For three years, a sizeable number of Ondo State indigenes within and outside the state were seemingly stuck with a particular mindset of non-performance by the governor of Ondo State, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, no thanks to a set of unbridled propaganda effectively put in place to undermine the governor’s credibility, integrity and leadership proficiency, interestingly by members of a splinter group within Ondo APC, the ruling party, who criticize blindly for their own selfish ends and not because they care that much about the people’s welfare.
The misinformation of non-performance was so thick in the air that the growing consensus was that Akeredolu could emerge as the worst governor ever produced in Ondo State at the end of his first term of office. The other angle to this unfortunate scenario was the fact that until recently when the governor rejigged his media team, those vested with the responsibility of disseminating adequate and factual information to the general public about government’s landmark activities and achievements were a quiescent lot, inactive and lacking in appropriate communication strategies that could have mitigated the deceptive antics of the renegades and their co-travellers.
However, events that played out during the third-anniversary celebrations of the Akeredolu administration made visible the governor’s towering legacies that effectively gave the lie to the vicious and provocative insinuations of non-performance.
Indeed, the governor has been overwhelmingly impressive in keeping faith with promises made to his people by walking the talk with decisive giant strides, even to a point of distinction.
His intent on taking Ondo State to greater heights through the instrumentality of a veritable blueprint was a clear indication that he was totally focused and well prepared for governance. No doubt, strict adherence to this equitable, inclusive and strategic blueprint anchored on five cardinal programmes aptly tagged, ‘Platforms for Change’, has been responsible for Akeredolu’s five-star performance in the last three years.
The promise of creating more wealth, empowerment and job opportunities for the people through agriculture, entrepreneurship and industrialization, one of the Blueprint’s five platforms for change, has become a huge reality, as the state’s agrarian economy is rapidly shifting to an industrial one. An economic transformation is indeed permeating the state, and it’s a feat that is consistently inspiring a lot of public confidence in Akeredolu’s government.
To underscore his government’s desire and commitment to open up the Sunshine State, transform it from a civil service-driven one to an industrial hub of the South-West and therefore broaden her economic base, Akeredolu made concerted efforts to create a conducive environment that consequently attracted and is still attracting several credible foreign and local investments to the state in the areas of agro-industry, tourism, infrastructure and other economic activities that have unprecedentedly led to massive job creation for the unemployed youths, a thriving economy and general wellbeing of the people.
For instance, within the Ore Industrial park in Odigbo Local Government Area of the state is the Ondo- Linyi Industrial Hub, a creation of Governor Akeredolu’s purposeful government in partnership with Chinese investors, which comprises an automobile assembly plant that is about to roll 200 trucks off the assembly lines, paper mill factory, textile mill whose products include sewing thread, polyester embroidery, lace and Ankara fabrics, the largest cassava to ethanol Factory in Nigeria, as well as Nigeria’s first MDF Factory that produces high–density fibre and marine boards.
Donald Ojogo, the Ondo-State Information Commissioner, summed it all up succinctly by saying that, ‘from within the Ondo-Linyi Industrial Hub are success stories of the uncommon ilk. With an investment inflow of N20 billion, massive employment opportunities of both direct and indirect jobs abound through the instrumentality of five major foreign companies’.
The good news again, according to Alex Ajipe, the manager of the Industrial Hub, is the fact that currently, 15 different companies were already sited in the hub for operations, which include wood processing, textiles, exploration and agriculture. The prospects of the state getting more industrialized are getting higher as over a hundred companies have subscribed to the second phase of the Ondo-Linyi Industrial hub.
For Arakunrin Akeredolu however, the industrial park is just a tip of the iceberg when compared to other development projects being facilitated by his administration and which are currently opening up the state and turning around its economy.
The governor further revealed that the ultimate game-changer and the biggest legacy he would be leaving for posterity would be the actualization of the proposed Ondo deep seaport development project which its implementation plans are already in the final stage and expected to generate more than N500 billion investments as well as over 20,000 job opportunities.
There is, therefore, a compelling need for continuity of such a purposeful administration that has successfully laid a solid foundation for sustainable and inclusive growth in the state, that is creating limitless boundaries for endless opportunities for the people, that is restoring hope for a job and food security, that is transforming lives and stimulating the economic space for people’s benefit; a government that is setting people free from the pangs of hunger and deprivation through real wealth creation and empowerment; a government that is robustly redeeming and renewing broken infrastructure and social values, among others.
Good enough, the very discerning people of Ondo State do recognize and acknowledge these facts and have come to the realization that the only logical reasoning right now is to give Akeredolu a second term as governor so that he can effectively conclude all his people-centred projects and ultimately take Ondo State to greater heights.
To borrow the lyrics of one popular song by that reggae music legend, the late Bob Marley, the ambition of several governorship aspirants in APC and other political parties in Ondo State will remain but a fleeting illusion to be pursued but never attained, at least not in the next four years.
‘Ogunremi, a public analyst, wrote from Akure, Ondo State.
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