Dapo Abiodun: Tackling Challenges of Development
Considering the turn-around being witnessed in all sectors of the Ogun State economy, in the last 30 months that the current State Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun, was sworn in, it would not be an exaggeration if one concludes that the age-long Yoruba mantra of hard work as the antidote to poverty “Ise Logun Ise” and the first word of the Anthem of the Gateway State, “Iseya” or “Call to Service,” are the driving force of the administration, that came on board on May 29, 2019.
To those that wished the state well, the Captain of the ship, Abiodun however, could not have done less than to prove wrong his detractors, who did not give his administration any chance of success at inception. Determined to prove his critics and detractors wrong, Abiodun hit the ground running with the five-letter word “ISEYA,” meaning “Work has Started”. Almost 30 months down the line, the governor has effected fundamental changes through many initiatives encapsulated under the acronym I-S-E-Y-A.
These programs targeted putting an end to poverty and misery. Each letter stands for a specific area of action by the government, geared towards enduring development of the Gateway State:
I –infrastructure development
S – Social Welfare and Wellbeing
E – Education and Human Capital Development
Y – Youth Empowerment, and
A – Agriculture and Food Security
Infrastructure: Several infrastructural projects have been executed in the three Senatorial Districts of the state to make life more meaningful to the residents and to encourage investment and provide ease of doing business.
In the area of roads, a total number of 270km of new roads across the three senatorial districts have been constructed while over 300km of roads have been rehabilitated throughout the state.
The affordable housing project is another area of infrastructure in which the current administration deployed financial resources. Apart from the fact that the housing project provided one of the basic needs of human existence, shelter, the government also used the project as a means of generating employment for the people directly and indirectly.
The government within the first 100 days in office, delivered 150 low housing units at Prince Court Estate located at Kemta Estate, Idi-Aba, Abeokuta under the First Phase of the project.
There are also ongoing housing schemes to deliver 2000 units including King’s Court Estate (Abeokuta); Laderin Civil Servants Scheme,; Ilaro, Otta; Ijebu Ode and Sagamu.
Still, on infrastructure, the Dapo Abiodun led Administration also embarked on Reinvigoration of Security Architecture on assumption of office.
The efforts of the administration commenced with the Amendment of Ogun State Security Trust Fund (OGSTF) Law in August 2019.
The Operationalising and Funding the Trust Fund was a major departure from what it used to be as the government distributed over 200 vehicles and 100 motorcycles to security agencies; provision of tracking devices and mainstreaming of local hunters, vigilantes into the State security architecture.
The government also facilitated the deployment of a helicopter for aerial surveillance leading to the arrest of kidnappers and bandits.
In line with the decision of the South-West states to set up State Security Network, the state government initiated the Amotekun Bill, which was passed by the State House of Assembly and made functional with the appointment of Commandant and recruitment of Corps to boost the security network of the Gateway State.
The government undertook Urban Development with the setting up of three parastatals to handle Planning and Development, Slum Regeneration, and Building Production Management
The initiative also involved signing up of an Urban Renewal Memorandum of Understanding on the three-year Future Cities Nigeria programme in a partnership drive with the UK, through the UK Prosperity Fund.
As a major aspect of infrastructural development, the government embarked on the expansion of the state power distribution network by procuring and installing several 500 KVA transformers to communities in all the 20 local government areas of the state.
The government has also commenced Urban Water Resuscitation projects in various locations to provide potable water to Abeokuta and 14 other major communities in Ikenne, Igbogila, Ibooro, Odonopa, Ipokia, Idowa, Omu Ijebu, Ago Iwoye, Igbesa, Owode Yewa, Imoru, Ibefun and Ikangba. The Powerline at Ikangba Borehole Scheme in Ijebu-Ode
Other notable projects executed by the current administration in the area of infrastructure are:
Establishment of new Waste Disposal and Management parastatal, the Ogun State Waste Management Agency (OGWAMA);
Revival of Road Maintenance Agency known as Ogun State Public Works Agency (OGPWA)
Establishment of Aerotropolis with the construction of international cargo airport, with standard Testing Centre for Agricultural produce, and Air Force Training Centre at Ilishan-Remo
Operationalisation of Digital Economy Infrastructure Project (OGDEP) to link the State up with N36.15 billion ICT project in a Public-Private Partnership with 21st Century Technologies. 21st Century is injecting around $75 million into the project with the expectation that the initiative would see the economy of Ogun State grow by an additional $100 billion.
