Kogi State governor, Alhaji Yahaya Bello has inaugurated the 32-man Economic Advisory Council earlier constituted to reshape the economy of the state.
The state governor today in Lokoja, the state capital inaugurated the team during a virtually programme, challenging members of the committee to “guide the state into prosperity” by tapping into the abundant human and mineral resources available to in the state.
According to him, the members were carefully selected based on their pedigree and track record adding that, their main responsibility is to work with the state to “open new doors of opportunities towards economic diversification”.
Governor of the North Central state added that the nation must go back to agriculture which used to be the mainstay of the economy and should also look into the abundant mineral resources.
“As you know, Agriculture was the pride of the nation before the discovery of oil, in the 60s, but the coming of it, utterly neutralised the gains in Agriculture and stalled the progress in other sectors, as well,” he said, adding that, “The entity called Nigeria is so naturally blessed, with the potential to be one of the leading countries in the world but the circumstances of oil and all the issues around it, has made this very difficult to realize.”
Stating further, Bello said, “There is no doubt that, crude oil, in Nigeria, is suffering declining relevance and may actually become extinct, with the passage of time or become totally irrelevant, due to improvements in renewable energy over environmental concerns.
“In 2016 and 2020 respectively, Nigeria was ushered into a recession over the collapse of the price of crude oil. This, for me, underlines the fragility of our economy and, indeed, a wake-up call, that we must begin to think beyond oil, if we are to be sustainable, as a nation and, by extension, if we are to survive, as a state.”
Reiterating the fact that Kogi State is blessed, the governor said, “Kogi State is vastly blessed with human and natural resources, that are yet to be optimally harnessed for the good of our people. The available data indicates that, we have over 29 solid minerals in commercial quantity. In addition, we are blessed with the confluence of Rivers Niger and Benue, we are a gateway to the FCT, we are bordered by 10 states including FCT, we are blessed with considerable arable land, we are blessed with potentially world class tourist sites, we are blessed with leading cash crops such as cashew, cassava, rice etc, we are blessed with high profile industries such as Ajaokuta, Itakpe Iron Ore, Obajana Cement Company, we can go on and on.
“We cannot and must not, therefore, be complacent, in the face of these enormous blessings and see our people, our State struggling with basic necessities of life”, he said.
Meanwhile, the economic team is expected to hit the ground running and looking forward to a transformed Kogi State to be the envy of other states in Nigeria.
Alternate Chairman of the economic team, Dr. Olusiji Aina is however optimistic the team would reposition the economic fortune of Kogi State.
Aina told National Wire that the team is ready to create a sustainable economic development plan.
“Our focus as a council is to primarily drive the following: Ensure fiscal responsibility and creating excellence in infrastructure, enhance quality and accessibility to social services , improve government performance and efficiency, create a sustainable economic development plan for the state and much more,” he said.
He also said the country should expect an emerging economy. “Nigerians should expect an emerging economy from Kogi State by leveraging on the rich and abundance human and natural resources in commercial quantity.
“Kogi State will work collaboratively with the organized private sector and international development agencies to achieve the set objectives,” he ensured.