Gov. Yahaya Bello of Kogi State revealed on Saturday that he has no political ambition for now but to help President Bola Tinubu succeed.
Responding to a question about his next move after governorship, being one of the major presidential aspirants during the presidential primary of the All Progressives Congress (APC), the governor pointed out that all Nigerians would have succeeded if President Tinubu succeeded.
Gov. Bello spoke at an interactive session with journalists at the 3rd Annual GYB Seminar for Nigeria’s Political & Crime Correspondents and Editors in Abuja.
While pointing out that God had been kind to him, he said, “I thank God for my successes and achievements as governor of Kogi. I know where I met the state, and I am happy with where I have taken the state.
“I believe that the APC candidate, Usman Ododo, will build on the solid foundation we have laid down for Kogi State, and the November 11, 2023, Kogi governorship election will be a landslide victory for the APC.
Reacting to a question on ensuring that all members remained in the APC fold in the state, Bello said that the party remained solid in Kogi.
“Our unity is why APC won in Kogi and will continue to win. Our party is one. You cannot satisfy everyone. However, there are internal mechanisms in the APC to resolve issues, and we always utilise that,” he noted.
Earlier in a paper titled: “Unity in Multi-Ethnic, Multi-Religious Society, the Kogi Story” the state’s Commissioner for Information, Mr Kingsley Fanwo, said any candidate campaigning on the basis of ethnic sentiments, was incompetent.
Fanwo said that the state would continue to prioritize merit and not ethnicity to enable it to continue to grow.
Presenting a paper on “Debt Burden, Transparency, and Accountability in Governance: Kogi’s Success Story”, the Commissioner for Finance, Budget and Economic Planning, Asiru Idris, said the Yahaya Bello -led administration put in place deliberate policies to entrench good governance through accountability, transparency, and reduction in the debt burden of the state.
He disclosed that Kogi had commenced preparation of the 32 years development plan, “critical to the realisation of Gov. Bello’s vision of all round development of the state.
The development plan when completed according to him, would be a focal point for development partners’ interventions.
The State according to him,had improved the debt management and debt transparency, adding that it “received the sum of $6 Million from the SFTAS on Debt reporting, improved debt sustainability and arrears of clearance framework. The Debt Management Office was upgraded, and a pioneer Director General was appointed”
Also speaking on “Building a Viable Economy Through Strategic Investment in Education, the Commissioner for Education, Science and Technology, Mr Wemi Jones, disclosed that the state had not only given free education in the Primary and secondary schools but had made it compulsory for all.
To this end, he disclosed that “the budgetary allocation to the education sector in Kogi rose from 13 per cent in 2017 to 15 per cent in 2019 and 30 per cent 2022, higher than the UNESCO recommended benchmark of 26 per cent”.
Poor presence of World Bank and other donor agencies in the education sector and lack of credible and accurate data to ascertain the number of Out of out-of-school children in Kogi State was what obtained in Kogi.
However, since the inception of the present administration, “Kogi State has been approved for the Adolescent Girls Initiative for Learning and Entrepreneurship (AGILE) Project. This is a huge success for the State as the project will be funded for five years, during which period the girl child, the out-of-school children and dropout girls will have a second chance access to formal and informal education.
” Today, the State now has accurate, reliable and current data of all learners: 2021/2022 and 2022/2023 Annual School Census were successfully conducted and report published”.
Also in his paper on “Off Season Elections, Journalists as Responsible Watchdogs, President of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Mr Chris Isiguzo, tasked members on responsible and ethical journalism.
Isiguzo said there was a need for journalists to ensure transparency, check all facts and verify all information in their reportage.
The NUJ president noted that off-season elections presented challenges and opportunities for journalists to fulfill their role as responsible watchdogs of society.
“I encourage all of us to approach the job with a sense of duty, knowing that the quality of our reporting can influence the future of our nation,” he stated.