We have repeatedly told Nigerians that Governor Yahaya Bello GYB is clearly the most profound and prolific State Governor in today’s Nigeria. We have said that the plethora of Awards and Honours that attend his stable everyday are in attestation of the phenomenal feats of his watch. And we have boasted unashamedly that not only is the GYB magic evidence of the capacity and the competency of the Nigerian Youth to take our nation away from the nadir to promise, but a manifestation of the unequalled commitment of GYB to berth the Nigeria of our dreams.
This time our position is not just predicated on the myriad of Awards for good governance that GYB gets daily. It is not based on the deluge of Honours for exceptional leadership from the Media, and Groups across the Country. It is predicated on the attestation by the World Bank of GYB and Kogi State as leading the pack in the States with fiscal discipline and financial decorum. GYB is not only an Accountant and an Auditor, in governance he is a practical manifestation of fiscal discipline and decency.
In a World Bank letter dated the 17th of November 2021, and received on the 25th of November, 2021 by the Accountant General Of Kogi State, the World Bank described the 2020 Audited FInancial Statement of Kogi State as a standard for transparency and accountability in the public sector. That is to say that Kogi State shows the way in financial rectitude. And that is to say that GYB is a phenomenon that must be copied and followed where fiscal discipline is required. Do you yet wonder why he is the best bet for the big job come 2023?
In the World Bank letter signed by one Deborah Hannah Isser, the States Fiscal Transparency, Accountability and Sustainability Programme (SFTAS) Task Team Leader, Nigeria Country Office, and titled, ‘Nigeria: Review of Kogi State’s Audited Financial Statements (AFS) for the Year Ended December 31, 2020 for State Fiscal Transparency, Accountability and Sustainability (SFTAS)’, the World Bank commended the State for preparing its audited financial statements, in line with accrual basis of the International Public Sector Accounting Standards.
It said: “We note that Kogi State’s AFS for the year ended December 31, 2020 has been uploaded on the state’s website as per the SFTAS’ eligibility criteria for FY21. The financial statements were prepared on International Public Sector Accounting Standards accrual basis and the Auditor General of the State has issued an audit certificate with an unqualified (clean) audit opinion on the General-Purpose Financial Statement (GPFS) and a Special Opinion on SFTAS Programme Expenditure Framework during the period.
Note that SFTAS is a $750 million programme to reward States for meeting any or all of nine indicators that demonstrate improvements in fiscal transparency, accountability and sustainability. The SFTAS compliance indicators are offshoots of the previous Fiscal Sustainability Plan (FSP) of the Federal Government, where States were to be rewarded for meeting up to 22 targets. And through the letter in reference the World Bank in no uncertain terms have applauded Kogi State for leading the pack in compliance with set rules of Fiscal Discipline and rectitude.
Also note that the World Bank has supported the Federal Government in ensuring that States seek to achieve the Fiscal Sustainability Plan FSP, which has now been redesigned as Disbursement Linked Indicators under SFTAS. And the goal is to achieve improved financial reporting and budget reliability; increased openness and citizens’ engagement in budget process; improved cash management and reduced revenue leakages through implementation of State Treasury Single Account (TSA); strengthened Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) collection; biometric registration and Bank Verification Number (BVN) used to reduce payroll fraud. That Kogi State is in compliance with the above parameters puts the GYB Phenomenon head and shoulder above his peers.
Other profound feats connected to the Fiscal Sustainability Plan FSP are improved procurement practices for increased transparency and value for money; strengthened public debt management and fiscal responsibility framework; improved clearance/reduction of the stock of domestic expenditure arrears; and improved debt sustainability. Do you yet wonder why Kogi State tops the chart in the servicing of her local debts, and has infact reduced her local debts more than most States in the Country?
Compliance with the World Bank SFTAS programme is part of efforts by the Federal Government to further enhance transparency and accountability in the use of public resources through implementation of the Open Government Partnership, to which Nigeria is a signatory. That Kogi State has not only kept faith with the Federal Government’s quest for fiscal discipline in governance but has met all local and international requirements thereto is glaring and such is the GYB Phenomenon.
It is significant to note that the World Bank letter in reference is coming 4months after it issued a letter commending GYB for good leadership ditto the refund of $4.63million surplus funds under the Nigeria Erosion and Watershed Management Project (NEWMAP). Who does that in today’s Nigeria you may ask? But such is the legacy of fiscal discipline that GYB inspires and brings to bear. Do you yet wonder why GYB is the exemplary Leader that fits the call for a New Deal come 2023, do you?
More on that unique example in leadership that underscores the refund of the 4.63m US Dollars Erosion Management Fund by GYB, the World Bank in a letter of appreciation, titled, ‘Refund of Surplus Project Funds to the World Bank under the Nigeria Erosion and Watershed Management Project (NEWMAP) signed by its Regional Director, Shubham Chaudhuri, stated that Bello’s action made it possible for the organisation to extend its projects to other States. What more do naysayers need? GYB is the quintessential script in responsible and responsive leadership, and this truism is unequivocal.
Compatriots we have repeatedly urged and advised that a study of the GYB Phenomenon would do great good to all who seek a New Deal for the masses come 2023. And need we say again that we shall consistently and committedly defeat those whose stock in trade is deceit, falsehood and gibberish.
As we galvanise the old and the young in support of a Leader whose dedication to service and whose penchant for Fiscal Discipline and Responsibility is second to none, we wish our Dear Country the best. God Bless Nigeria.
Chris Mustapha Nwaokobia Jnr.
GOT YOUR BACK NIGERIA.