The Kogi State government has said the success of the Omi Dam Agricultural Project is clear testimony of the genuineness of the state government’s determination to shift the state’s economy from civil service reliance to that of agricultural prosperity.
Speaking with journalists in Kabba at the weekend, the Director General of Media and Publicity to the governor, Kingsley Fanwo said the state government has “blazed the trail by providing jobs for more youth through the project than the combined civil service strength of Kogi West”, urging investors to “tap into the potentials of the Project to establish processing zones in the area”.
The DG continued: “Today, the Omi Dam Agricultural Project has provided more jobs than the combined number of all the Civil Servants from the seven Local Government Areas of Kogi West. This is the focus of His Excellency, Governor Yahaya Bello to redirect the state’s economy from white-collar base to that of a green revolution by becoming the number one food destination of Africa.
“The present administration in the state is working closely with the New Direction Blueprint which seeks to create jobs and human capacity development for wealth creation. Kogi is naturally endowed to excel in agriculture. We have taken a step further by transforming our potentials into reality through the massive agricultural projects in Omi, Osara, Ibaji and Idah.
“The aim of government is to refocus the economy and empower our youth and women to see agriculture as an easy way of combating hunger and poverty as well as making the state a big player in the global agricultural market.
“When completed, the ongoing Greenhouse Project at Osara will turn Kogi to an Agric hub and concentrate our population on adding to our revenue rather than depending on salaries”.
Fanwo further said the administration is concentrating on delivering democracy dividends to the people rather than joining issues with detractors who are bent on discrediting the administration for political reasons.
He continued: “As the poster of the youth in Nigerian politics, Governor Yahaya Bello has taken daring steps that are capable of fixing a badly damaged state. Such reforms provoke reactions expectedly. But he will remain committed to the wellness and progress of the state.
“A good number of capital projects have been initiated, completed and commissioned without much fanfare. Some projects are also in progress. The administration has completed over 300km of road construction across the state.
“All the road projects are ongoing simultaneously across the three Senatorial Districts of the State. We also make bold to say we have provided more water to our people more than any administration since the creation of Kogi State.
“The people of Kogi State appreciate what the Governor is doing and will not be swayed by the elitist war of some people who are pained by the fact that there is no more “free money” in the state. That is why they sponsor falsehood against the administration”.
On allegations of failure to pay salaries to civil servants, the Governor’s spokesperson said it is a “media creation, sponsored and sustained by the elites to create an image issue for the state.
“It is unfortunate that people have continued to sweep the facts under the carpet. We published details of salary payments in the national dailies and even on our website and no single person has come out to accuse us of publishing falsehood”.
Fanwo added: “In the North Central, we have one of the heaviest salary scale. Our scale is better than those of Kwara and Benue. I know a state that has not paid salaries for six months. But we have paid even the February salary. Kogi is only owing March salary.
“The question is: Why are we not hearing about the failure of some states to pay salaries for 6 months? It is clear that there is a conspiracy to give Kogi a bad image by the forces that are not comfortable with our reforms.
“Our allocation and improved internally generated revenue have been seriously strained. Bayelsa State takes in the excess of 15 billion Naira with a smaller workforce compared to Kogi State. We take less than 4 billion Naira and still service loans taken and either stolen or misappropriated by the previous administrations.
“But Governor Bello was not elected to complain. He was elected to find solutions to the barrage of problems he met on ground. Let us support him to succeed”.
He further dismissed the statement credited to Mr Femi Fani Kayode against the governor, insisting that the governor will not be distracted.
According to him, “Nigerians know Femi Fani Kayode and it will be a great disservice to those who respect the Governor if he responds to FFK”.
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