Governor Dapo Abiodun
By Olamide Lawal
In the global political annals, leaders who etched their names in the sand of times were always guided by wisdom and patience. They manifested wisdom in doing the right thing at the right time to get the desired results. They exuded patience, taking their time to prioritise the most pressing needs of the people after which they put up efforts at accomplishing them noiselessly. They had zero worry for erroneous mentality to get things done quickly in order to satisfy the selfish interest of a minority powerful caste. Their maxim is Bibles Ecclesiastes 7:8 which says: Better is the end of a thing than its beginning thereof”.
Governor Dapo Abiodun of Ogun State has cut the figure of a wise and patient leader of this time and season. Day after day, month after month, the oil magnate cum governor has continued to reveal himself as a special breed in delivering dividends of democracy to Ogun people in a way that completed and ongoing projects have fittingly met the immediate needs of the majority in the state. Barely six months after assuming office, Abiodun has used the steel in the iron of his administration to touch various sectors of life, above mere periphery; thus uplifting standards and bring about holistic development in a more united and even way, which Ogun used to be known for in the past.
The journey that the Iperu-born governor did embark upon since May 29 is speedily becoming a win-win voyage, showcasing the reality of his campaign promises to the people of Gateway State. Tellingly, it has been a six months of touching lives and refurbishing the moribund state of affairs he met on ground. Girded in wisdom and patience, Abiodun is gradually taking off Ogun from the shell of taunts that resulted from unsolicited massive road and bridge construction which characterized the profligate administration of Ibikunle Amosun. Till date, uncompleted roads and bridges inherited from Amosun-led government still litter Abeokuta, while several cities, suburbs and rural areas languish in deplorable roads
Worried by high prevalence of bad roads across the state, no sooner had Abiodun assumed office than the executive arm sponsored and sent a bill for the establishment of Ogun State Public Works Agency to its legislative counterpart. The agency has since swung into action by carrying out several palliative measures on bad roads to ameliorate the sufferings of people. The agency, aside the visible palliative works, has also embarked on reconstruction of some major roads in the three senatorial districts, stretching over 30km. For the records, the reconstructed roads in Ijebu axis include Oru-Awa-Ilaporu road, Molipa-Fusigboye-Ojofa road, and Ashafa Oke-Ashafa Isale-Ayegun road. Fajol-Alogi and Elite-Oke Lantoro-Isale Ake roads in Abeoukuta, and Ikoritameje-Adenrele-Olose Titun-Vespa road in Ifo are undergoing facelift. In Ogun West, Ikola-Navy-Osi Ota and Ray Power roads in Ota and State Hospital road in Ilaro are under reconstruction. In Remo, Baruwa and Hospital roads in Sagamu have been touched.
To address rising unemployment among youth, Abiodun is paying keen attention in revolutionizing agriculture through free allocation of land, seedlings and issuance of Certificate of Occupancy 10,000 beneficiaries in the first instance as part of Anchor Borrowers Programme. Ogun has also partnered with some private firms for the establishment of a viable cassava plant amongst a host of other initiatives. More importantly, the governor created first-of-its-kind job portal by any government in the country to generate data of unemployed and underemployed youth in the state. Alas, the job portal recorded over 120, 000 applicants within its first six weeks. During the launch of the job portal in Abeokuta, automatic employment was given to 20 graduates who passed the most transparent aptitude test ever witnessed. As if these are not enough, he has given automatic employment to tens of best graduating students at convocation ceremonies of tertiary institutions in the state.
Since data don’t tell lies, Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele, recently rated Ogun best in youth employment and agricultural industrialization six months into Abiodun’s government. Emefiele said that Abiodun-led administration had been proactive by taking the lead coming up with strategies for massive job opportunities in South West region. The CBN boss then promised to use Ogun as a model for economic growth because of its innovation in agriculture entrepreneurship. By tapping into this scheme, Ogun will soon cause a surge in urban-rural migration because more young people will find it more rewarding to leave congested cities for a good life occasioned by profitable agribusiness in the remote areas.”
