Dapo Abiodun Hits the Ground Running

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Femi Ogbonnikan writes on the programmes of the current administration in Ogun State, under the leadership of Dapo Abiodun, within two months of assumption office 

Vision drives ambition. Prince Dapo Abiodun, the sixth governor of Ogun State, leaves no one in doubt about this. In demonstration of his avowed commitments, his first major pre-occupation has been to boost the morale of both the public and civil servants in the state. At the core of service delivery, the governmental agencies and the individuals interface with the people on a daily basis. 

Despite the alleged near empty treasury he inherited from his predecessor, Abiodun pledges to go all out to ensure the prompt payment of workers salaries on/or before the last working day of the month. 

While addressing state’s workers during the second day of his assumption of office, on Monday, June 3, 2019, Abiodun rekindled hope in the workforce. He betrayed no emotion. 

“Whether the Federal Allocation comes on time or the monthly Internal Generated Revenue (IGR) is anything to go by, we will ensure your salaries are paid as and when due. I am assuring you that we will pay you on/or before the last day of the month,” he assured.

He has begun to redeem his pledge with the prompt payment of June salaries to civil servants.    

Quality healthcare delivery is one of the cardinal programmes of the Abiodun administration. Health, as they say, is the wealth of a nation. The governor, a week after he assumed the mantle of leadership, paid a surprise visit to the Olabisi Onabanjo University Teaching Hospital (OOUTH), Sagamu-Remo, where he met with its management team and bemoaned the deplorable dilapidated structures and obsolete equipment of the state-owned institution. This is the last vestige of the Amosun administration, touted to be “first among the equals” in teaching hospitals, churning out medical practitioners. The institution was traded as political vagaries to score cheap publicity and save the waning glory of the past administration. 

He ordered a complete overhaul of the clinical services for effective and efficient service delivery.

Reminiscent of his inauguration speech, the governor restated his commitments thus: “Apart from the constitutional arrangement that places the third tier of government close to the grassroots, it is believed that the self-enlightened interest of the state government is focused on good governance. 

“The commitment of our Administration to the empowerment of our local government councils to effectively and efficiently discharge their constitutionally guaranteed mandate is total. 

“My administration will evolve a new, but constitutionally backed arrangement that will make our local governments responsive and responsible to the yearnings of the people.”

Poised to provide better and improved living standards for the citizenry through qualitative governance, Abiodun has taken bold steps, including the approval of the establishment of an “Ogun Job Portal” which is for the continuous registration of unemployed youths in the state with a view to providing them with jobs suitable for their trade and academic qualifications; attracted the establishment of an Irish Dairy Milk Company; the proposed establishment of a Creative Arts and Entertainment Village in the state, inauguration of a committee on Moshood Abiola University of Science and Technology (MAUSTECH) and Ogun State Polytechnic, with a view to looking into the sustainability and viability of both state-owned tertiary institutions; rehabilitation of 236 schools, 60 roads and 236 health centres; inauguration of a Chieftaincy Review Committee for the protection of the traditional institution; the setting up of a visitation panel on Tai Solarin College of Education (TASCE), Omu-Ijebu, to look into the protracted crisis that has engulfed the institution; among others.

The Department of Public Works (DPW) has started rehabilitating roads. With the take-off of the enumeration of all the roads across the state that need repair, the essence is to begin works speedily without having to award third party contracts. At the same time, it has allowed for the development and empowerment of the local economy and, in no small measure, stimulates the local economy. 

Abiodun said: “So, if the rural or township road goes through a particular area and we are able to involve those that are in that catchment area in the supply of needed materials or labour etc, it will be our own way of stimulating the local economy.

“We have enumerated these roads; we have sent them back to their local governments; and we requested for their priorities and by so doing, we are also involving them in this process. In essence, it won’t be that we are repairing roads that are not their priorities.  

“You should know that, in the distant future you will begin to see activities in your backyard because we have gangs in Ijebu Ode.

“We intend to ensure that going forward, we are focusing on creating that enabling environment for people to come here and invest in the state. Before you come here to invest in the state you will want to see electricity, good roads, security and others. These are the things that anyone coming to invest in Ogun State will want to see.

“We have also decided that we are going to have an improved and indeed an Ogun State Investment Promotion Agency that will be headed by an Investment Banker, not just someone who doesn’t have what it takes to bring investment into the state.

“Till date, Ogun State has been rated largely for what we call the “Push” factor of Lagos, meaning that people coming to invest in Ogun State are networked to Lagos or perhaps there is no land available in Lagos; that is the “Push” factor. We are committed to changing it to a “Pull” factor.

“As a result, we will do all it takes to endear people to come here. We are creating that enabling environment for them to come so that Ogun State will be, as we have said, the number one economy in this country.”