By Fred Itua
When he was elected governor of Kogi State, Alhaji Yahaya Adoza Bello made history as the youngest elected state chief executive in the political dispensation. With zest and energy, he had hit the ground running as soon as he took office in January, 2016.
His first term in office was remarkable and more than one and half years into his second tenure, his name resonates as a man who has transformed Kogi into a modern state, particularly in terms of infrastructure development, youth and women empowerment, security, health- care, education and agriculture, among others.
At the time Bello assumed office Kogi State was notorious as the den
of crime and criminalities. Being the only state in Nigeria that borders 10 other states, security challenges were expected. When Bello took over the mantle of leadership, he declared a full blown war on armed robbers, criminals and kidnappers operating in the state. He provided over 200 utility vehicles and 500 motorcycles for security patrol. He employed the services of vigilance security outfit, while also providing sophisticated gadgets for Operation Total Freedom (OPT), established by his administration to stamp out criminal activities in the state.
In a calculated move to avert the much talked about farmers/herdsmen clashes, the Bello-led administration created a dialogue and cooperation plat- form for a free flow of communication between the government and herdsmen on one hand, and the communities and herdsmen on the other hand. This move has ensured that both farmers and herdsmen are living peacefully together in the three senatorial districts of Kogi State.
Infrastructure development is another area the Bello administration has performed well. Despite the meagre allocations received by the administration from the Federation Account, Bello has been able to turn Kogi into a construction site. Attention has been given to
Ikeje-Ogugu-Ette Road that was last graded in the 1970s, Shintaku- Gboloko Road to Dekina in Kogi East senatorial district, the Ankpa Township Road, Agasa-Ukpogoro Road, Ogaminana/ Ebogogo/ Total Road in Kogi Central senatorial district.
The governor has been able to provide succour to rural residents in some parts of Kogi East, through the ‘light-up Kogi East Project’.
He upgraded critical electricity distribution infrastructure, to enable and enhance power evacuation from Itobe substation in Ajaokuta to most parts of Kogi.
Governor Bello has been at the fore-front of women empowerment. He has a record of empowering Kogi women politically and giving them strategic portfolios. His government has gone far beyond the 35% affirmative action for women and has made Kogi State a pacesetter and a model in gender inclusiveness.
Through his political inclusiveness, Bello has solved the problem of dangerous political rivalry among the ethnic groups in Kogi. He has better handled the diversities in the Confluence State.
For these and many others, Bello is Governor of the Year 2020.
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