Separating the men from the boys among governors
Gradually the men are being separated from the boys among the new governors who took office on May 29.
After the symbolic 100 days in office, people now know those who came prepared for office in a country where people seek power for the sake of it and not, necessarily, because they have something to offer.
Among the new governors, there are those who have projects on ground to justify their more than three months’ stay in office while there are also those who are yet to find their bearing.
Governor Dapo Abiodun of Ogun State belongs to the former group, going by his activities of the past months.
He has hit the ground running and that is apparent in the key sectors of the economy of Ogun.
This is happening ahead of the constitution of a cabinet which many believe will be composed of competent hands to drive the administration developmental agenda.
Abiodun himself is a notable technocrat and those in the know say he is scouting for people of equally sound pedigree and with a record of performance to join him in the cabinet.
“A slaughter slab was better than the theatre of the Olabisi Onabanjo University Teaching Hospital when I visited the place. So bad, even a cow will refuse to be slaughtered there”, Abiodun, also a prince of Iperu Remo, said while interacting with a group of journalists on what he had seen during his on-the-spot assessment visits to some projects across Ogun.
The interaction came barely 24 hours after the tribunal affirmed his re-election.
Still basking in the euphoria of the tribunal judgement, Abiodun arrived the venue of the meeting accompanied by his Chief of Staff and Secretary to the State Government (SSG).
He chose to sit among his guests rather than on the ‘high table’ arranged for him and his entourage and apologised profusely for arriving late.
The meeting had apparently been delayed for about one hour because the governor was already in Lagos that morning for the interaction before an unscheduled assignment came up in Abeokuta.
So he had to go back to Abeokuta before rushing back to Lagos.
He regaled his audience with his arduous task of governance, saying fixing the state government-owned tertiary health facility (Olabisi Onabanjo University Teaching Hospital) was a priority for his administration to give the people access to quality healthcare at that level.
In the short run, the governor said his government would fix all the primary healthcare centres (PHCs) across the state because, of the three tiers of medical care, they are the closest to the people.
Abiodun regretted that people patronise quack doctors instead of the PHCs because that tier of healthcare was in bad shape and the public lacks the knowledge of how the PHCs can meet their medical needs.
“We are trying to reverse that trend through public enlightenment and putting the PHCs in good shape. The efforts are paying off as you can see a rise in the number of people who now patronise PHCs in the state”, he said.
“After putting the PHCs in good shape, we go round the state to invite residents to do checks like blood pressure, sugar levels, eye ailments and you know that people like doing such things for free. We use the occasion to tell them about the benefits of PHCs.
“We also tell them that they may not be able to attend General Hospitals if they don’t first go to PHCs. That is working like magic as it has increased awareness and attendance significantly at our PHCs.”
Among other things in the health sector, the governor said his administration had commenced the rehabilitation of facilities at OOUTH while recruiting all categories of healthcare professionals for the hospital.
The administration, he said, had also commenced the rehabilitation of the State Hospital Ilaro and the Medical Outreaches at Ilishan and Odeda.
On the provision of infrastructures, Abiodun stressed the importance of good roads to economic development while bemoaning the poor state of the roads his administration inherited.
To resolve the problem, the governor immediately on assumption of office set up the Public Works Agency which has been fixing roads across Ogun.
“In the short run, the agency has the mandate to fix three roads per local government. The roads were picked by each local government.”
The governor listed the giant strides of the nearly four months administration in the educational sector to include approval of the years 2016 and 2017 teachers’ promotion recommendations, commencement of the rehabilitation of one primary school per ward in the state, resolution of the issues at Moshood Abiola Polytechnic, commencement of the implementation of the recommendations of the visitation panel on Tai Solarin College of Education and the establishment of Govt Delivery Unit for Education.
Housing is not left out of the efforts of the governor to put smiles on the faces of the residents of Ogun as he has commenced the construction of 50 units of houses at Hilltop Estate, Abeokuta while a low income mass housing project has also started at Ibara in the state capital.
Abiodun’s passion for social welfare has also reflected in what his administration has done thus far as Ogun governor.
In specific terms, 1,000 widows have been empowered by his wife just as ‘Okowo Dapo’ loan program for empowerment with 2000 initial beneficiaries of N10, 000 each has been launched.
On security, he narrated how President Muhammadu Buhari ordered the deployment of a helicopter to Ogun within hours of his request after serial kidnappings happened in the state.
“The helicopter has, through aerial surveillance, invariably made Ogun unsafe for kidnappers and highway bandits”, the governor said.
To make the state safer, he spoke of the procurement of 100 4X4 pick-up patrol vehicles & 200 motor bikes for law enforcement agencies while the state Security Trust Fund (STF) Law has been amended and the STF Board inaugurated.
Making Ogun investment friendly is dear to the heart of a governor in a hurry to develop the economy of the state.
Consequently, he caused the amendment of the Investment Promotion Agency (IPA)/Ogun Invest Bill, the establishment of Ogun State Business Environment Council to improve and streamline internal processes towards achieving better scores in the Ease of Doing Business ranking, and the establishment of the Enterprise Development Agency (EDA) for capacity building and facilitation of financing access to support the MSME sector.
Abiodun said the state’s internally generated revenue (IGR) has significantly improved even if the tapping of the potentials in land, the largest source of IGR, has not started.
The measures already taken to increase the state IGR include OGIRS reforms, automation & transformation; informal sector enumeration & resident registration; centralization & automation of the administration & management of key revenue toll points.
One of the most important steps taken by the administration to create employment opportunities include the launch of Ogun Anchor Borrowers Programme with initial 2, 000 agro-preneurs allocated 1ha each.
The initiative, with the CBN support, is also targeted at triggering food revolution in Ogun.
The Abiodun administration has also launched the Ogun Job Portal and three Ogun TechHubs in aid of the efforts to reduce unemployment.
The state administration, according to the governor, has commenced energy sector reforms to make electricity readily available to residents while also establishing Ogun State Waste Management Agency.
“We are proud of what the Waste Management Agency is doing especially in Abeokuta. Go to the state capital and you will find that it is now very clean”, he said.
Throughout the interaction, Abiodun spoke like someone with a passion to develop Ogun.
“We are in a hurry to fix the state with the potentials and neighbour to the state with the largest economy in Africa”, he stated.
Branco sent in this piece from Abeokuta.