Recent two pieces (“A Note To Ogun Stakeholders” and “Dapo Abiodun: Setting The Records Straight”), Mr Segun Showunmi, a chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Ogun State chapter, wrote and are currently trending online, have made it imperative, if not compelling, to respond to several misconceptions he made, while attempting to savour his waning political career.
If not for his lack of knowledge of the giant strides the current administration of Prince Dapo Abiodun, MFR, has made in several critical sectors of the economy to correct the ills of the immediate past administration, it is baffling that the like of Showunmi who claims to know more than every other Ogun indigene could stoop too low and allow himself to be cheaply used by his sponsors to score cheap publicity with his deployment of vitriolic and pejorative adjectives to discredit the administration, while x-raying the six months old in office of the administration.
For your attention, upon his assumption of office on May 29, 2019, Prince Dapo Abiodun, entered a social contract with the Ogun State workers and pledged to ensure that the workforce is paid as and when due (before the last working day of every month), whether FAAC or JAAC, and he has sustained the tempo.
If you were aware of the plight of the workers, including pensioners, before Governor Abiodun came onboard on May 29, 2019, you would marvel at the level of the dire straits the immediate past administration in the state had impoverished the entire workforce. Today, the rest is now history and a new dawn has set in.
Critical to all sectors for the state and individual prosperity, the social contract binds the government to the happiness and wellbeing of a greater majority of the people. And this Article of Faith has come to define the credo of Governor Abiodun, since he mounted the saddle.
Governor Abiodun has laid a solid foundation for growth and development across the nooks and crannies of the state and the wind of the positive change is blowing the stagnation and inertia that hitherto dogged progress and development in the state, thus, gradually paving ways for s new dawn of auspicious hope of a better tomorrow.
Propelled by the ‘can do it’ spirit, the administration is cast in granite and espoused through clear-cut people-oriented programmes.
The vision, of course, is to create focused and qualitative governance, while creating an enabling environment for Public-Private Partnership (PPP) to thrive; as fundamental to the creation of an enduring economic development and individual prosperity for the people of Ogun State.
It is not unusual, as should be expected. Since the inception of the current administration, it has, without doubt, taken some positive steps that indicate a clear future direction that holds auspicious hope for the state and its citizenry.
As the fifth Executive Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun leaves no one is doubt of his resolve and commitment to adopt genuine and purposeful leadership approach to governance. This is a clear departure from the norms where most times, projects were executed without necessarily meeting the needs of the people, but were mainly executed for ulterior motives or, sometimes, serving a particular individual or, section of the state, at the expense of others.
The administration has instead, adopted an approach that ensures that the right spirit is put into governance, thereby, steering clear the quest for self-aggrandizement which often results in the planning and execution of grandiose projects meant for ego tripping. The administration has steadily continued to unfold and execute its plans of action in different parts of the state and its citizenry with a view to ensuring that all parts of the state are considered and taken care of, in the execution of projects with tact and systemic approach.
Of paramount importance to the administration is the fact that government is a continuum, which is a sharp departure from the past practice where sheer political rivalry and utter vendetta drove the government of the day to abandon projects of their predecessors.
It is therefore the resolve of the new APC-led administration in the state to ensure that existing infrastructural projects, regardless of who takes the glory, do not suffer neglect. In adopting this stance, the administration has reasoned that leaving such inherited projects to decay would only amount to huge waste of the meagre resources and mismanagement of tax payers’ money. In line with this philosophy, however, the Governor Abiodun’s administration is focusing on maintaining and upgrading (where need be) existing infrastructure.
Thus, while new developmental projects have commenced, in line with the administration’s mantra, “Building Our Future Together”, anchored on the enablers and planks, the administration believes that existing infrastructure needs, not be made to suffer neglect, especially when it was discovered that most of the infrastructure, such as roads, education, healthcare facilities, among others, were in bad shape.
Without mincing words, the fact is that, despite the huge resources claimed to have been expended on infrastructure, especially roads, by the past administrations, most of the roads are in a deplorable state, with the residents bearing the brunt.
It is in the light of this, that the administration has embarked on palliative measures on some existing roads that are of economic benefits, and also, in areas that were seriously ravaged by flooding and excessive rains, in recent time, while construction is ongoing in some areas.
In ensuring that the state’s fund is judiciously expended, Governor Abiodun is demonstrating his strong belief in the growth of the local economy.
The assent to the Ogun State Road Management Amendment Bill to pave way for the Ogun State Public Works Agency (OGPWA) is no doubt a milestone as the State is already witnessing massive road rehabilitation and construction in all fronts.
Education: Ogun State that used to pride itself as the education capital of the country lost its glory. In the last eight years, there were misplacement of priorities. Performances of the students that were writing the West African Examination Council (WAEC) examinations were nothing to write home about. This unsavoury development jolted the current administration to declare a state of emergence on the sector in order to address the ill that had plagued the sector. In appreciating the efforts of the teaching and non-teaching staff, the Governor approved the release of the 2016/2017 promotion exercise in both Secondary and Primary Schools across the state. Besides, he also directed the Teaching Service Commission (TESCOM) and the State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB) to commence issuing letters of promotion to the affected officers without delay.
To him, education is the bedrock of every society and teachers play key roles in transforming the lives of the children, while he pledged that the administration would continue to provide conducive atmosphere to enhance qualitative teaching and learning in the state.
Also, the administration has begun the monthly average payment of N791 million as pensions to retired Local Government council workers and the SUBEB retirees.
