By Wale Akinola
DAPO Abiodun didn’t just bag Vanguard’s Governor of the Year 2021 Award. Abiodun emerged through a rigorous process and his selection is based on his creation of enduring economic development and individual prosperity in Ogun State.
He assumed office on May 29, 2019, and apparently hit the ground running.
Now looking back 30 months after, Abiodun has effected fundamental changes through initiatives encapsulated under the acronym I-S-E-Y-A. The initiatives aim to end poverty and misery and spread prosperity throughout Ogun.
He said as much in his mission statement that he would be focusing on “qualitative governance and to create the enabling environment for a public-private sector partnership, which is fundamental to the creation of an enduring economic development and individual prosperity of the people”.
Abiodun explained I-S-E-Y-A as follows:
I –Infrastructure Development
S – Social Welfare and Wellbeing
E – Education and Human Capital Development
Y – Youth Empowerment, and
A – Agriculture and Food Security
I-S-E-Y-A touches every sector in Ogun and the governor has been faithful in its implementation for the benefit of the people.
•Roads: Ogun people have never had it so bad in the area of good roads. As a matter of fact, bad roads have been identified as major impediments to economic activities including agriculture as farmers struggle to move farm produce to markets in urban centres. It was against this backdrop that Abiodun rose to the occasion within the first few months of his assumption of office by rehabilitating two major roads in each local government of the state. As at the last count, the administration has constructed 270kilometres of new roads across the three senatorial districts of Ogun while over 300kilometres of roads have been rehabilitated.
•Housing: Provision of not only affordable but also decent housing is one of the key promises Governor Abiodun made to the good people of Ogun State when he was soliciting for their votes ahead of the 2019 elections. The governor has proved that he is a promise keeper in this regard with several housing schemes springing up in all parts of the state. Prominent among such schemes are Prince Court Estate at Kemta, Idi-Aba, Abeokuta; King’s Court Estate (Abeokuta), Ilaro, Ota, Ijebu Ode and
•Reinvigoration of Security Architecture: Amid the raging insecurity in the country which has shut many states down, Governor Abiodun stands out among governors keeping their states safe from bandits, kidnappers and criminals generally. Ogun ranks among the safest states in Nigeria, thanks to the proactive measures employed by the administration which facilitated the amendment of the Ogun State Security Trust Fund, OGSTF, Law to strengthen security machinery in the state.
The governor, Dapo Abiodun distributed over 200 vehicles, 100 motorcycles to security agencies to bolster their operations against crime while also providing tracking devices to them and mainstreaming local hunters and vigilantes into the state security architecture. Helicopters are deployed for aerial surveillance, leading to the arrest of kidnappers and bandits who strayed into Ogun. To cap it all, Governor Abiodun is collaborating with his colleagues in the South-West through Amotekun Corps to strengthen regional security.
SOCIAL WELFARE & WELLBEING
Governor Dapo Abiodun is raising the bar in the health sector in line with his belief in the truism that health is wealth. He may not be a professional in the medical sector but he is aware of how crucial the Primary Health Centre, PHC, is to the functionality of the health sector in society. It is the first port of call for the vast majority of the people in need of health care. Yet, this level of health care has suffered neglect for so long. Governor Abiodun, on his assumption of office, reversed the trend with the rehabilitation of at least one PHC across all the 236 wards in the state. Today, Ogun people at the grassroots have access to PHC like never before.
Secondary level of health care is getting no less attention in Ogun under Governor Abiodun as general hospitals across the three senatorial districts of Ogun have been adequately equipped and a new fleet of 10 ambulances provided for them. For the tertiary level of health care, recruitment of resident doctors, nurses, pharmacists and other professionals into the Olabisi Onabanjo University Teaching Hospital, OOUTH, and provision of enabling environment have been a top priority of the Abiodun administration. For the second year running, we have been in a medical emergency imposed on the world by COVID-19 but Governor Abiodun has proved to be on top of the situation. In fact, the governor saw to it that Ogun was the first state to have the NCDC accredited Mobile Molecular Laboratory in Nigeria.
One of the areas where Governor Dapo Abiodun is having the most desired impact is education as shown in the recruitment of 5,000 OgunTeach interns into public schools across the 20 LGAs in the state. Before the governor’s assumption of office, shortage of teaching staff was the order of the day across Ogun. The administration also rehabilitated over 100 public primary and junior secondary schools while targeting 236 to conform with the Universal Basic Education Commission, UBEC’s recommended standard. A total of 132 Principals, 122 Vice Principals and four Zonal Secretaries have been promoted to fill the deficit the administration met across secondary schools including the promotion of the backlog of teachers’ promotion exercises for three preceding years. Altogether, 10,000 teaching and non-teaching staff members in the state are beneficiaries.
Unemployment is a national challenge. But the administration of Governor Abiodun is probably the only state government with a job portal where unemployed persons or business owners seeking career advancement register their profiles towards getting the desired result. Other initiatives of the governor to empower youths include the recruitment of 1,000 into the Ogun State Environmental Protection Agency, OGEPA, recruitment of 400 artisans across crafts (plumbing, electrical and building) into the State Ministry of Housing, mainstreaming of 2,000 ASCON entrants supposedly employed but without files into the civil service record and payment of their backlog of all salaries.