By Fatima Usman
Kogi State is one of the abundantly blessed states in Nigeria regarding natural and human resources and other things. Carved out of the old Kwara and Benue states, Kogi was created on 27th August 1991 by the then former president, Ibrahim Badamasi, alongside eight other states, including Delta, Edo, Abia Osun, Taraba states, etc. The state capital, Lokoja, is an ancient historical town that once served as Nigeria’s colonial administrative headquarters.
The birth of the new state was a reunion of a people who had shared history and had co-existed as one polity for over seven decades before being severed by the 1976 states creation exercise.
Kogi, among other states, has the most extensive mineral resources in Nigeria. These minerals resources, including coal, iron ore, dolomite, feldspar, tar, bauxite, and limestone, can serve as a source of income to the state and Nigeria as a whole only if utilised well. These alone can bring foreigners to the country for investment and serve as a tour state. It can also help eradicate poverty and create job opportunities for the people of the state and Nigeria.
Ajaokuta Steel Company alone can create millions of job opportunities for the youths, yet the government is not paying attention to it. Instead, they keep investing in another man’s land while ours dies.
Let’s not even talk about the rivers Niger and Benue, the two largest rivers in West Africa; their meeting point is in Lokoja, Kogi State.
The main aim is to make it a pleasurable delight to visitors, both foreign and local, thus boosting the tourism industry, economy, and social interaction in the state. But what have we done to it? Nothing. The government abandons it and never pays attention to it.
Sadly, Kogi politicians do not see that we have things that can make the state a better place, where people can talk about, and where people will come to search for greener pastures yet abandon them.
Those folks instead prefer to invest in other states and countries. All they know is to build hotels and filling stations all over the state, while most of them die after two to five years of operation. That happens because Kogi people depend only on salary and sometimes on percentage. Nobody is coming from other states or countries for any business meeting.
A state can be developed and have people coming after it only if it has good infrastructure, good roads, a standard manufacturing company, and other business activities. Without all these things, nobody will be interested in coming here.
Kogi state happened to be a state where people only depends on a salary after every 30 days of the month, which is not supposed to be.
We have other states who don’t have what we have, yet they are doing well. Their states have good roads, production companies that provide jobs for their citizens and even those who go there for greener pastures.
For Kogi state to be a better place, we have to appreciate what we have and utilise it well so that people don’t have to wait for white-collar jobs or wait for a stipend every month end before they can feed or live a better life.
Fatima Usman is a 300 level student of mass communication at IBB University, Lapai. She can be reached via firstname.lastname@example.org.