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Capt. Idris Ichalla Wada: At 70, a former governor’s legacies speak volumes



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His Excellency, Capt Idris Ichalla Wada is the immediate past Governor of Kogi state having governed Kogi State from January 2012 -January, 2016 on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party.

Untill his decision to join politics to contribute his quot to the development of Kogi state and Nigeria at large, Capt Idris Wada was a household name in the aviation sector, as a seasoned pilot and an airliner, span for over two decades before retirement and later joined politics.

Capt Wada became a flying pilot in his early 30’s after studying at the School of Aviation in Zaria and rose to the top echelon of his career as the sole owner (Chairman, CEO) of EAS airline, for close to three decades.

Wada became an employer of labour in the organised private sector and had contributed in no small measure to the development of aviation sector, private conglomerates both within and outside the shores of Nigeria.

As a pilot and an airliner of high repute, Capt Idris Wada partnered with both local and foreign investors to promote the aviation business in Nigeria and outside the country for years.

With offices spread across major towns and cities of Nigeria, EAS airline operated in Kano Lagos, Portharcourt and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja where functional airports are located at that time.

The aviation expert whose career span over three decades had travelled all over the world and flew the fastest and the biggest boeing 707 plane as at then, while in active service, hence, he was recognised as one of the well trained pilot at the time.

His career in the aviation and airline business, saw him engaging many Nigerians as workers in his EAS airline, and open up other opportunities in both aviation and other sectors.

Capt Wada’s stint as an airliner, saw him with many fleets of aircraft in his solely established EAS airline, while in operation, with full operational base all over the world.

After a successful career in the sector, Wada retired into business and ran a full consultancy firm both in aviation and other fields of endeavours.

Wada’s venture into the political terrain was geared towards advancement of human capital developement, infrastructure and economic emancipation of the people of Kogi state.

Hence in 2012, he was elected as Kogi state governor after a keenly contested election and electionering campaigns in November 2011 under PDP.

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For four years, Capt Idris Wada’s administration witnessed all round development in Kogi state.

With enormous wealth of experience from the private sector driven entity, Wada as Kogi state Governor, did not hesitate to set the ball of development rolling in all sectors of the state.

A Patriotic and detribalised Nigerian at the helms of affairs in Kogi state then, he restored confidence, unity among the political class across the state, not minding creed, religion or the section of the state.

It was during Capt Idris Wada, the unabated crises of youth restiveness and thuggery was nip in the bud, by creating employment outlets for the youths in Kogi to engage in gainful employment, through his ‘YAD4kogi’, hence rehabilitate most of the recalcitrant youths.

He ensured payment of arears of workers salaries and pension, and paid salaries of state workers as at when due throughout his four years term in office.

The immediate past Governor sought and got a bail out fund of N50.8 billion, the highest in the country, meant for payment of workers one month salary arears at the state and Local Government workers, but was denied access to the fund by CBN.

It was during Capt Idris Wada that Kogi state capital,, Lokoja witnessed a major face -lift befitting of a state capital, through the construction of standard guage drainages on the major highways in the state capital, and constructed the road from welcome to Lokoja at Zango to the International market In Lokoja.

This is in addition to open up the Otokiti- Ganaja village bye pass, nicknamed as ‘Wada Road’ to reduce the usual gridlock at Ganaja junction, as well as award a contract for the construction of flyover across the Ganaja junction in a well articulated PPP arrangement.

He provided Housing units for state workers at Crusher and Ganaja villages,as well as made available a post flood housing scheme for victims of floodings in Kogi state in 2013, as Kogi was the only state that built such edifice in Nigeria.

Capt Idris Wada initiated the Historical 5Km Kabawa embankment project span to Kogi Confluence Hotel river bank to address the issue of yearly floodings in the ancient town of Lokoja, and its metropolis.

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The former Kogi Governor completed the ongoing projects before his ascension which included the State Secretariat phase 2, Confluence Stadium, Greater Lokoja Water works, as well as some rural and urban roads within the state.

