DESPITE all the negative predictions about the upcoming general election by naysayers, the transition process is well on track. While those who lost out of the contest weigh other possible options, successful state actors are busily holding their nightly meetings, deliberations and strategies to put on a good show in the upcoming election. For the electorate, this is the most favorable time to hold political leaders accountable for the mandate given to them in the last election. Gone are the days when politicians made luscious promises during election campaigns and then treated voters with reckless abandon. It will never happen again. Political awareness has changed the dynamics of the power play. No one can deceive people anymore. In Ogun State, it is now time for Governor Dapo Abiodun to present his scorecard. And I trust that with his open, responsive and inclusive governance style, he will not hesitate to do so at the right time, as he has delivered enough performance to demonstrate and justify his mandate. But for his steadfastness in delivering on his campaign promises, his reelection bid would have been a formidable task in the face of opposition from subversives inside and outside the ruling APC in the state. However, being a man of his words, his records are visible enough for all to see, including his political opponents.

In quantitative and qualitative terms, the government’s modest performance over the past three and a half years has been seen in infrastructure, a favorable business environment, agro-allied development, improving investment potential, health sector reform, affordable housing, among others. more employment generation, education and human capital development, as encapsulated in the robust economic agenda of Infrastructure, Social Welfare and Well-being, Education, Youth Development and Agriculture (ISEYA), which has propelled all different interventions. With a robust experience as a private sector player, Abiodun is deeply appreciative of the role of investment as a driver of economic growth. This realization informed the establishment of Ogun State Investment Promotion and Facilitation Agency with a mandate to attract investors to the state; coordinate private sector investment activities and streamline processes and procedures to facilitate investors’ journey to successfully establishing their operations in the state. Other additional initiatives include capacity building for more than 500 entrepreneurs statewide to give them access to financing and also to scale their businesses; empowering more than 2,500 rural women across the state by providing products worth N100m; land acquisition within 30 days of the issuance of C of Os through the launch of an online portal and especially Ogun State Land Administration and Revenue Management System (OLARMS).

With all these reforms in place, the government’s economic transformation agenda is on track, with the state retaining the leadership position as an investment destination in the country. Of course, the road leading to this rare feat is not laced with gold. There are challenges, distractions and some ups and downs, but with determination, focused leadership and a friendly business environment, it is a good bet that the state would reach its full potential as an industrial center not only in Nigeria but also in the sub-region West Africa . Yes, the vision remains largely a work in progress. With the efforts of the administration and the support of the good people of Ogun State, the commendable objective will be realized. At every opportunity, the governor often assures foreign investors of a favorable environment for the growth of their businesses in the state. Once again, he reiterated this commitment when he recently had an audience with the management team of a multinational company, Apple and Pears, and said his administration was determined to ensure that Ogun State would maintain its status as a first-choice investment destination in the country.

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Infrastructure is the catalyst that supports the profitability and growth of investments. Investing without infrastructure is like building something on nothing. Thus, with an integrated development plan, infrastructure financing has remained at the center of Abiodun’s government, with massive road rehabilitation and construction in the three senatorial districts. Yet some cynics are quick to criticize the government for being slow in delivering the dividends of democracy. It’s not unexpected. Sometimes critics easily forget where they come from. When Abiodun took office in 2019, he inherited a N7.5 billion loan allegedly obtained by his predecessor in the twilight of his tenure for road construction. Unfortunately, he left most of the roads in appalling conditions, while the roads that were being built were abandoned, indicating that the money had been misappropriated. Despite the lack of funds and the financial obligation of N221.55 billion, excluding more than N200 billion contractors owed, Prince Abiodun promised to complete all the ongoing road projects he inherited and started new ones as well. According to statistics from the Central Bank of Nigeria, Nigeria’s food import bill has risen by N1.1 trillion in twelve months – a 45 percent increase.

