By Suleiman Bello
According to Henry Truman, a former American President, “men make history and not the other way round”. In periods where there is no leadership, society stands still. Progress occurs when courageous, skilful leaders seize the opportunity to change things for the better.
It would seem these words best describe the sterling qualities of Governor Ibikunle Amosun (SIA) who in few years has made things happen and affected the lives of others positively in one way or the other. Like Lee Kuan Yew of Singapore who built his country from the ashes of war, unbundled it from the shackles of poverty and polished it to the admiration of world viewers, Gov. Amosun is building institutional frameworks that are setting the state on a path to greatness.
Government has also undertaken a fundamental reform of the governance culture to emphasise transparency, accountability, due process and value orientation by all institutions and functions of government. This is a complete departure from the “share the money” syndrome of the past administration to a pattern of “work to earn a living”. The fact is that most politicians have been used to living in a society where government business is simply one of looting the treasury.
Amosun changed the trend and his opponents became confused and resorted to name calling. Let us not forget that theses people were in government before. While they were in power, what did they do except sharing money and creating insecurity?
After eight years of maladministration, corruption, treasury looting and insecurity of the immediate past administration, Gov. Ibikunle Amosun went straight to work having a ready idea of political, economical and social problems besetting his state and hit the ground running straight away. Nobody believed he’s imbued with such magnitude of vision. This is because the people had suffered afflictions of emotional and psychological distress from the previous government.
Due to its prudence, the MISSION TO REBUILD team of Gov. Ibikunle Amosun used the meagre resources to construct roads, build bridges and standard flyovers, fund education, promote tourism, develop agriculture and generate employment, invest in healthcare, fund affordable housing and ensure peace and security, thereby creating wealth and an atmosphere of socio-economic advancement.
Ogun State economy is now set to become robust and development focused and it is hard to see anything else to reverse the trend. Critics may be reluctant to acknowledge the giant strides but Ogun is already buoyed for industrial and economic development and it’s likely to remain so for a long time to come. This is evident in the large number of manufacturing outfits ready to establish in the state and give employment to our teeming youths. World Bank in its Doing Business in Nigeria 2014 report rated Ogun state among the top performing states that made biggest stride towards national frontier for economic growth.
This is the direct consequence of the interplay of well-thought out policies, programmes and projects executed by the administration. However, getting a fuller grasp of what MISSION TO REBUILD embodies will necessarily require a forensic examination of policy- project mix that has defined the ideological focus of Gov. Ibikunle Amosun administration as a progressive one. Ogun state has witnessed remarkable increase in economic activities in recent years.
The MISSION TO REBUILD is more of a product of the unparalleled infrastructure drive of the Amosun administration than any other administration in Ogun State.
It is not an overstatement of the fact that no administration in Ogun State had pursued infrastructure development like the present government. Even royal fathers testified that the past three and the half years of Amosun administration have been like twenty years of development in the state.
The Amosun administration realised early enough that any government that fails to make infrastructure development a priority is doing a disservice to the people and good a thing the government holds the view that road development holds the key to transform the state and enhance the socio-economic prosperity of the people. Therefore, the government embarked on some ambitious and gigantic road projects and modern flyovers which dots major towns in the state. A unique feature of this is the dualisation of virtually all major roads and flyovers in the state and a corresponding construction of standard drainages in a state where hitherto, drainage had been nonexistent and flooding a major problem. This is called the “Ogun Standard”!
The MISSION TO REBUILD considers security as one of its cardinal concerns, having realised that no development could take place without adequate security. The administration embarked on comprehensive overhaul of the security system. He set up a Quick Response Squad (QRS) with the state of the art equipment and place them strategically in every part of the fast growing state including the rural areas that are fast becoming cities.
The government of Senator Ibikunle Amosun has also undertaken a comprehensive overhaul of the education sector from primary to tertiary levels with emphasis on the provision of infrastructure and the development of science and technology as well as training and retraining of teachers as the bedrock of learning.
Today, in Ogun state, education is free from primary to secondary level with the provisions of essential materials such as school uniforms , sandals, school bags, and text books to students without a single dime paid by them. Government is also rehabilitating and upgrading some of the schools in dilapidated condition. Government is also building 20 new model secondary schools with boarding facilities across the state from scratch and the schools will be fully equipped with science laboratories and modern facilities required in the 21st century learning. Also, in the last three and a half years, Amosun government has been paying WAEC and NECO fees for all students in public schools across the state.
The government of Amosun is providing free medical treatment for children, pregnant women and aged people in the state. All existing health facilities in the state have been made functional for effective medical care to our people. Drugs and modern equipment are being provided in almost all the hospitals in the state.
One can appreciate the modest effort of government to revive the lost glory of agriculture which was once the mainstay of the Nigerian economy. The government established a policy framework to revive agriculture by making it more attractive to young graduates. The moribund farm settlements are being revived to make them functional. Farmers are being encouraged to form co-operatives in order to attract loans from government. Improved seedlings are also distributed to farmers free. Many youths are now going into agriculture through the modest effort of the state government and this has reduced unemployment in the state.
Amosun’s administration is also pursuing an integrated approach to youth development, empowerment and employment generation such as skills acquisition, establishment of small scale businesses based on the skills acquired. Loans are also given out to small scale entrepreneurs in the state.
Civil Service and Local Government systems have been re-organised and refocused to enhance workers’ welfare, productivity and training to make the public service very effective. The local governments have been refocused to bring about development to the grassroots. The government is also Gender Friendly. Women have been given equal opportunity to participate fully in policy making, governance and decision making. More gender sensitive policies had been made to promote women appointment to enhance their active involvement in governance.
The projects that are springing up everywhere in the state have deservedly brought merit to the administration of Governor Ibikunle Amosun. The government is not just making noise, it is busy day and night matching its words with action.
The administration is totally committed to providing affordable housing having regard to shelter as one of the basic needs of the people. Government has therefore strengthened all relevant agencies in the housing sector to move into action.
A case in point is the recently introduced HOUSE OWNERSHIP SCHEME which has tremendously lessened the cumbersome process and crashed the hitherto exorbitant cost of processing certificate of occupancy (C of O) by the people of the state.
The government of Senator Ibikunle Amosun has made giant strides in developing the state called Ogun in all facets of human endeavour. With the courageous determination of the present government to succeed where others failed and to make a difference where others gave excuses, the dream of making Ogun state an industrial and economic giant in Nigeria is within our reach in the next couple of years.
For this gestation period to complete its cycle, Gov. Ibikunle Amosun deserves another term for him to fully complete his assignment to BUILD THE NEW OGUN STATE OF OUR DREAMS!
The so-called aggrieved godfathers of Ogun politics should sheathe their swords if they truly, in the word of our revered Obafemi Aeolowo, would not stake development for parochial interests. They should co-operate and shift their stand in the interest of the common people that they claim they are fighting for.
Therefore, it is only proper that the initiator of this DREAM is given a fresh mandate on 11 April to complete the on-going projects. We can not make the mistake of eight years ago again. Ponder on this.
Lee Kuan Yew in capping the secret of his success said: “people cannot afford to forget that public order, security, economic and social progress and prosperity are not the natural order of things, that they depend on ceaseless efforts and attention from an honest and effective government that people must elect.”
We can not make the mistake of eight years ago again. Ponder on this.
•Bello wrote from Imeko, Ogun State.
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