By Dayo Johnson, AKURE
No doubt, since taking the oath of office on February 24, 2017, Arakunrin Rotimi Akeredolu has, in no small measure, moved Ondo State to enviable heights as governor.
Doing a critique of how Akeredolu has fared in his journey to a greater Ondo showed that he has not only left his imprints on the sand of time, he has equally engraved his nickname ‘Aketi’ in the minds of the people of the ‘Sunshine State’.
Popularly referred to as governor “talk and do”, Akeredolu has truly fulfilled his electoral promises to the people of the state in the last six years that he has been in the saddle. One of these was the payment of the six out of the seven months unpaid workers salary by the immediate past administration in Ondo.
Akeredolu, by this singular action then, won the hearts of civil servants. But paucity of funds has made the governor to now resort to payment of percentage salaries.
In a fair assessment of his performance, Akeredolu has measured up to standard in many areas and scored low marks in few areas.
A quick rundown of his achievements in various sectors of the Ondo economy shows that he would be remembered by the legacy projects initiated by his administration.
That aside, his first 100 days of his second term in office has further punctured the belief that second term governors go to sleep after inauguration as Akeredolu has not stopped breaking new grounds in taking the ‘Sunshine State’ to higher heights in the various sectors of the state economy.
The governor has made it a point of duty to distribute projects executed by his administration across the three senatorial districts of the state.
Ondo, over the years, had suffered inadequate supply of potable water that led many individuals into seeking alternative from unhygienic water sources which, invariably, exposed the majority to waterborne diseases.
To ensure water security in the state, Akeredolu introduced ‘Kamomi Aketi’, a water project is designed to solve the need of potable water supply across the 18 local government areas of the state.
Also, over 2, 000 boreholes have been constructed in 15 council areas of Ondo.
The Kamomi Aketi water scheme expanded the story of water supply in the state in 2017 from four per cent to about 30%
This led to the commissioning of the Kamomi Aketi accelerated water scheme in Owo and water treatment plants at Ile-oluji Okeigbo, Oba Akoko and Ido Ani.
No fewer than 7, 000 students of Ondo extraction were given bursary in the 100 days of the Akeredolu administration.
N10, 000 was disbursed to regular students while their counterparts studying law as well as medicine got N50, 000 each.
The Akeredolu’s magic touch on roads rehabilitation and construction does not discriminate against federal or local government roads. This is the case of the Owo-Ikare Road and several other roads spread across the three senatorial districts of the state.
Those commissioned include the Orita Obele Road, Adetade Road, Akure, Omolayo Street, Akure, Ijapo Estate Road network, St. John’s Road, Oba-Ile and Araromi-Obu Township Road.
Although his predecessor constructed a new governor’s lodge, Akeredolu said the building had structural defects hence the urgent need to construct a new lodge. He noted that “it would take a superman” to live in that defective building.
Akeredolu said his administration is embarking on a new governor’s lodge because the state does not have one, adding that shelter cannot be abrogated in human’s scale of preference.
“The governor’s lodge built by the immediate past administration has several defects which pose a huge threat to human living”, he said, noting that the poorly constructed building appears to be weak and may collapse anytime.
“The new aesthetic governor’s lodge was conceived with the best expectations of any governor’s lodge in Nigeria”, he added.
“The structure sits on approximately 2,000 square meters of land and measures about 18 meters from the ground floor to the tip of the iconic roof.
“The facilities will house a banquet hall to sit about 250 guests, basement parking, indoor and outdoor kitchen, swimming pool, sitting lounge, atrium sitting room, bedrooms and other functional spaces.
“Information Communication Technology (ICT) software and gadgets will be applied in the finishing of this edifice while the entire environment will be adorned with both soft and hard landscape”.
The construction of the first government house mosque within 100 days earned Akeredolu accolades from Muslims within and outside the state.
Akeredolu named the mosque after the erstwhile Chairman of the state Muslim Welfare Board, the late Alhaji Khaleel Fawehinmi, who died last year.
The governor said the construction of the mosque inside the Government House exemplifies the essence of unity in diversity, love and peaceful coexistence.
“The commissioning of the mosque would now afford public servants in this environment the opportunity to perform their religious obligations with much ease”, he said.
“It would also avail our Muslim visitors the opportunity of a conducive place of worship.”
The mosque has an office accommodation for the Imam, adequate ablution facilities for male and female faithful with attendant conveniences, ramp for special persons, terrace tiles among others.
Akeredolu, being the Chairman of the South-West Governors Forum, spearheaded the inauguration of the regional security outfit codenamed Amotekun despite opposition and high level conspiracy against the outfit to stem the activities of the ravaging herdsmen across the region. This outfit has been helping to curb crime in Ondo.
Within his 100 days in office, the governor purchased 20 patrol vehicles to boost the operations of Amotekun and equally ensured that over 530 new personnel were employed for the outfit.
Not only that, in a bid to provide conducive working environment for the management and staff of Amotekun, the administrative headquarters and control room was built by the administration.
Consequently, the impact of Amotekun in Ondo has been remarkable and has given hope in the management of security.
It has also reinforced the long time view that state and community-based policing are the panacea to the country’s security challenges.
Training for 3, 000 unemployed graduates in digital programme
To address the challenge of teachers deficit in public primary schools in the state, Akeredolu employed over 1, 200.
He equally flagged off a Digital Training Programme tagged ‘Ondo-Engage’ for 3, 000 unemployed graduates in the state as part of the activities marking the first 100 days of the second term in office.
The training, which will last nine months, will focus on digital economy and was organised through the State Information Technology Agency (SITA) in partnership with Envivo Communications Limited and Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). Participants will be paid monthly stipend throughout the period of the training and get laptops and data.
Also, to demonstrate his commitment to the welfare of the state workforce, the governor approved the promotion of 3, 000 teachers in the State Teaching Service.
Red Gold Project
The governor said that the Red Gold Project was designed to revolutionise the Ondo oil palm sector, noting that the dwindling economy of the country predicated upon the monolithic nature of its earnings had made diversification inevitable
“Dwindling and erratic market of crude oil globally has made it imperative for Nigeria as a nation to diversify our revenue sources”, Akeredolu said.
“We have over-relied for too long on fossil fuel revenue. The need to diversify the economy is imperative for any hope of a future for our country”.
The governor highlighted the various value chains of oil palm to include domestic consumption and industrial uses.
A piggery project located at Ilutoro in Akure North is expected to employ 4, 000 youths and women in value chain process.
Akeredolu’s reason for the piggery project was to address capital flight on meat consumption, describing as mind boggling millions of naira that leave the state weekly on beef consumption in form of capital flight. Other feats achieved within 100 days include the groundbreaking of the first privately owned Inland Terminal LPG Storage Facility in the country.
The facility, sited within the Ore Industrial Hub by Alles Charis, will gulp over #5.5Billion with over 300 jobs to be created initially.
Findings showed that over 2000metric tones of Liquefied Petroleum Gas will be produced when the first phase is completed within the last quarter of this year.
Akeredolu also extended the celebration of the season to over 720 elderly people and widows across the state by treating them to a sumptuous meal and presentation of special packages to them.
The widows and the aged, 40 from each of the 18 local government areas of the state, were given N5,000 each.