At present, a total of 270 km of new roads, increasing to 661.76 km, 99.1 km, has been constructed or reconstructed across the three senatorial districts, while more than 562.63 km of roads are under construction in the state. constructed. Affordable housing is also an integral part of Abiodun’s infrastructure master plan, for which the administration is currently committing funding. Apart from the housing project being part of the basic necessities of human existence, shelter, the government recognizes the project equally as a means of directly and indirectly creating employment for the people. Notable among the state housing projects initiated are Prince Court Estate, located at Kemta Estate, Idi-Aba, Abeokuta under the first phase of the project, as well as the ongoing 2000 units including King’s Court Estate (Abeokuta); Charger in Civil Servants Scheme; Ilaro, Ota; Ijebu-Ode and Sagamu. On top of all this is the ongoing Agro-Cargo Airport project, located in Ilishan-Remo, which is expected to be completed before the end of this year. According to the governor, construction of the airport, which began in March 2022, would likely be the continent’s fastest-built airport. This means that, all things being equal, the state will witness the first official landing of cargo planes in less than six months.

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When fully operational, it is expected to create 25,000 additional jobs for the teeming unemployed youth. “The impact of the Agro-Cargo airport will positively impact hotels and warehouses being built in the corridor. Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) and the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) come there. We estimate that we will create a minimum of twenty-five thousand (25,000) jobs at that airport in the first eighteen (18) months. This is not a PowerPoint airport,” the governor joked. Apart from job creation, the project will also open up the state, deepen the development process and also provide an alternative to the congested port facilities of Lagos. In the same vein, it will also strengthen the state revenue generation capacity, which is a good step towards financial self-sufficiency. Health is the most critical sector around which everything else revolves. As a government that cares deeply about the well-being of its citizens, several noteworthy reforms have been achieved since Abiodun took office. The most notable of these is the resuscitation of the collapsing Olabisi Onabanjo University Teaching Hospital (OOUTH), Sagamu. Apart from that, the government has equipped state hospitals in Ijaiye, Abeokuta and Ilaro and other secondary health facilities in the three senatorial districts and purchased a new fleet of 10 ambulances, not counting donations. In order to optimize returns on physical investment in healthcare facilities, the government has further provided incentives for medical personnel, including general practitioners, nurses, pharmacists and other healthcare professionals in various frameworks of the OUTH, as well as other general hospitals and primary care centers. In order to make health care accessible to the common people, the government has also started providing medical assistance by offering free medical examinations, including free glasses, immunization, blood pressure checks, hepatitis testing, counseling and vaccination at various locations across the state.

As part of its efforts to become self-sufficient in food, the administration has also given a boost to the agricultural sector by forming a steering committee for the Anchor Borrowers’ Program and the FADAMA Graduate Unworking Youths Scheme, known as FADAMA GUYS. The aim of the program is to provide automatic slots to 200 beneficiaries who would receive grants from the Ogun State Anchor Borrowers’ Program. The scheme is aimed at 40,000 beneficiaries, starting with 10,000 farmers, who would have access to a single-digit interest-rate loan as a means of creating employment opportunities for the teeming youth. Since taking office, Abiodun has given the education sector the seriousness it deserves as a foundation of development. Realizing that man is the means and the end of development; he prioritized investment in education by building one primary school in each of 236 electoral wards in the 20 local government areas. At the tertiary level, he established a review panel that helped resolve the six-year stalemate that threatened the establishment of the Tai Solarin College of Education (now Sikiru Adetona College of Science, Education Technology), Omu-Ijebu, talked about the turmoil of the crisis. the Moshood Abiola Polytechnic (MAPOLY), Abeokuta and restored hope and confidence in the institutions. More than 218 community schools across the state were approved between January and June this year, while 577 teachers in the affected schools were also integrated into the state administration. The government has also started urban water resuscitation projects in various locations to provide drinking 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, Powerline at Ikangba Borehole Scheme in Ijebu-Ode. This has significantly addressed the state’s water shortage, with hundreds of thousands of households hitherto experiencing water scarcity receiving massive relief following the governor’s restoration of the business. In order to facilitate waste disposal and promote hygiene among citizens, the Abiodun administration has also established new parastatal waste disposal and management, the Ogun State Waste Management Agency (OGWAMA) to ensure a clean environment. Praise is pouring in on Governor Abiodun for beginning the expansion of the state’s power distribution network by purchasing and installing several 500 KVA transformers for communities in all 20 local government areas of the state. The list is inexhaustible.

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None of this would have been possible without the resilience and aggressive revenue stream of the current administration. With the success recorded in its transformation agenda so far, the Ogun State Government is now optimistic that it will meet its internally generated revenue target of N100 billion for 2022 due to the numerous innovative ideas already in place. What is impossible if you have the “I can” spirit? That’s Abiodun’s leadership for you.

  • Ogbonnikan writes from Ogun State.

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