James Ogunnaike – Abeokuta
Ogun State Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun on Saturday, charged political appointees in the State to be ready to work, as the stage is now set for his administration to deliver the dividends of democracy to the people of the State.
The Governor who stated this at a 2- day Executive Council Strategy Session with the theme: “Building our Future Together”, held at the TTC, Ogere, Ikenne Local Government Area of the State, said it was time to work to impact positively on the lives of the people.
“It is time to work. It is important to gather, to explore and formalise various opportunities in the implementation of our building our future together agenda and take advantage of the abundant resources in the State.
“Your creativity and experience have started to manifest positively in your various Ministries, Department, and Agencies. You are to partner and ensure the development of the State and increase the prosperity of our people, irrespective of age, gender, political affiliations, and locations”, he said.
He said as a government committed to collectiveness and inclusiveness, it was important that all parts of the State were represented in decision making and processes as his model will concentrate on the people.
Abiodun said the retreat would serve as a platform to exchange ideas and come up with improved and more practical approaches towards the discharge of good governance.
The Governor who reeled out the achievements and what the administration planned to do, disclosed that the State alongside its neighbour, Lagos State, was on the verge of obtaining approval from the Federal government for the construction of the Abeokuta- Ota- Lagos road, adding that the Ijebu-Ode-Epe road would also be constructed to provide alternative route to the Lagos- Ibadan Expressway.
He said Ogun State has keyed into and benefited from the various Central Bank of Nigeria programmes, including, the Anchor Borrowers and Artisans training, adding that the State has been made the headquarters of Southwest Anchor Borrowers’ Programme, while two educational institutions have been designated to serve as centres for artisans training.
The Governor while explaining some of the interventions made in various sectors, said renovation is being carried out in 236 Primary schools – one in each of the wards, renovation of health facilities, setting up of OgunTECHUB, rehabilitation of township roads, among others.
In her remark, the Deputy Governor, Engr. Mrs. Noimot Salako-Oyedele, said it was a palley meant to brainstorm on the policy framework of the administration and come upon ways to achieving them.
Presenting a topic, “Effective Governance and Policies in a subnational, the guest speaker and Executive Vice Chairman, Ibadan School of Government and Public Policy, Prof. Tunji Olaopa, opined that for meaningful development to take place in the State, the administration must develop a change management programmes to deliver its vision and strategy indicating programme points, sequences, and phases.
He said it was imperative for the administration to “build multi-stakeholders, improve on the ease of doing business, get the civil service on a performance model, by using productivity and reward system, result-based budgeting and evidence-based performance”.
He added that it was also important to engage citizens, especially the youth, the social media for better appreciation of the government’s programmes.
Speaking on a topic, ” Overview of the Nigerian Macro-economic Economic Environment- Key Implications for Ogun State, the Chairman, Nigeria Economic Advisory Council, Dr. Doyin Salami and renowned financial expert, Mr. Bismarch Rewane, observed that lack of fund has contributed to the slow pace of development in the country as a paltry sum of $60bn was the yearly budget of the Federal, states and local governments.
They argued that for the State to witness any meaningful economic development, there must be concerted efforts by the government to reduce the cost of governance by 15 percent, rehabilitate bad roads, refurbish and build modern health facilities, develop a partnership with the private sector, encourage vocational and technical training.
They were also of the view that the State would get more fund to carry out its developmental programmes by taking Bond, refinance existing debts with cheaper and longer maturation period, a source for cheap funds as well as focus on what the State has a comparative advantage.
They enjoined the administration not to, “spend much, but spend smartly”.
Others speakers at the retreat were the Secretary to the State Government, Mr. Olatokunbo Talabi, who took the participants on the topic; Understanding Key Roles and Responsibilities within the State; the Head of Service, Mrs. Amope Chokor, introduced the Civil Service structure; while Commissioner for Finance and Economic Adviser, Dapo Okubadejo, spoke on the administration’s agenda, “Building our Future Together”, and the development pillars and key priorities for the next four years.