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Demands, high hopes, and expectations by Kogi people as Ododo takes the reins as the 12th governor

Amb. Ozovehe emphasized that the development plans are a directional arrow that gives the new government direction and allows CSOs in the state to monitor, evaluate, and give feedback to the government, as well as engage the citizens positively and give feedback.

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As the sun began to set over the bustling streets of Lokoja, the capital city of Kogi State, anticipation fills the air, expectations are high, fueled by the desire for change and progress. The people of Kogi are eagerly awaiting the inauguration of their new governor, Usman Ododo, with palpable hopes burning brightly in their hearts.

Per Second News takes a deep dive into a comprehensive and intriguing insight into the transition of power in Kogi State.

On January 27, 2024, Governor Yahaya Bello will have completed his second tenure of eight consecutive years, and it will be time for him to take a “bow” by handing over to his successor, and others will say his anointed candidate, Usman Ododo.

In the days leading up to the official handover of power by Governor Yahaya Bello-led administration, the city is abuzz with activities. Political billboards adorn every corner, proudly displaying the name of the incoming administration, with inscriptions such as “Ododo, the chosen one, “welcome, our ray of hope.”

“Welcome home, our illustrious son, Yahaya Bello,” amongst other warm welcoming notes.

Water-tight security measures have been put in place to ensure a peaceful environment while allowing the citizens to go about their daily lives with a sense of assurance. Stop-and-search operations are being carried out diligently, instilling a sense of safety in the people.

Behind closed doors, the outgoing governor’s team diligently prepared the necessary documents and statements, ensuring a smooth transition for the incoming administration. This potential peaceful exchange of power symbolizes the essence of democracy that Kogi State would be proud of.

As Usman Ododo gathers his team of experts, strategically appointing individuals based on merit and expertise, expectations grew. The selection of key positions such as local government caretakers, accountant general, auditor general, commissioners, special advisers, and heads of parastatals is being done meticulously to assemble a powerhouse of talent. Amongst them are, Hon Siyaka Adabenege Yakubu as the Auditor-General, Local Government and Dr. Habiba Onumoko as the first female Accountant general.

The transition committee, composed of members from the outgoing and incoming governments, is working tirelessly to ensure a seamless transfer of power. They engaged in deep discussions regarding ongoing projects, policy matters, and critical issues that required attention during this transitional period. The goal was to build upon the groundwork laid by the previous administration and drive Kogi State toward even greater heights.

Lugard House, Lokoja

However, as the transition ceremony draws near, the people of Kogi have highlighted the challenges that lay ahead while making demands and setting an agenda for the incoming governor. For instance, food inflation had plagued the state, earning Kogi the unfortunate title of the most expensive state to live in, according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).

In the same vein, civil society organizations are already voicing their concerns, urging the new administration to tackle this problem head-on. The Chairperson, Kogi NGO Network (KONGONET), Ambassador Idris Ozovehe, called for the implementation of a state-owned development plan that aligned with Usman Ododo’s 13 developmental areas, which he had highlighted during his campaign period, providing a roadmap for progress and good governance.

Amb. Ozovehe emphasized that the development plans are a directional arrow that gives the new government direction and allows CSOs in the state to monitor, evaluate, and give feedback to the government, as well as engage the citizens positively and give feedback.

Hamza Aliu, the Executive Director of the Initiative for Grassroots Advancement (INGRA), highlighted the poor economic indicators of the state and stressed the importance of focusing on essential sectors like food, transportation, and hospitality.

“By providing access to credit facilities for SMEs and agricultural inputs for small-scale farmers, Kogi’s GDP has the potential to experience economic transformation,” Aliu stated.

He expressed high hopes for the immediate conduct of local government elections, which the previous administration could not carry out because it was the closest form of government to the people.

Dansabe Umar, the Executive Director of Hands Across Africa and a prominent youth leader in the state echoed the desire of the people to include improvements in water supply, teachers’ remuneration, the provision of updated facilities in government primary and secondary schools, and affordable food commodities on the list of expectations. Inclusivity, employment creation for the youth, and a supportive environment for SMEs were seen as crucial elements for the state’s overall growth.

With the education sector in mind, Wemi Jones, the outgoing Commissioner for Education, Science, and Technology, expressed hope that the incoming administration would build upon the achievements of the previous government, especially regarding Kogi State University in Kabba.

As the voices of the people resounded with hope, the Obaro of Kabba, Oba Awoniyi, looked forward to innovations and an influx of professionals to contribute to the growth of every sector. He envisioned an administration that would enrich the social and economic lives of the people, bringing joy and prosperity to their doorsteps.

It is hoped that the administration will also prioritize the well-being of pensioners, the empowerment of women and girls, the security of the people, and the upliftment of every citizen.

With a colorful narrative, glitz, and glamour, Kogi’s great expectations come alive, painting a picture of a state on the brink of a remarkable transformation.

As the incoming governor, Ododo, and his team embark on this journey, it is only fitting to express hope that they will exceed the expectations of the people, ushering in an era of prosperity and well-being for all.

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