Opinion: Capt Wada is working for now and future in shrinking revenue allocations
It is no news that revenue accruing to state governments has been on the decline, forcing economic experts to conclude that many Nigerian states are either not viable or have failed or heading for failure unless such state governments begin to look inwardly to augment allocation from the federation account through projects that are revenue generating.
Kogi State under Governor Idris Wada aptly fits the bill of states that appear to be ahead of time in this new thinking with its intense, massive drive towards initiating and executing projects intended to ensure the future growth of the state with less dependences.
The Kogi House project at the Abuja Central Business District, the remodeling of Kogi Hotels, the construction of the mega motor, park at Felele in Lokoja, and the institute of vocational training and advanced technology, which has been completed, are notable, verifiable examples of this vision.
The essence and benefits of these projects came to the fore penultimate Thursday, when Wada, on a routine inspection of some going projects, visited some of the sites.
Wada said the essence of routine project inspections, which is the hallmark of the administration since It came on board more than three years ago, is not only to ensure that the projects are executed to specifications but are delivered on schedule. He enthused that the projects when completed will rewrite the history of Kogi State.
Penultimate Tuesday, Governor Wada inaugurated a world class institute for technical and vocational training.
Located in Lokoja the Kogi State Capital, The Nigeria-Korea Friendship Institute of Vocational Training and Advancement Technology which is a joint project by the Korea International Cooperation Agency(KOICA) and the Kogi State Government is regarded as a huge boost to technical education in Nigeria.
Governor Wada disclosed that students of Kogi origin, sponsored by government, have undergone training in Korea
Republic, and are well equipped to handle the equipment in the technological centre, which he described as “world class”.
“Our students who went to Korea for training are very knowledgeable, they were impressive the way they explained the workings of the various machines and equipment that we have here. I am highly optimistic that all those who will graduate from this institute will become useful candidates of Kogi State and Nigeria and will impact positively on
Kogi, Nigeria and themselves because many of them will go out and set up their own businesses”.
The Governor said recent economic recession has shown that the task of governance in the present times calls for ingenuity on the part of policy makers and resource managers.
According to the governor, the mega terminal whose work has reached 75 percent completion, is meant to generate revenue, stressing that the facility would provide quality services to road transport workers, vehicle operators and travelers alike.
The park located at Felele, along Abuja-Lokoja highway, and awarded at the cost of N1.2 billion would on completion meet the needs of the state in view of its gateway status, with twenty-three states criss crossing the state on a daily basis. Facilities available at the park include a clinic, automobile workshop, eatery, a bank, police post, offices and shops. It is designed to help de congest the highway of vehicles that cluster the road and cause obstruction to free flow of traffic.
Representative of Planet Project Limited, contractors handling the project, Engineer Abiodun described the terminal as the first of its kind in Nigeria, focusing on revenue generation while also placing the people at the heart of the project. He explained that by the time the terminal becomes operational, an estimated 50,000 people from across the country will use the facilities.
“It is not a white elephant project. It is a gigantic project. The Abuja-Lokoja road is used by everyone. The mega terminal will impact Kogi people and Nigerians”, he added.
The governor was conducted round the parking lots of the busses section expected to accommodate about 250 buses, public convenience, drivers lounge and 17 buildings designed to host various business activities.
Visibly delighted members of the drivers unions who trooped out to join the governor during the inspection applauded Wada’s efforts and his vision while also expressing their happiness as the end users of the park.
Abdulrahaman Wuya, commissioner for transport, while disclosing that the mega park could accommodate two hundred and fifty buses, assured that the project would be commissioned on schedule.
At Kogi Hotel project sites, Wada explained that the remodelling of the hotel would provide quality accommodation, conference and sports facilities for the people of the state and top calibre visitors to the state capital.
The governor expressed satisfaction with the quality of work at the various sites. He commended the contractors for not compromising standards and urged them to sustain the tempo.
He said, “The transformation of Kogi Hotel will provide high quality accommodation, conference facilities, sports facilities for our people and for visitors. People who come here, when they see such things, they will rate our state as a quality place and they will come again. Every visitor adds value to the economy of the state. So we are working for now and working for the future. As you can see the quality speaks for itself and am happy with the quality of work and I must commend the contractor; they are doing well…in this time of hard situation, the way the contractor s keep the work going even if we don’t pay them on time, we appreciate them and I will urge them to continue so that we can remain partners into the future.”
Conducting the governor round the project, commissioner for culture and tourism, Mr Kayode Olowomoran said the Kogi Hotels project that is 95 percent completed would be commissioned in December.
Kogi is believed to be pregnant with projects ongoing across the state. Projects such as the 500 housing units in Ganaja and crusher, the State University Teaching Hospital, the Kogi diagnostic and imaging centre and the Kogi House project, Abuja, a seventeen storey edifice, are some on-going projects when completed are expected to complement revenue generation in the state.
Other projects on-going that would have direct bearing on the lives of the people are the 16km Ganaja-Otokiti road, welcome to Lokoja-new market road, and the township roads in Mopa, Iyara, Egbe, Kabba, Ankpa, Dekina, Lokoja and Koton-karfe. The administration has so far completed 58 road projects across the state. Governor Wada on assumption of office made it a policy to complete projects inherited by his administration some of these projects include the completion of greater Lokoja water works, the Confluence Beach Hotels, the Confluence Stadium and the state secretariat complex phase II amongst several others.
Writtened by Ralph Agbana and Abu Micheal.