Quality is never ubiquitous. It is always for the discerning. The event was not particularly grandiose. Even the organisers didn’t pretend it was meant to be. They, however, made their point in a manner very succinct and unambiguous.
Members of Freelance and Independent Broadcasters Association of Nigeria (FIBAN), in the South West conferred on Governor Ibikunle Amosun the award of the ‘Architect of New Ogun State’. The award wasn’t their design. It was the product of a survey conducted across the South-Western part of the country. Nigerians residents in Ogun, Osun, Oyo and Ekiti States were asked to vote for a first term governor they found most impressive
and impactful. At the end of three months of voting, Senator Amosun emerged the most preferred.
Interestingly, 24 hours before the FIBAN award, the South West Zone of the Nigeria Union of Journalist (NUJ) had similarly named the Ogun governor as ‘the best first term governor in the zone’. The zonal leadership of the NUJ said going by several developmental projects, the government of Senator Amosun remains the most impactful in the zone.
Shortly, before the two awards, the BusinessDay Newspaper, a highly influential and authoritative business news tabloid, had adjudged Ogun State as “the fastest growing economy and the destination choice for industrialists and entrepreneurs in Nigeria”.
Indeed, the deluge of awards and commendations is the fallout of the deliberate effort by the state government to strategically reposition the State and prepare it to take advantage of its proximity to the already congested Lagos.
Governor Amosun, has never left no one in doubt of his intentions to make Ogun state what New Jersey is to New York in USA.
He actually set out to accomplish the goal by erecting the requisite structures. Security became an immediately priority as robbers,on assumption of office, practically rode rod-shod over the state. The government responded gamely investing heavily in that once-neglected sector.
In one fell swoop, the state government purchased 14 Armoured Personnel Carriers (APC’s), bought 400 patrol vans fitted with communication gadgets, 500 bullet proof vests, 500 bullet-proof helmets, 1,000 AK-47 rifles, as well as 2 million rounds of ammunitions, for the use of policemen operating in the state, to equip them to face hoodlums.
The government also established the ‘Quick Response Squad’, Operation MESA( Police/Military joint Patrol) as well as raised the Ogun State Vigilante service to complement the effort of the conventional security outfits.
Crime statistics suddenly crashed in the state with Ogun state becoming one of the most secured states in the country. The Investors suddenly found the state a good place to sow while Ogun now becomes the hosting venue of conferences and seminars for local and international associations.
The administration also broke all known records in rural electrification with the purchase of a whooping 500 electricity transformers for the use of communities in the state. Remarkably, this was first since the inception of the Gateway state as any government close to that was the purchase of 160 transformers by the administration of the late Bisi Onabanjo.
The governor also put his experience as an accountant into bear as he enthroned a financial re-engineering model that has been grossly beneficial. He put in place measures to increase the Internal Generated Revenue (IGR) of the state from the paltry N730 million to over N4 billion under 30 months in office.
Part of that effort is the activation of the Residency Rule law which promises to revolutionise the IGR of the state.
The governor introduced prudence into public financing and blocked leakages in the financial system of the state.
He also slashed salaries and allowances of political office holders and blocked leakages to free funds for developmental projects.
To tackle the problem of derelict classrooms in its secondary schools, the government immediately renovated 200 blocks of classrooms.
It also ensured that the State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB) paid its counterpart funding which opened the door for thousands of classrooms to be constructed and renovated across the state.
The government also laid the foundation for the 14 of the 26 model secondary schools in a determined move to permanently resolve the face-off occasioned by the return of some secondary schools to missionaries by the last administration.
Besides, the government also gave true expression to free education as it supplied free textbooks and instructional materials to its students in secondary and primary schools. The move was a re-enactment of Pa Obafemi Awolowo’s free education policy as executed by the late Bisi Onabanjo.The top-up was the distribution of school bags for students to keep the books safe.
Urban Renewal programme is perhaps the sector where the government of Senator Amosun have been drawing most applauds. With 16 major road construction projects going on simultaneously across the state and other reconstruction works on some other smaller roads, Ogun State, according to a friend from Ondo state, is actually undergoing a road revolution.
Written by Olusola Balogun. He is the media aide to the Ogun State governor.
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