I am a Kogi State Citizen based in New York, United States of America. I am also the founder of Ebira Vonya International. Ebira, as a nation, is the 4th largest ethnic group in Nigeria. It has come to my attention that out of 21 local governments that constitute the formation of Kogi State, only Okene and Lokoja local governments have paid teachers and other local staff up to date. I was completely disheartened to hear such devastating news of your leadership. Not only were the flood victims poorly responded to, but also some of the allocation money from the Federal Government was not handled appropriately.
I am taking a keen interest on what is happening in Kogi State, as you know that Kogi State belongs to all Kogites. You are elected into office to govern and serve the ordinary citizens of Kogi State. Leadership means to be a servant of the people, not the people serving the leaders. As a leader, I expect you to sleep no more, when those that you serve are hungry and cannot take care of their families because the government decided that there is no need to pay their workers. I congratulated the two local governments caretakers that were able to squeeze their budget to pay their workers. Yet, we have 19 other local governments who have not paid their workers for the past six months. How can you possibly sleep knowing that those you govern cannot afford three square meals? Yet, those who are members of the executive branch of your administration (the assemblymen and assemblywomen) were leaving comfortably at the expense of the masses.
In every State, there suppose to be emergency contingency allocations in case of natural disasters just like this one that devastated our beloved State of Kogi. I am sure that all the costs of damages coursed by these natural disasters were in the billions of Naira. The budget allocations for emergency contingencies should have immediately gone to reduce the suffering of the affected regions. With this in mind, it is equally important to ensure that you set emergency teams to the areas where such disasters occurred. These teams would set up contingency plans that would then be reviewed and approved by the Governor prior to implementation.
Now on to other matters of concern, the idea that you hand picked all the 21 Local Government Caretakers of Kogi State is undemocratic, I urge you to immediately set up elections in all of the 21 LGs of our State, so that the ordinary citizens would have the opportunity to elect the people of their choice. That is what democracy is all about. As you handpicked all the 21 caretakers, there is absolutely no transparency in your leadership. The idea you clouded in my mind was simple; you deliberately handpicked them so that when you give them less allocation for their constituencies they have no guts to ask you about the right amount of allocations meant for them based on the budget of their constituency, whether it is incomplete or not. Since they are caretakers they must only accept what you, as the governor deemed necessary for them. That is not the kind of leadership you would want to be known for.
You have to remember, that as a Governor, you are making history. The kind of history you make largely depends on your leadership quality, which shapes the kind of legacy you leave behind at the end of your tenure. We all have obligations in the eyes of God to be fair and just as we are entrusted by the masses to govern them. I am sure you would like to be remembered as leaving the best legacy to ever exist Kogi State. Now is the time to work hard for such legacy.
The amount of wealth you acquire on earth does not determine the kind of life you would live when you part from it. Therefore it is prudent to ensure that we do things having it in mind that God provided that opportunity for you to serve the people. You should know that you may not be the best person in Kogi State and you may not be the most educated person in Kogi State. Yet, God choose you to lead therefore, your leadership on earth would be questioned by God our creator.
I do not want to address all the issues in this open letter to you, however you better believe it, that I am well aware of all the things that are happening in our State. It is time to put the bickering aside and work together to alleviate our state out from poverty. This is the time, as the Governor of Kogi State, to continue to push all the state senators and the House of Representatives to ensure that their number one priority at the federal level is to see to the completion of Ajaokuta Steel project. If that Steel plant is completed it would put majority of Kogi State Citizens to work including entire Nigerian youths which would serve a good purpose for your leadership. You could use your connections at the Federal level to facilitate such development of Itakpe and Ajaokuta Steel project.
In the nutshell, I urge you to immediately pay the teachers that are taking care of the future leaders of our State. If one soul in Kogi State is hungry the entire State is affected. Teachers and other local staff who have not been paid cannot effectively educate the future of tomorrow. It is unrealistic, that our leaders have their salary with a lot of allowances, when those who are really in the field making a difference in the lives of our children and youths are ignored. Since you are an ex-pilot, you must have flown abroad to see the quality of life our people are denied. I prayed to God to provide us the vision to move Kogi State forward. I am proud to be a citizen of Kogi State! Proud to be a Nigerian!
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of SaharaReporters