By Ayo Akinfe
(1) Inec have announced the winners of the weekend’s gubernatorial elections in Kogi and Bayelsa States, declaring David Lyon and Yahaya Bello, both of the APC as the winners. When they both assume office early next year, they will have their jobs cut out but how many of you are confident we will see much change in either state?
(2) Both states are among the least developed in Nigeria in terms of infrastructure. They lack basic roads, their rural areas are inaccessible during the rainy season and neither can boast of any private sector employer with any significant investment in their domains. Both states are wholly dependent on federal allocation to survive
(3) This should not be the case as both states have unique advantages that make them potential economic power houses. If you gave either Bayelsa or Kogi state to a visionary like Obafemi Awolowo to run, he would easily come up with a budget to match the federal government’s one of $28bn
(4) Let me remind you all that in 1959, the federal government of Sir Abubakar Tafawa-Balewa unveiled a budget of £50m but the Western Region government of Chief Obafemi Awolowo came up with a budget of £55m. Why was this possible? Because the Western Region had several revenue earners like WNTV, Liberty Stadium, Airport Hotel Ikeja, Cocoa House, etc that brought in cash for the government
(5) I am sure Kogians weep when they see how the unique status of their state is wasted. Being at the confluence of the rivers Niger and Benue, Kogi State should be the hydro-electric capital of West Africa, the region’s biggest tourist attraction and the gateway between northern and southern Nigeria with the best road network on the entire African continent
(6) Anyone from Lokoja who has visited the Niagra Falls in Ontario, Canada, must surely be ashamed of their state. It has a similar topography but alas, Niagra Falls attracts $2.4bn in annual tourist revenue, has 2,800
tourism businesses and the sector employs 40,000 people who cater for 13m visitors a year
(7) As if that is not enough, the The Robert Moses Niagara Hydroelectric Power Station generates 2,675MW of power annually. Can someone please explain to me why Kogi State that is home to both Idah and Lokoja does not generate 5,000MW of power a year? Shame on you Kogians for not exercising initiative. You are sitting on your backsides waiting in vain for the hapless Yahaya Bello to do it for you. For me, that is just people running away from their responsibilities
(8) As per Bayelsa, I just shake my head in despair when I look at the federal allocation figures. Do you know that Bayelsa State receives the third highest revenue in Nigeria? Over the last 20 years, Bayelsa has received almost the same amount as Akwa Ibom yet it cannot even boast of a state boat service to link up all its islands. If you are a fisherman in Brass, Okumbiri or Akassa, there is no service available to enable you get your produce to Yenagoa. Why does Bayelsa State not have refrigerated transport boats specially for the fishing industry?
(9) More pathetically, I am not aware of one private company that manufactures anything in Bayelsa State. Is there any private player who employs up to 20 people anywhere in Bayelsa State? I want my Bayelsa and Ijaw friends to come here and explain to me how the state with the longest section of coastline in Nigeria does not have one boat-making yard, net-making factory, shrimp processing plant or shipyard. This is just pathetic if we want to be blunt
(10) When I look at Ajaokuta, Lokoja, Idah, Brass, Akassa and Okumbiri, I six cities that can easily generate $5bn each. Kogi and Bayelsa States can raise $50bn between them if they were populated by industrious people but alas, we are simply not productive enough. No wonder the dumb people of Kogi went to re-elect a governor who owes three years salary arrears just because he handed out a few bags of rice to them