By Daud Olatunji
Recently, Ogun State celebrated forty years of its existence. Ogun State is a state in South-Western Nigeria which was carved out of the old Western Region on February 3, 1976 by the then regime of General Murtala Mohammed and General Olusegun Obasanjo. The state was one of the nineteen states created out of the former twelve states structure of 1967.
The State which was named after the Ogun River that runs across it from North to South, is commonly called the”gateway state” because of its border connections to other state. According to the 2006 census, the state has a total population of 3,751,140 residents. Luckily for the incumbent governor of the state, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, the state was celebrating its 40 years during his reign and it was lavishly celebrated by the governor.
The celebration which attracted forty projects also drew President Muhammadu Buhari , his Vice, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, former President Olusegun Obasanjo and past governors both military administrators and executive governors among to the state.
However, some stakeholders in the state such as four traditional rulers in the state, a Senator representing Ogun East Senatorial district, Buruji Kashamu and a governorship candidate on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party, Gboyega Isiaka among others spoke on their take on the celebration of forty years of existence by the government.
The four paramount rulers in the state, such as the Akarigbo and paramount ruler of Remoland, Oba Dr. Micheal Adeniyi Sonariwo, the Olu of Ilaro and paramount ruler of Yewaland, Oba Kehinde Olugbenle, the Alake and paramount ruler of Egbaland, Oba Michael Gbadebo and the Awujale and Paramount ruler of Ijebuland, Oba Dr. Sikiru Adetona spoke on the forty years celebration of the state, commended Governor Amosun on his performance since he assumed office as governor of the state. According to them, the governor has done well in his mission of Rebuilding the State, the state is better off compared to its previous status , but, more improvement is still needed in some areas.
The Senator representing Ogun East Senatorial district, Buruji Kashamu in his reaction said: “ in the last 40 years ago, we know how the state looked like, except if we want to deceive ourselves, because the state has developed compare to last 40 years. I have to thank some governments which have contributed since the time of creation till now, especially, Ibikunle Amosun who is the present governor of Ogun state.
“I will not tell you Ibikunle Amosun is perfect, but, believe me I can say it authoritatively that he tries his best except if we want to deceive each other, he has contributed a lot. I will thank all these governors ; Gbenga Daniel, Olusegun Osoba, all of them have contributed their own part”.
In his assessment, the governorship candidate in the state on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party, Gboyega Isiaka said the state is the 4th non-oil economy in Nigeria with GDP of $10.470 billion and it’s per capital GDP is 247.28 . According to him “Ogun state is the 5th highest state in Internally Generated Revenue as it generated N17.4 billion in 2015 . It’s poverty rate is 29.84 per cent per day while unemployment rate is 8.5 per cent.
“Based on the above fact, Ogun state has a progressive growth in GDP but not so reflected in human development. It is unacceptable that despite a GDP of over $10.4 billion and literacy levels of over 66 percent, we still have a majority of our population immersed in extreme poverty”. While providing a way out to the challenges, Isiaka an accountant guru, said “ with the potentials well established, my message is simple, we have what it takes to make the giant leap forward. After forty years of existence as a state with all our God-given resources, Ogun is still confronted with enormous poverty and low quality of life .
“We can significantly transform and improve the quality of our lives. Many of our people go about their lives every day with just too many challenges to enable them live a comfortable life. The way things are have gone on in our state, development has become a wish instead of a clear vision; and we cannot make that clear vision realizable unless we change the way we do things.
“We will only realise our potential if those who are entrusted with the public responsibility have a clear vision and are conscripted to elevate governance to its rightful place”, Isiaka submitted. Meanwhile, Vanguard observed that few roads which could not be completed ahead of the celebration have been abandoned while some residents have lamented their ordeal over the uncompleted roads.
Some of the roads which have been expanded but not completed include; Lafenwa road, Ayetoro garage road, rounder road, Ita-Aka road, Adatan-Osile road among others. Residents have however begged the governor to continue from he stopped before the forty years celebration. It was also observed that most of the model schools as well as some shops in some markets in the state have not been completed.