From Lokoja where he raised the bar on tourism potential of the state by commissioning facilities to boost internally generated revenue to Lagos where he received the Governor of the Year Award, it was all work-a-day week for Governor Idris Wada in his commitment to consolidate PDP’s hold in the confluence state. The award was given at the weekend by HOG magazine published by former Minister of Information, Chief Alex Akinyele.
Speaking with journalist after the award, Wada said that though the PDP lost the central government to the APC, it was still strong in the state as shown by its control of majority in the House of Assembly. He said: Many people wanted change and that was why people supported Mohammadu Buhari.
In Kogi state, PDP is on the ground, we have the structures in every local government and we are confident that by the grace of God, we will win the election in the state” He asserted that the PDP has done well in the state given the lean resources available to it and disputed the claims by the opposition APC that the government has not performed to deserve a second term.
“The opposition will always find something wrong to say against us. I do not expect them to praise the government, but when you look at the resources available to us, I think we have done well to enable us win the forthcoming election in the state.”
He said among other things that the government would not retrench workers but rather expand the scope of business and investment prospects to run the affairs of the state In the face of the current challenge of the serious dwindling allocation from the federation account to states as a result of the sharp drop in the price of the nation’s crude oil, the state government has embarked on aggressive drive to boost internally generated revenue.
Like most states face with the ugly trend of dwindling resources from the Federation Account, this resort to seeking alternative means of survival in order to meet their obligation to the people through improvement on their internally revenue generation and agricultural sub-sector has become a reality in Kogi State. Hence the decision of the Wada led administration to embark on Kogi Hotels and Mega Park projects targeted at boosting its revenue base.
In an era when revenue accruing to government is shrinking, with demands by the people higher than the income, state governments across the country are beginning to look inward to augment allocation from the federation account through revenue-generating projects. Two of such projects in Kogi State are the remodeling of Kogi Hotels and construction of the mega motor park at Felele in Lokoja. Besides the aesthetic impact of the projects on Lokoja township, when completed they will add value and updates the state’s revenue profile.
The essence and benefits of these projects came to the fore penultimate Thursday, when Governor Idris Wada, on a routine inspection of some on-going projects, visited the sites. Gov Idris Wada espoused the propriety of the projects describing them as world-class venture. Wada who said he is building for posterity underscored the quality of job at the park and hotels, as with his other projects. Project inspection has remained a vital part of the Captain Wada’s administration; but in recent times, he has taken it a notch further.
The essence he disclosed is not only to ensure that the projects are executed to specifications but that they are delivered on schedule. The Governor in a chat with newsmen shortly after the inspection said recent economic recession has shown that the task of governance in the present time calls for ingenuity on the part of policy makers and resource managers. According to him, the Kogi Hotels and the Lokoja Mega Terminal are intended to enhance the future growth of the state. The mega terminal, whose work has reached 75 percent completion, will certainly generate revenue for the state, stressing that the facility would provide quality services to road transport workers, vehicle operators and travelers alike.
The park located at Felele, along Abuja- Lokoja highway and awarded at the cost of N1.2 billion would on completion meet the needs of the state in view of its gateway status, with twenty-three states passing the state on a daily basis. Facilities available at the park include a clinic, automobile workshop, eatery, a bank, police post, offices and shops. It is designed to help decongest the highway vehicles that cluster the road and cause obstruction to free flow of traffic.
The governor during the inspection explained that the remodeling of Kogi Hotels would provide quality accommodation, conference and sports facilities for the people of the state and top caliber visitors to the state capital. The governor expressed satisfaction with the quality of work at the two projects and commended the contractors for not compromising standards and urged them to sustain the tempo. Conducting the governor round the projects, Commissioner for Culture and Tourism, Mr Kayode Olowomoran said the Kogi Hotels project is 95 percent completed and would be commissioned in December this year.
Abdullah Wuya, Commissioner for Transport, while disclosing that the Mega park could accommodate two hundred and fifty buses, assured that the project would also be inaugurated in the last quarter of this year. Other on-going projects that could complement the revenue generation capacity of the state according to the governor, include, the State University Teaching Hospital, the Kogi Diagnostic and Imaging Centre and a seventeen story Kogi House in Abuja.
Amidst the dwindling resources, making it almost impossible for states to pay salaries of workers, Wada told journalists that workers in the state have been paid their June salaries while efforts are on to begin the payment of that of July. The Governor also disclosed that the establishment of the Nigeria Korea Friendship Institute of Advanced Technology Lokoja, a world class technological institute will boost the state economy and provide training for middle level manpower for the nation’s industrial sector.
-Joseph Amedu in Lokoja writes on the sustained capacity of the Governor Idris Wada led administration to boost the resources of the state through diversification of its economy and tourism treasures