Wada in the Ministry of information digitalized the three radio substations in Ochaja, Egbe and Otite, as well as the headquarter in Lokoja, the state capital to enable easy and fast access of information for the people of the State, a printing press along with employment of new staff.

He embarked on legacy projects through a well bonded arrangement of 20 billion Naira from the stock market that ensured the re-modeling of Kogi Hotels in Lokoja, construction Kogi Terminal Park in Lokoja, Kogi House in Abuja, as well as Kogi Diagnostic and imaging centre at the state Specialist Hospital, the best in the North Central States.

Renovated Lagos and Abuja liaison offices belonging to Kogi state, and made arrangement for PPP engagement in Kaduna liaison office before his exit.

Establishment of school of Health sciences in Kogi state University, inaugurated 245 bed Kogi state University Teaching Hospital in Anyigba, as well as built two students hostels for boys and girls in the same institution.

Capt Wada embarked on iconic schools by construction of schools building and colleges across the three Senatorial districts of the state, as well as elevation of School of Nursing and Midwifery, Obangede and School of Health Technology, Idah to a College, to award HND degree, along with provision of funds for accreditation.

He awarded Dekina township roads, Kabba township roads, Idah township roads, Ankpa township roads,Mopa township roads,Egbe township roads, Okene-Okehi-Kuroko-Obehira roads, Ogori -Magongo township roads,Koton-Karfe township roads, Abejukolo township roads, Okpo township roads, Odenyi -Oguma roads among many others.

Capt Wada revolutionise Agriculture in Kogi state by embarking on accelerated rice production program (ARPP) for the state, provision of fertilisers for farmers, establishment of Alape processing zone in collaboration with Federal government for cassava production in commercial quantities, as well as provision of improved palm fruits and other seedlings.

His style of administration stands him out among his colleagues, as Capt Idris Wada will not say something in the morning and do another thing in the evening/night.

A very sincere politician of high repute,Capt idris Wada brought major political stake holders in Kogi state into one fold, not minding their political affiliation,ideology or belief, but towards the betterment of Kogi state.

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A strong believer of public accountability and probity, the former governor Idris Wada transparent leadership qualities was unrivalled, as he ensured the account records of the state is updated,hence in his four years in office,the state account was audited between 2012-2016 by a reputable audit firm, and published in major National dailies for public scrutiny and criticisms/assessment.

The former governor grew the IGR base of Kogi state during his term from 250 Million to 550 Million and later 600 Million during his stint.

Capt Wada attracted so many local and foreign investors into Kogi state during his tenure,among them are the conglomerate and owner of Allo cement factory,Itobe and so many others.

On Health, Capt Wada constructed an orthopeadic hospital at Odu and renovated all the General Hospitals in the 21 local government areas, as well as upgraded some to Zonal hospitals,including the re-equiping of the Central stores in the State capital.

He demonstrated good working relationship with his Deputy Governor,Yomi Awoniyi, Commissioners, Heads of Department, Agencies and Parastatatals,as well as political appointees both at the state and local government through seamless policies and programs of his administration.

The four years first term of Capt Idris Wada as Kogi governor was an eventful period as social, economic and people’s welfare took the centre stage during his term.

Wada at exit,did not left an empty treasury for Kogi state new leadership to take off,it is on record that Kogi was bouyant at the exit of Capt Idris Wada,unlike others State Governments.

On the whole,he impacted and imparted exemplary leadership worthy of emulation in line with the best practices throughout his four years term in office.

Capt Wada was a father to all and friends to even his political enemies,as he does not believe in politics of acrimony, mudslingings and bad blood.

No doubt he is celebrated every now and then, and yearly at the turn of his Birthday.

As he attains the septugenerian circle of life by clocking 70 years of age, by August 26th, my prayers is more years in the services of humanity and Nigeria at Large.

CONGRATULATIONS to the people’s Capt, Happy Birthday His Excellency,Capt Idris Ichalla Wada.

Written by Abubakar Yusuf.


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