An explosion rocked the ancient city of Okene, the seat of the Kogi Central Senate District, the hometown of Governor Yahaya Bello.
The explosion in the governor’s hometown occurred just hours before President Muhammadu Buhari’s expected historic visit to Kogi state yesterday.
However, controversy has followed the explosion.
While some people attributed it to a bomb explosion, others said it was a transformer explosion.
Three people were reportedly killed in the explosion that occurred a few meters from Ohinoyi’s palace on Kuroko Street in Okene.
The governor had been in Okene since Wednesday awaiting the president’s first visit to the state since he took office on January 27, 2016.
Buhari was expected to first land in Okene itself where he was scheduled to hold a town hall meeting and commission some projects in the senatorial district before moving to Lokoja, the state capital, to continue commissioning other laudable projects. .
Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari has assessed the seven and a half year administration of the All Progressives Congress (APC) at the center with the claim that the ruling party led by him has fulfilled all the election promises made to Nigerians in all levels.
Speaking yesterday at Ebiraland’s Ohinoyi Palace, which he also inaugurated as part of his one-day official visit to Kogi State, the president also said that Governor Yahaya Bello had performed meritoriously in his two terms as governor.
According to him, “We are an administration that prides itself on delivering on our election promises to the Nigerian people, both at the national and sub-national levels. That’s why I’m glad we have an impressive array of legacy projects through your own state government as proof of our Kogi State stewardship.
“APC management has indelible marks on the Kogi state. Among the many projects executed by the Federal Government are the Itakpe to Okene bypass, the Obajana to Kabba concrete road built by Dangote Industries Limited under our ‘tax initiated highway’ (Executive Order 7) and the Itakpe rail service to Warri, among others. .
“I am very pleased to be here today to commission several projects carried out by the administration of His Excellency, Governor Yahaya Bello.”
Buhari also spoke of his administration’s determination to position Kogi state as an industrial hub as well as a strong mineral energy base.
He took the time to explain how the Federal Government managed to resolve all the legal entanglements that had stalled the progress of the Ajaokuta Steel Complex, adding that the project will greatly benefit the people of the state.
The Chairman said: “No other single project holds as much the key to unlocking this vast potential as the Ajaokuta steel complex, which we inherited as a long-dying complex strangling itself under a tangle of local and international trade disputes.
“I am pleased to report that as we begin to complete the role, we can genuinely say that our management has rescued Ajaokuta from all legal disabilities and is now ready to concession it to a private investor with the right profiles to put it to work. for Nigeria in general and the Kogi state in particular.
“The process has cost this federal government over $400 million so far, but I consider it money well spent as we get closer to achieving our goal of transforming Kogi State into Nigeria’s steel powerhouse.
“The benefits of getting the Ajaokuta Steel Complex back up and running are numerous. It would provide more than 500,000 estimated jobs and more than $1.6 billion in annual revenue for the Nigerian economy.
“Nigerians can rest assured that I remain committed to bringing this process to a logical conclusion before the end of my term.”
Buhari added that Kogi state will also benefit in various ways when the 614-kilometre (384-mile) AKK gas pipeline through the state starts operating next year.
He praised Bello “for rising to the occasion in many sectors, especially security. We are proud of him and I encourage the people of Kogi State to continue supporting him and his team as they work hard to ensure peace, security and development in the state.”
Projects inaugurated by the President included: the Okene Reference Hospital, featuring the first hyperbaric treatment chamber in Nigeria and the accompanying fleet of ambulances; Ohinoyi’s new palace in Okene; the Ganaja Junction flyover and interchange at Lokoja; GYB Model Science Secondary School, Adankolo, Lokoja; MuhammaduBuhari Square (Civic Center) in Lokoja; and a fleet of high-tech security vehicles to combat crime and criminality.
Earlier, in his welcome speech, the state governor, Yahaya Bello, thanked the president for showing leadership and for the various programs and interventions that had a positive impact on the state and its people.
These, the governor said, include the Itakpe-Warri railway line, which he noted has provided relief to travelers and business owners in the state.
Bello informed the president that the inaugurated projects responded to his commitment to service, stating that since he was sworn in on January 27, 2016, his administration set up a multi-sector commission that toured the corners of the state, identifying the needs of the people.
“This document has been our guide,” said the governor.
While acknowledging Buhari’s commitment to reviving the Ajaokuta steel complex, the governor thanked the president for his tireless interest in the project.
Bello also stated that his administration has a cordial relationship with the traditional institution in the state, adding that the new Ohinoyi Palace inaugurated by Buhari is a testament to that.
Earlier, the Ohinoyi of Ebiraland, Dr. Ibrahim Ado, represented by the Ohi of Okengwe, Alhaji Mohammed TijjaniAnage, representing the traditional rulers of the Central Senatorial Zone of the state, thanked Buhari for his support of the Bello administration and for being the first sitting president of Nigeria to visit the state on a working visit.