getting cleaner. Investors are trooping into the State and the economy is looking up.
Governor Yahaya Bello has also taken the bull by the horn by ensuring reinforcement of the security apparatus in the State to combat the menace. We are winning the war!
The beauty of opportunity cost
Governor Yahaya Bello understands that both delivery and distraction are competing for his attention. Yielding to distraction will surely stifle delivery. When you deliver, detractors will begin to find new jobs. The bottom line is: We won’t respond to everything but under this government, Kogites will be adequately and strategically informed.
Governor Yahaya Bello is determined to reposition the State. As your servant, he understands the resistance that comes with change. But change we must, if we must progress. He is not thinking about the next election but about the present and the next generation.
As someone who was brought up in the grassroots, he understands what you are going through. He is with you in your challenges, but added to his role is the sacrosanctity of finding solutions to your challenges.
He understands what it is not to be paid salaries. He understands the pains families go through. He feels the pains and that was why he directed the payment of many months’ wages to cushion the pain. He is you!
The Governor has also promised that no legitimate job will be lost. An appeal panel is in progress to look into complaints which may emanate from the screening exercise. As we crave good leadership, let us also construct excellent followership that will support leaders to succeed. Mutual trust is key.
This is our Governor of choice, the Governor to trust.
God bless Kogi State.
– Kingsley Fanwo
Chief Press Secretary to the Governor