By Raheem Ajayi
The mission to rebuild Ogun state (MITROS) is significantly unleashing the abundant socio-economic potentials across the length and breadth of the State through ambitious improvements in infrastructural architectures. More importantly however is that effort at improving infrastructure is placing the gateway state on a sure-footed pedestal of irreversible developmental agenda. As diversification increasingly becomes the only viable option for repositioning the Nigerian economy, Ogun state is poised to fully deploy her potentials as the ultimate destination of choice for investments and habitation. Indeed, the new Ogun state bequeaths a promising future that will make life more abundant for all through ease of access to the limitless opportunities for ramified socio-economic advancements.
In 2011 when the administration of Senator Ibikunle Amosun came on board, Ogun state was rated as number 35 on the scale of ease of doing business by the World bank. Three years later, in 2014 the State moved to number 4, thanks to the ingenuity of the administration.
With continuous infrastructural transformation spreading across the nooks and crannies of the state, new opportunities are not only emerging but also growing in leaps and bounds across virtually all the sectors of the economy.
The Â Ogun State offers huge opportunities with investment friendly land policy and tax regimes. The cross sections of the state are gradually becoming beehive of economic activities in agro-allied ventures as well as in wide range of non-oil sectors of the economy. In fact Ogun State alone contributes 35% to the non-oil sector of the economy. However, when allocations are made to the states, Ogun is given low percentage placed at number 26 in a sector it contributes 35%!
While a good number of private and corporate entities are exploring and taking advantage of opportunities offers by the new dawn that berths in Ogun state, the greater impetus for consolidating on socio-economic prosperity at domestic and commercial levels continues to validate the vision of the current leadership in the state as well as steer the commitment of the government towards the agenda of consolidating on the gains already recorded.
The sheer scale of the rising investment wave is breathtaking. IGR rose from less than 1b Naira in 2011 to 7b Naira in 2017 and still rising. 95% of foreign direct investments in the country streamed into Ogun State within the period under reference.
Over 300 industries have been attracted into Ogun State during the same period with 148 of them investing over 200 million US Dollars.
Unilever alone has created over 7500 direct jobs with multiple indirect jobs. Ogun State is thereby positioned as investment destination of choice for prospective companies seeking internal and external economies.
There is no doubt that Senator Amosun has placed Ogun State on an inexorable path to inclusive economic growth: a sine qua non for development of the people.
The journey into the new era of enhanced socio-economic prosperity began in 2011 with deliberate focus on expansion of infrastructures aimed at stimulating direct foreign investment as well as creating opportunities for all categories of local stakeholders in the private and corporate sectors of the Nigerian economy. Since assumption of office, the administration of Senator Â Amosun has been committed to consolidating on its mission to rebuild and reposition Ogun State towards maximizing the human and material resources across the state. The mission which has been sustained with doggedness manifested in massive investments in urban renewal as well as in the transformation of rural communities in meeting with the expectations of a prosperous future.
It should be instructive to emphasise that the journey to the new era in Ogun state which has assumed a gradual but unassailable momentum led to the epoch-making infrastructural revolution in Abeokuta the state capital. Within a space of short time, the state capital witnessed an uncommon transformation from its hitherto backwater status into a modern city centre that is fast growing into a metropolis of some uniqueness. The zeal for infrastructural development has also turned sprawling enclaves across the three senatorial districts of the state into strategic locations for exploring socio-economic opportunities. A 35km Sango-Ijoko-Alagbole-Agbado-Akute-Berger road linking Lagos State which can well be called a legacy road is 70% completed. The road has 8 bridges and when completed, it Will take away the burden away from Lagos-Ibadan road. Ironically, residents in this area work and pay their taxes to Lagos State. Works have begun on Owode-Ilaro road while that of Â Ilishan-Ago Iwoye is nearing completion. Mobalufon bridge, Lagos garage as well as Saka-Ashiru have turned the fortunes of Ijebu Ode around.
However, towards ensuring that human development index matches the expectations in infrastructural development, deliberate attention has been focused on the education sector necessitating improvement as well as enhancement in access to educational facilities at all levels across the state. The ultimate focus in the education has been to provide the needed knowledge-driven empowerment and capacity for productive engagements. This has consequently necessitated equal priority attention to vocational training and skills acquisition with special focus on the population of women and the youth. That was why the Government collaborated with Samsung from South Korea to bring to life the moribund Government Technical College Idi-Aba where various vocational trainings are ongoing to prepare our youth for the job opportunities that abound in the state as a result of the industrialisation.
There is no doubt that investment and improvement in infrastructures particularly road networks will ultimately translate into opportunities that could be leveraged upon in view of the strategic proximities to Lagos; the commercial nerve centre as well as with Nigeriaâ€™s land and sea ports. Notwithstanding repositioning the economy of Ogun state through improved capacity and engagement in agricultural activities has been a cardinal focus of the current administration. Towards achieving this laudable objectives, the government has initiated a number of partnership projects to encourage productive engagement in production and processing of agricultural produce in Ogun State. The World witnessed rice revolution recently in Ogun state with Mitros Sawonjo rice Â and Mitros Ofada rice defining the next stage of rice production in Nigeria.
More importantly however is that the government has remained committed to ensuring that the process of land acquisition in Ogun state is no longer fraught with encumbrances but rather to enhance investment drive as well as to guarantee small scale land ownership for domestic and livelihood purposes.
There are huge prospects for exploring the emerging hub of socio-economic opportunities in Ogun state. The future remains even brighter with prospects of sustaining the tempo of creative and progressive leadership in the horizon.Â Governor Amosun while addressing a World Press Conference few days ago to herald the fourth and final Investors forum of his administration, which comes up between 20th and 21st of March, said that he will be leaving as a happy and proud man. Remarking on the theme of the forum consolidating on the gains; accelerating growth, he said Ogun stateâ€™s internally generated revenue, IGR, will be pushed to 10bn Naira before his tenure ends.
Raheem Ajayi, Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Public Affairs, wrote from Abeokuta, Ogun State.