Generating Employment: The Kogi State Example by Alex Agbo

Yahaya-Bello2Passing through Iyamoye to Kabba then to Okene up to Lokoja,one is amazed at the natural features which the state is endowed with. From the shrubbery to the rocks and the arable,fertile soil,one should wonder why the citizens of Koti State complain steadily of deprivation.

The governments of Nigerian States are not,in my opinion,doing much to alleviate the present condition of the states indegens. Tapping the enormous natural resources and using the location advantage of Kogi State would have put the state ahead of her peers in terms of development.

For one,Kogi Sate serves as a gateway to the west,east and north of Nigeria. Nature has placed her in a vantage position to be able to make billions out of just being that position. The government of Kogi State could turn that confluence of Rivers Niger and Benue at Shintaku into a world class tourist center by building a resort,a market,a ranch and boat racing facility. This would create millions of jobs in all spheres.

The source of fund would b the next question on the minds of many. What’s of importance is having the vision to do it. The political will to develop the state independently is lacking. If the government can source loans to build other projects I don’t see how a project that could create direct and indirect jobs to over 50,000 people won’t get investors to show interest in it.

Tourism is one thing Nigeria doesn’t have abundance of. Dubai became a tourist center before becoming a business hub. Tourism brings domestic and foreign investment and Kofi state has enormous tourism potentials.

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All around the state,rocks and mountains dot all places. Rock climbing is known to be one of the most favourite sports of the youths. But who would want to climb a rock swarming with snakes,yettis and all sorts of sinister creatures?

A State can create a garden ,more like a village around a particular rock,where people relax after coming down from the rock. Religious organizations,with a penchant for believing that prayers are only answered on the mountains would pay to use it.

Surface it to say that a lot of parties and ceremonies would hold around there,which could net some serious money into the coffers of government.

Now,to agriculture. The Kogi State government,if serious,would be exporters of fruits and legumes before 10 years. The orange and cashew wasted in Kofi State per year would be in the neighbourhood of tens of millions if not bullion,naira.

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One sees large farms of cashew,mango,oranges and other fruits littering the whole of Kogi,from Ochaja to Ankpa to Anyigba to Lokoja,to Bases. In view of the availability of the raw materials,the government can open a juice processing factory and harness these resources to make use of the wasting fruits. That’s creating employment. One doesn’t need to be told the impact of this in combating unemployment.

Oil palm plantations,deliberate and spontaneous, are found all over the state,with government paying very little attention. With an organized and deliberate policy, the government can make the state a major oil hub of the north central,if not the entire nation. After all oil is oil.

Crude oil and palm oil have oil in them. Kogi doesn’t have to wait for the advent of petroleum to create employment. Employment generation is a serious business and it takes a deliberate effort of the government.

Now,I think the reason for the government being absent minded about the deliberate creation of employment is the type of federalism we practise,where the government feeds the state and the local governments. If roles were reversed,it is my utmost belief that sates like Kogi with enormous untapped resources would look inwards and develop.

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One question that comes to mind is why the state governments around Nigeria don’t look for foreign investors or borrow money from international organizations to develop as they borrow when they want to embark on white elephant projects. An example is a government taking loans to build quarters for government officials at the expense of job creation.


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