Kogi state is in a mess and needs a remedy to bring it back to the path of development; that remedy is a new kind of leadership accompanied by a new type of politics. As regrettable as Yahaya Bello is the governor of the state now, beside the president of the country, the governor is one of the most important public officers.
January 26, 2016 was a watershed in the history of Kogi state in many respects-the people celebrated the emergence of a youthful governor after the Buhari tsunami that swept the political horizon of the country including Kogi state. The goodwill which greeted the emergence of this youthful governor has given way to despair and a cry for change because of the current resentment at the mention of the name Yahaya Bello.
Today, Kogi state is characterised by poor ratings by key investors and rating agencies the consequences of which are visible in the welfare of employees of the state government and the multiplier effects on businesses and establishments.
Security is compromised, education is poor and trade is handicapped, health care is comatose and human capital development is dead. Peaceful coexistence among tribes died a long time ago no thanks to the bad administration of the APC in the state.
Grave allegations of gross misconduct have been leveled against the governor and key members of his cabinet by independent agencies. These allegations include the use of state power to intimidate citizens who dare to speak truth to power and the subduing of the legislature to toe the line of the executive against the people.
On the pretence of wanting to identify and rid the state civil service of ghost worker, a verification exercise was set up more than three years ago and still on-going with the implication of many workers being owed 6-24 months salaries.
The integrity of not a few state officials and local officials of the APC has been called to question in Kogi state by local and foreign media which caused many party faithful to wonder if the party is still a veritable instrument for championing the leadership ideals of the state founding fathers.
In recognition of the yearnings for a new kind of leadership and social order in Kogi state, it is therefore important for a benchmark to be set. Kogi state shares proximity with the Federal Capital Territory which affluence should be made by the leadership to rub on our people.
While this is a tall order for the current administration which is bereft of ideas, tact, initiation and solutions, concerned children of mother Kogi must ensure that in the next dispensation only the best is good for Kogi.
In a few months, another opportunity will be provided for the people to decide the future of the state. Already some individuals have indicated interest in managing the affairs of the state in the next dispensation but quite a few tend to understand the pressing needs of Kogi state. Many say they will build roads, some want to tap the agricultural potentials of the state, others just want to attain a level of significance using the gubernatorial elections as a launch pad. As interesting as most of these promises may seem something is lacking and that is the understanding of the basic needs of kogi state.
However, an individual who understands the basic needs of Kogi state and who is not lacking in leadership credentials is Alhaji Zakari Alfa.
From a global perspective, he understands that the needs of Kogi state can be summarized into two, namely, the corporate needs of Kogi state as a legal entity and the individual needs of Kogi people who make up the state. Any individual who is oblivious of this narrative should be persuaded by all lovers of Kogi state to reevaluate his quest for the gubernatorial seat because we must put a stop to the learning-on-the-job syndrome.
Zakari Alfa understands the real issues and one of it is government must meet its obligations to its workforce. The APC has failed in this regard and continues to score one low point after another in the indices of leadership and that is why we need a change. Zakari Alfa will be prudent in the management of state’s funds and this will show in its loan portfolios. The aforementioned is a snippet of the needs of Kogi state as a corporate entity. The people of the state need peace and development through the provision of infrastructure that can better the life of the average Kogite. All these Zakari Alfa understands as development is a two way thing -the development of the society and the development of the people at individual level.
The way forward for kogi state: Many people agree that the present APC government in the state has only caused pain, misery and penury to the people of the state. The onus of real change therefore falls on the opposition represented today in the state by the PDP.
Consequently, the opposition is expected to provide the real alternative leadership that understands the needs of the people and is ready to provide an irreducible standard of verifiable leadership as an alternative to the APC. Zakari Alfa is the alternative leadership the people yearn for.
How this candidate of the PDP will emerge is too close to call and subject to diverse interpretations. One thing is clear-the PDP must be prepared to first and foremost put itself on a psychological position to produce this needed candidate before anything else. The system of leadership recruitment must be changed in the PDP and put right this time around because there will be no second chance for it to reform itself from the negative perceptions of the past. For a state in need of economic salvation, social justice, political restructuring and reconciliation, it is only ideal for any process and candidate that emerges and seeks to challenge the APC to possess the requisite qualities and credentials and Zakari Alfa is that candidate.
Mohammed writes from Lokoja, Kogi state.