Our Hope Of A New Kogi State....

“If we did the things we are capable of, we would astound ourselves” - Thomas Edison

When I ran for Senate five years ago, we were sneered at by the political establishment of the central senatorial constituency of our great State. But I had implicit confidence in the Almighty and I knew I had a natural connection with my real constituency: 

the desperate, the disenchanted, the disinherited, the despised, the despondent, the dejected and the embarrassed. Together we galvanized and reached great heights in the Senate. Today our record has become a standard of performance for legislative representation.

It is with God as my guide and the same constituency of mine across the State as my inspiration, that I reached a personal decision to run for Governor of our great State of Kogi. I run not to take the turn of any ethnic group or any other district, nor because I have the best certificate or the longest experience.

I run out of firm belief that Kogi can achieve greater heights; I run to truly unify and liberate our people and our State, and above all I run because I bring a unique blend of qualities well suited to this time; capacity, experience, network, strong will, boundless energy and youthfulness, and most significantly, unmatchable passion and commitment to public service.

Paraphrasing the former American President Lyndon Johnson, we are one State and one people, our fate as a State and our future as a people rest not upon one citizen or one ethnic group, but upon all citizens and all ethnic groups in the State. This is the majesty and meaning of this moment, and this is the meaning of my opening quotation above.

I empathize with our workers across the State that have been owed many months wages; I empathize with our citizens who don’t even earn wages because there are no jobs available.

In this State of great latent wealth, families must not live in hopeless poverty. In a land of learning with great scholars, our children must be taught well by qualified teachers. In a State with such beautiful and spectacular landscapes, the cities/towns must not be so rural.

Over the past 8 years in which I have served this nation, and over many more as a private citizen, I have believed that this injustice to our people, this waste of our resources is our real enemy. For 8 years and with the resources I have been blessed with, I have learned and I know that the injustice will fight back and it is fighting back.

But the change of our great party, the All Progressive Party (APC), ably led and symbolized by President Muhammad Buhari has given us new weapons. And before this generation of Kogites and indeed Nigerians are finished, this enemy will not only retreat, it will be conquered (Insha Allah).

This electioneering period and this transition shall symbolize an end as well as a beginning, signifying renewal as well as change. For it is time for big ideas and giant strides. This great State has been acknowledged as having enormous potential by those who live, work, visit and pass through.

My team and I, working with your support and co-operation, envision a Kogi that will be defined by rapid growth and development over the next four years, for the benefit of all who live, work and visit, unmatched by any region of her size and character in Africa.

Over these next four years, our great State will bring opportunities within reach of all. We shall ensure that all our citizens can identify and take advantage of existing and emerging opportunities and can do so in a secure and free environment.

Security is essential for our State to be able to unleash her enormous potential and tap the massive ingenuity of our citizens. They must be made to feel safe and at ease within our borders.

That is why we will develop a special kind of relationship with all security agencies to rid the State of kidnapping, robbery and assassination episodes across the State. This relationship shall be driven by the State.

Education is the key that provides access to opportunities - the evidence is irrefutable. Kogi will have the development of our children and youth across all ages at the forefront. Basic education will be highly subsidized initially and free in the long run.

It shall be of demonstrably high quality, matching the best standards in the world. We will ensure that all our children attend and stay in school.

They will acquire skills and knowledge driven by current and future needs and the demands of industry and the economy. Finally, a State of emergency will be declared to rework and revamp this very fundamental sector.

Health care is just as important as education. Aside the need of our people to stay healthy, productive and happy, the visitors and investors we hope to attract to the State are going to need assurance of adequate care and reaction in case of emergency.

A state of emergency will also be declared in this sector, as we improve the collection, storage and monitoring of patient data by implementing Electronic Health.

Records (EHR) systems and improved personnel development, by establishing more health institutions to train nurses and other allied health workers, utilizing modern and advanced curricula. We shall, through Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs), improve our healthcare system and seek to promote medical tourism to the State.

As we move quickly towards making our State a commercial and industrial hub, we will embark on massive expansion, upgrade and repair of our infrastructures to enhance the competitiveness of our economy and ultimately create jobs for our people.

Water resources of our State must be re-worked and harnessed to completely eradicate the dearth of potable water in even the remotest parts of the State, as well as adding the dimension of creating new jobs which enhance our new economic expansion.

Entrepreneurial governance will be our primary approach on election and inauguration. Our approach to governance is to provide direction, determine priorities and monitor performance.

The private sector will as much as possible be charged with bringing our ideas to fruition, so enlargement of the private sector in this way will create jobs for our people and provide revenue to the State.

Kogi State will be lifted by the hands of our able, re-trained and well-motivated civil service. We shall build a new civil service comparable with the best anywhere. In addition to the civil service we shall work closely with various communities and civil society groups to ensure accelerated development of the State.

We will run an inclusive Administration, providing widespread access to information about the process, opportunities and developments in Government and will be accountable to the people of Kogi State for every action and omission.

The Local Governments will also be restored to the effectiveness envisioned by our Constitution, as we elevate citizen-expectations of the role of the State government. We believe that all citizens must also accept that they have an obligation to be responsible and just citizens.

Justice requires us to remember that when any citizen denies his fellow citizen saying, “His ethnic group is not mine” or “His beliefs are strange and different” in that moment he betrays the new Kogi State. We will be defining our charter for citizen responsibility and justice in due course.

Kogi will be a place where each citizen can be proud to be him or herself, stretching talents, rejoicing in his or her work and importance in the life of his neighbors and his nation. We must work to provide the knowledge and the surroundings which can enlarge the possibilities of every citizen.

“What lies behind us and before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us”- Oliver Wendell Homes

Friends and fellow citizens of Kogi State, I have done the research, I have outlined the plan, and I have the conviction and drive, but I need your cooperation and partnership, for all must share in the productive work of this new beginning, just as all must share in the bounty of a reviving economy. Join me, for there is guidance in the pursuit of great ideals and energy in the pursuit of great ideas.

You can believe! Because I assure you that more than anyone, I recognize that the judgment of God is harshest on those that are most favoured. God has been indeed gracious towards me and I appreciate that unto whom much is given, much is also expected.

My name is Nurudeen Abatemi-Usman, an engineer, a former Senator and a proud citizen of Kogi State. I seek and ask your mandate to be your Governor come January 2016. Together, let us activate Kogi’s potential.

May God bless us with the wisdom to see the right, the will to choose it and the strength to make it endure. Ameen!

“Whatever you can do or dream, you can begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it” - Goethe

(By: Nurudeen Abatemi-Usman)

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