Social welfare & wellbeing
Social Welfare and Wellbeing, which is the second component, of the acronym, involves activities geared towards the ensuring of healthy and quality living standard of the citizenry. These include healthcare facilities, provision of facilities to facilitate ease of doing business and means of building and increasing the capacity of the people doing business.
Under the healthcare programmes, activities of the present administration include Rehabilitation of Primary Healthcare Centres (PHCs) at minimum one primary health centres across in each of the 236 wards in the state.
The government has also equipped State hospitals in Ijaiye, Abeokuta and Ilaro in Yewa South Local Government Area and other secondary health facilities across the three senatorial districts and purchased a new fleet of 10 ambulances.
To optimise return on physical investment on healthcare facilities, the government recruited and provide incentives for medical personnel including resident doctors, nurses, pharmacists and other healthcare professionals in various cadres into the Olabisi Onabanjo University Teaching Hospital (OOUTH), Sagamu and across the General Hospitals and PHCs
The government had also embarked on Medical outreach by offering free medical examination and dispensation of including free eyeglasses, immunisation, and BP checks, Hepatitis tests, counselling and vaccination in several locations of the state.
During the outbreak of COVID-19, the administration initiated: proactive measures to mitigate and flatten the curve of the virus by pioneering the establishment of the first mobile COVID-19 testing booth; the first NCDC accredited Mobile Molecular Laboratory in Nigeria; Drive-Through and Walk-In Testing Centre, equipped with a specially designed protective glass box to be used by medical personnel collecting samples, allows suspected patients drive their cars in or simply walk in and get tested with almost instant result.
Also during the period, the government prioritised welfare for frontline workers and people by establishing five isolation and treatment centres and increasing health workers salaries. The government during the period, raised by 300% Hazard Allowances of Frontline workers just as it initiates life Insurance covering 8, 000 medical workers in different categories.
Other aspects of the Social Wellbeing Component of the State Policy are:
Greater Ease of Doing Business by leveraging on World Bank OGSTEP Facility of $250million credit, towards the financing of the Ogun State Economic Transformation Project (OGSTEP) through the strengthening of its agriculture value chains, developing skills and fortifying its business environment.
Establishment of Ogun State Investment Promotion and Facilitation Agency (OgunInvest) with a mandate to attract investors into the State; coordinate the private sector investment activities, and streamlining processes and procedures to ease the Investors journey to setting up their operations successfully in Ogun State.
Capacity building for over 500 entrepreneurs across the State to enable them to access financing and scale up their businesses
Empowerment of 2500 rural women across the state through the provision of products worth N100m
Land acquisition within 30-day for the issuance of C of Os through the launch of an online portal, Ogun State Land Administration and Revenue Management System (OLARMS).
In the last 30 months of administration of Governor Dapo Abiodun, the government has executed several projects in the books and crannies of the state and had embarked on policies aimed at raising the bar of education in the state. These activities are:
Recruitment of 5000 OgunTeach interns into public schools across the 20 Local Government Areas in the state;
Reinstatement of Unjustly sacked labour leaders like the State Chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress and a Director in the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology;
Rehabilitation of over 100 public primary and junior secondary schools and targeting 236 to conform with the Universal Basic Education Commission, UBEC’s recommended standard;
Promotion and Induction of Principals, Vice Principals, Teachers and allied workers: a total of 132 Principals, 122 Vice Principals and four Zonal Secretaries to fill the deficit the administration met across secondary schools including the promotion of the backlog of teachers’ promotion exercise for three preceding years. Altogether, 10,000 teaching and non-teaching staff in the state are beneficiaries
Moshood Abiola Polytechnic (MAPOLY) Resuscitation: Reviving the prestigious and long-existing Moshood Abiola Polytechnic, Ojere – that was replaced by the Moshood Abiola University of Science and Technology existed only on paper – a move that would have cost all academic and non-academic staff of the institution to lose either or both their jobs or some years of service.