Furthermore, security apparatus in the state is much tighter than one would expect following surely increasing sense of protection among citizens from kidnappers, armed robbers and hoodlums. The governor’s input in the recent rescue of kidnapped persons from suspected Fulani abductors in thick bush along Sagamu-Benin expressway by the police was unprecedented. With the donation of 100 patrol vehicles and 200 bikes to the Police Command in the state, people have trusted Abiodun more with their voluntary donations for Security Trust Fund. No wonder the state was recently awarded the Most Improved State on Security by BusinessDay Research and Intelligence Unit.
Business has been given fresh healthy wings to fly through the Okowo Dapo Initiative whereby interested strapped women traders have been given soft loans towards the expansion of their enterprises. More prosperity will be recorded in the economy of the state very soon following a recent partnership agreement between Abiodun and his Lagos counterpart, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, on small and medium scale enterprise (SMES) expansion.
Over 2, 500 youth have benefitted from soft skills training at the Ogun Tech Hub in Abeokuta. Ogun Tech Hub, which was founded a couple of months ago, features training in digital marketing, artificial intelligence, web development and STEM (for children). The center is an open living laboratory and pre-incubation space designed to be a multi-functional, multi-purpose space where work to catalyze creative social tech ventures takes place. Since the best kind of development is that of the mind, one can make to say that this is a goldmine in crude form that will sell Ogun as one of the leading states in information and communications technology (ICT). On November 29, the state clinched Best State Award in ICT Penetration and Adoption by the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy during the E-NIGERIA awards and gala night held in Abuja.
Without gainsaying, health, as critical as it will ever be in any society, suffered criminal neglect during the last administration. Health infrastructure during the eight years of Amosun collapsed completely to the extent that public hospitals in the state became murder house; hence, their boycott by people who needed them most. In his determination to ensure the functionality of health facilities, the Iperu native declared state of emergency on the critical sector, began and immediately floated massive renovation of hospitals and other health centres. The first to be renovated is the General Hospital in Ilaro. The hospital has been refurbished and equipped with modern equipment to the delight of the populace. Roads within the facility were also regraded and reasphalted for smooth movements. A visit to this facility will marvel anyone. State-of-the-art equipment had also been procured and installed for use at General Hospital, Ijaye in Abeokuta. These are in addition to the 236 primary health centres undergoing renovation across all the wards in the state. The most marvelous stride in the health sector is the total overhaul of Olabisi Onabanjo University Teaching Hospital, Sagamu.
What about education sector? Abiodun has been restoring the lost glory of the state in education. Programmes aimed at developing key educational infrastructure and teachers capacity have been floated in recent months. For instance, he has ordered the 2016 and 2017 promotion of both teaching and non-teaching staff in primary and secondary schools, as well as regular human resources development schemes as part of motivational strategies. Besides banning collection/payment of all manner of fees in both primary and secondary schools, the Iperu prince has championed renovation of at least a block of classrooms in every school across the state. Evidently, 90 out of the 236 schools have benefitted from the ongoing renovation of a block of classrooms.
The list of commissioners released recently is another testimony of Abiodun’s sincerity to be a record-breaking achiever of his time. There is no doubt that the list consisted of persons who have made marks in their respective professions. Young and middle-aged vibrant technocrats for that matter! Other appointments he has made so far also proved he loathes working with political jobbers. Thus, he has been able to surround himself with brainy and dynamic individuals. Little wonder he stated at the 100 Days anniversary that: I will surround myself with smart people.”
Against general belief of creating stunts and primordial practice of indulging in controversial activities, the gentle-man-to-the-core has achieved this hurricane of feats and many more in six months. He loathes noise and controversies. The silent achiever is resigned doing the right thing and at the right time; The hallmark of a wise and patient leader.
-Olamide Lawal is a political activist and writes from Abeokuta.