Governor Abiola Ajimobi
Since assuming office on May 29, 2011, Governor Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State has stepped up massive transformation of the state through infrastructural development, to make life more meaningful to the ordinary people on the streets, writes Jaiyeola Andrews
Before becoming the governor of Oyo State, Senator Abiola Ajimobi may have drawn a master plan on how he would want the state to be if eventually he occupies the exalted position.
Now, the government of Ajimobi said it is working hard to take Oyo state to the Promised Land, and in this wise had embarked on infrastructural development all in a bid to turn the state around and make it a role model for other states across the federation.
The present administration said the industrialisation of the state took them to China recently. It said it was poised to make the state investment-friendly where investors across the world would plough their resources in the state for the benefit of all its citizens.
The state government, in an executive brief, hinted on its recent mission to China, saying it was collaboration between the Oyo State Government, First Bank of Nigeria and RAHVET group.
Tackling Infrastructure Deficit
It is an open secret that infrastructural deficit is the major bane staring the Nigerian economy in the face. The direct linkage between infrastructural development and economic well-being is paramount in any given society. Economists are of the views that for Nigeria to develop economically and socially, priority attention must be given to infrastructural development.
In an executive brief made available to THISDAY, Oyo State Government said it was focusing on power generation and would encourage foreign contractors and investors to participate in power generation in the state.
“Oyo State Government would like to assure investors and contractors that there is ready market for whatever is produced or generated. Oyo State is also open to discussion on different investment schemes such as build-operate-transfer and contractor-financing arrangement” Ajimobi hinted.
Also speaking on the development strides of Ajimobi’s administration in the state, the state Finance Commissioner, Mr. Zacheaus Adelabu, told THISDAY that the state government has done extremely well in the security situation in the state and has ensured the improvement of the welfare of its workforce.
“The new place we want to focus on now is industrialisation. We want to industrialise the state and the caption word is very simple; we don’t want to purchase what we can produce.
“There is need for us to go back into real production to get our citizens busy, we are only about 10 million and we want to ensure that our citizens are involved in full production. We have an edge in agriculture, we want to mechanise it and we will get it mechanised.
“We are also focusing on health and we are bringing in investors. We were in China and we have spoken with them and they have agreed to invest in the state health sector. They are bringing the latest technology that is available anywhere in the world into Oyo State and they will help to equip and run the hospitals for us this is a Private Public Partnership thing”, Adelabu said.
He explained further: “After we have done that, we are also moving into Information Technology. If you look at the world today, both in the education system and for easy administration, we cannot continue to depend on the movement of files from one table to another; we want computerised and digitalised processes and this is one of the areas of IT usage.
“So we are focusing extensively on that; not only on that, on the environment. If you look around, you will see the way they put masts haphazardly in the state. We are bringing in investors that will help in relocating the mast to locations that will not be hazardous to the people and it can be properly controlled.
“These are the key areas that by the grace of God in the next eighteen months we are going to focus on, not only that we want to focus on mass housing, now that there is security and infrastructure, water, housing, education these are the areas that are fully mechanised.
“We are going to industrialisation, farming which is the main thing that we want to do now. Also in the area of transportation, if you have a population of about ten million people out of which five million move from one place to another every day, so there is need to focus more on transportation and as you can see we have made arrangement for that we have buses that will convey our staffs to and fro from their homes and back to their working place same we have done for the citizens of Oyo state”, the commissioner added.
“We have noticed that in Ibadan here a lot of our people are involved in petty trading, we are into the construction of mega market, and one is already finished while others is nearing completion I think about seven of them around the state. Not only that funds will be available to all these petty traders as a form of fund conditional cash transfer that will actually ginger real production.
“The next focus for us now in the state is just that we need to industrialise, we need to reactivate the economic activities of the state and also we will drive the focus of whatever we planned that is what we can produce we will not purchase”, Adelabu averred.
Focus on Health
Although the governor admitted that health sector performance in the state has not reached the desired level, he however pointed out that his government is doing its utmost best to improve the health care facilities in the state.
He said his administration will partner experienced as well as well-endowed international corporations and development partners that would complement his administration’s activities in improving and upgrading health facilities in the state.
Also on the provision of potable water, he said investors are also encouraged to participate, noting that there are challenges hindering efficient and reliable provision of water which include, funding, plant expansion, power supply, topographical terrain, but assured that his government is up to the task.
On integrated market development, Ajimobi said, “Oyo State is one of the most economically advanced states in Nigeria. Ibadan City is reputed to be the largest commercial hub in West Africa, and commerce is a major economic activity of the people in Oyo State.
“The existing market facilities in Ibadan and other major towns and cities are insufficient. The ongoing urban-renewal process in Ibadan and other major cities and towns necessitates that new neighborhood and major market facilities be built.”
The governor restated the determination of his administration to further develop Ibadan with a view to making it the leading commercial hub in Africa, and in this wise he said existing facilities had been upgraded and expanded.
He disclosed that his government, in partnership with the federal government, jointly established Erunmu Inland Container Depot, which is yet to be completed but will be complemented with the establishment of others.
The issue of housing for all has been on the frontburner for decades with successive governments both at the state and federal levels having failed to provide it. Ajimobi said his government is poised to reverse the trend.
He said presently, his government has been allocating prime land to Real Estate companies with a view to building houses that will be affordable for the people. The governor stressed that his government is ready to partner investors to make the housing target a reality.
The Chinese investors, according to documents made available to THISDAY, will soon be in Oyo State to set up an electric transformer factory in the state.
In doing this, checks indicated that there will be a focus of extensive rural electrification programme, which requires that the state government will be the buyer of electric transformers and accessories.
Already, the government has expressed its readiness to support the Chinese initiative, as it will also generate direct and indirect employment for the people of the state.
In the late 70s and early 80s, one of the first set of vehicle assembly plants was established in the ancient city of Ibadan, where Leyland brand of vehicles were being produced.
Presently, the Oyo State Government, according to checks, has given approval to a set of incentives to Rahvet Group to support the proposed Geely Production Line in Ibadan. The government said it will work in conjunction with the manufacturers to establish Vehicle Production Village in the proposed industrial park.
On the proposed industrial park, Ajimobi hinted that “the decision to set up industrial parks is to encourage the establishment of SMEs in an environment that promotes rapid and sustainable industrial development.
“The importance of SMEs in a country’s industrial and economic development cannot be over-emphasised. Their remarkable effect in generating massive employment opportunities is widely acknowledged.
“Henceforth, the government would not have any problem in supporting the various Chinese investors and manufacturers that have signified intention and strong desire to establish factories that would be producing different range of products for the Nigerian and regional markets”, the governor added.
With the efforts being put in place by Governor Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State in turning the fortune of his state around, couple with the recent investment drive to China, the people of the state may have been savouring the dividends of democracy.