The Tai Solarin College of Education (TASCE) Revival: Tai Solarin College of Education was riddled with crises and could not hold convocation for 11 years.
Cancellation of all forms of levies in public schools and Pioneering of Ogun DigiClass for students to take lectures at home to compensate for the academic time lost due to the closure of schools during the COVID-19 outbreak
EMIS: The State Government procured and installed the Education Management Information System (EMIS) equipment and gadgets to aid data collection, collation and analysis in the Education Headquarters and all the 20 LGEAs.
In any society, the importance of the Youth in all aspects of human endeavours cannot be overemphasized. However, this class of population in Nigeria, which accounted for a substantial percentage, is bedeviled by various negative characteristics occasioned mainly by a high level of unemployment.
Determined to reverse the trend to make youths in the state productive and contribute to state development, the Dapo Abiodun Administration has initiated several youth-oriented policies. These policies include:
Setting up Ogun Job Portal an online platform where unemployed persons or business owners, seeking career advancement, register their profiles towards getting the desired result.
Empowerment and recruitment of 1,000 into the Ogun State Environmental Protection Agency (OGEPA). In the same month, 400 youth artisans were recruited across crafts (plumbing, electrical and building) as Direct Labour initiative into the State Ministry of Housing’s Building
Mainstreaming of 2000 ASCON Entrants: supposedly employed but without files into the civil service record and payment of their backlog of all salaries.
Abocoders Academy: An initiative of Aspilos Foundation with a focus on training women between the ages of 16-35years in the act of coding (programming). The academy started with over 35 students, running a 4-month programme, which will equip them with the pre-requisite skills needed to get industrial attachments placements
Formation of Tech Club: created to provide an enabling environment for kids and other young technocrats to network, socialize and brainstorm. The Bureau operates a data centre, and currently have a 42U Rack at the DC which hosts the State mail server and other application servers used by other MDAs.
Sports Commission: A spots commission to help nurture the talents of the youths of Ogun is being established.
Agriculture and human security
In Ogun State, Agriculture is one of the flagship programs of the administration. The government, through various agricultural policies and programs, has been engaging youths productively. The agricultural programs of the state had earned the state and the governor, Abiodun, several awards both within and outside the state.
Some of the agricultural programmes executed by the state include Anchor Borrowers Programme (ABP), Ogun Broiler Project, Rice Intervention, Agro-Industrial Processing, fish farming and FADAMA Scheme.
The government through the Anchor Borrowers Programme (ABP) facilitated the crediting by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) of 6,265 farmers drawn across all 20 Local Government Areas.
Also, the Ogun Broiler Project: Ovever 9,000 youths benefited with each beneficiary making an average profit of N180,000 per six weeks of production.
The Ogun Rice Intervention programme involves the facilitation of access to loan and seedling to rice farmers across the state and provision of farmlands, including the 120,000-hectare rice farm at Sowunmi Village along the Ofada/Mokoloki axis of the State.
The program, also involved fast-tracking of the Joint Ogun State and International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) Value Chain Project in eight Local Government Areas.
Under Agro-Industrial Processing, Ogun State after competitive bidding, was on 8th April 2020 shortlisted by the African Development Bank (AfDB) as a major hub for Industrial Cassava, Poultry, Agro-Forestry and Fishery processing zone.
For fish farming, the intervention was done, as the government constructed and maintained 385 (Dug-Out – 235; Tank – 130) new fish ponds/tanks 300 fish farmers across the state. This is as 2,815 farmers were assisted in stocking over 3,815,000 Clarias Fingerlings.
In the FADAMA Scheme of the administration, 200 youths benefited under FADAMA Graduate Unemployed Youths Scheme (GUYS), with beneficiaries being granted over N74 million.
The government has also constructed four solar-powered boreholes, bringing to 11 number of the type and serving 2,500 beneficiaries of the Ogun State Value Chain Development Programme (VCDP) having access to safe drinking water.
– Abdul Yekini Alli