Not left out, the Governor had approved the release of N5 billion counterpart fund and matching grant for the state to access 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017 Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) intervention projects.
The administration has also taken over 28 community schools spread across the state and as well, absorbed 577 teachers in the affected schools into its civil service system.
Like were it not the state that has produced great icons and pioneers, the administration has undertaken the repair and refurbishment of the dilapidated public schools, each across the 236 wards that make up the state.
Arising from the perennial crises that had taken their tolls on virtually all the state-owned tertiary institutions, specifically Moshood Abiola Polytechnic (MAPOLY), Abeokuta, and Tai Solarin College of Education (TASCE), Omu-Ijebu, before the new administration assumed the leadership on May 29, 2019, the Governor, in his magnanimity, waded in, through open communication with critical stakeholders and resolved the impasse that had dogged the two institutions in the past two years. The administration has defrayed all the inherited outstanding backlog of salaries between December 2018 and June 2019 of all category of MAPOLY staff, while full academic session has commenced in earnest, devoid of disruption, ditto, TASCE staff who were also at the receiving end.
Health, being the wealth of a nation, Governor Abiodun, as parts of his first major task of restoring the lost glory of the state teaching hospital, two weeks after his assumption of office, paid an unscheduled visit to the Olabisi Onabanjo University Teaching Hospital (OOUTH), Sagamu, where he bemoaned the deplorable state of the structures and obsolete equipment, especially the theatre that were being flaunted, as not even suitable for animals to undergo surgery. The same pitiable conditions applied to all State General Hospitals spread across the state, without exception. To save the Health sector of the embarrassment, the Governor ordered the immediate procurement of modern medical equipment from overseas (for both Secondary and Primary healthcare facilities), the repair of the existing structures and construction of new ones. Not only that, at the OOUTH, Governor Abiodun gave an express approval for the recruitment of well over 100 medical doctors, nurses, Pharmacists, and other medical personnel to complement the existing ones. The same gesture was replicated at the General Hospitals, in Abeokuta, and Ilaro, Ijebu-Ode, Ota, and other parts of the state.
Information and Communication Technology (ICT), the Governor remodelled and commissioned one of the Model Colleges, situated at Kobape, Abeokuta, as one of the three Tech Hubs being planned for the three senatorial districts, with a pledge that the tech hubs would serve as incubation centres for entrepreneurs, capacity building, wealth creation, among others.
On the job portal, which is an innovation of the administration, within thrre months of its birth, recorded well over 120,000 applicants. Thus, it has served as an outsourcing network for companies operating within and outside the business environment in the state. The rationale behind the birth of the job portal was designed, not to only to employ new set of people into government but to match indigenes of the state with jobs, trainings, workshops and other opportunities that are abound. Still on the quest for job creation, the Governor had sent a bill to the House of Assembly which would compel companies operating within the state to give first priority to the indigenes of the state, while employing before any other indigenes.
Housing: As parts of the efforts to address housing deficit in the state, the Governor has commenced the construction of mass Housing Estates in Abeokuta, the state capital, one at Hilltop and another in Ibara areas, and other parts of the state, to enable the people have access to decent and affordable housing.
Agriculture: The state government is keying into livestock transformation programme of the Federal government, with the proposed establishment of world class cattle ranches that would eventusllyblead to the production of dairy products milk. This will be executed through the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) initiative, that promised millions of jobs for the unemployed youths with attendant value chains to be explored in this regard.
As part of the premium placed on using agriculture to drive the economy, the Governor recently inaugurated the Steering Committee on the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme. While he noted that the state government had not benefited from the Central Bank of Nigeria-powered programme, the Governor matched words with action when on August 29, 2019, at the official flag-off ceremony of the FADAMA Graduate Unemplyed Youths Scheme, known as (FADAMA GUYS), gave automatic slots to 200 beneficiaries that would drivrbgrants from the Ogun State Anchor Borrowers’ Programme, recently launched.
The Anchor Borrowers’ Programme is targeted at 40,000 benefiaries, while kickstarting with 10,000 farmers. The farmers would have access to a single digit interest rate loan as a means of employment in accordance with the objectives of the administration in solving the myriads of problems confronting farmers.
Security: The administration has placed much premium on combating threats posed by banditry, kidnapping and other violent crimes. Hence, the administration has relaunched the State Security Trust Fund. The reconstituted board headed by Mr Bolaji Balogun, in line with the PPP, is expected to source funds for the procurement of crime-fighting equipment and welfare of the police personnel and that of other sister agencies. So far, the administration has procured 100 patrol vehicles and 200 motorbikes. Also, the Fund has raised well over N1 billion from donors.
While efforts are in top gear to procure communication gadgets to enhance the effective and efficient performance of the police and other sister agencies.
In conclusion, before Segun Showunmi goofs further, let it be known to you that, the achievements recorded so far, were done within a space of three months of inception, and your assumptions were at variance with your gibberish.
On the issue over the delay in forming the cabinet, no amount of distraction could hasten the administration from doing the needful. Be reminded that, Prince Dapo Abiodun did not vote himself into office, but it was a unanimous mandate of all and sundry. This is not going to be a one-man show, but in the spirit of the inclusiveness, right persons from the three senatorial districts will be chosen to form the expected cabinet.
“Igbega Ipinle Ogun, ajose gbogbo wa ni”!
Mr. Femi Ogbonnikan
Media Consultant to the Ogun State Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun, MFR.