After the storm come the calm is a popular adage that better explain the joy and excitement that are ultimately accompanying the well thought-out policy action and infrastructural investment in Ogun State under the administration of Governor Ibikunle Amosun in the last seven years.
Despite the cacophony of noise emanating from different axis when the rebuilding mission started, Amosun kept his vision alive and with the dexterity and focus of a pilot cruising through turbulent cloud, he simply gave his all to the worthy course of steering a new path for the prosperity and greatness of Gateway State.
Since he assumed office about 2,725 days ago, Amosun has never hesitated to make it clear that his administration is about mission to re-build. The concept of re-building in policy terms assume that there are structures on ground to be rebuild. Another assumption for the “rebuilding” concept is that structures on ground are in a state of despair, disuse or outdated as not to serve present and modern realities or incapable of serving projected future needs.
Certainly prior to the coming of Amosun administration many existing structures in all sectors suffer from these shortcomings in areas like provisions of water, roads and educational facilities. That situation was further compounded by an almost paralysis of governance in the last year or so of the last administration of Otunba Gbenga Daniel following a protracted face-off between the executive and legislative arms of government.
Apparently, based on the above Amosun was on point in undertaken great social and economic experiment, noble in motive and far-reaching in purpose that anyone nursing ambition of succeeding him must be ready to sustain. Perhaps, the most interesting thing about Amosun feat is that his works speak for him. You need not tell lie in the effort to highlight his performances. Without doubt, a lot has changed since the governor came on board about 2,725 days ago. What is most visible and generating excitement among the indigenes/residents of ogun is the fact that Ogun State is on the fast track towards bridging its infrastructural deficit. The rebuilding work has impacted positively in different sectors of the State’s economy.
Unarguably, the government was challenged to invest heavily in infrastructural and rural development. This is a critical component of the ‘Mission to Rebuild’ in terms of creating an environment that supports industry and commerce as well as enabling inclusive economic growth. Over the past seven years, several hundreds of kilometres of roads have been constructed, expanded and resurfaced. The vision of the government is to create an environment that enables businesses to thrive, attracts investment and opens up new (and existing) areas for growth.
The Amosun government constructed the Ibara-Totoro Road, the first international standard six-lane road in the State. It built the flyover at Ibara, Abeokuta, also the first constructed by any administration since the creation of the State in 1976. The first 10-lane boulevard, which begins at Sokori and opens up into the elaborate Itoku Bridge, is a stamp of modernisation affixed to the state capital by the current administration.
The Amosun government brought to reality the Mobalufon overhead bridge in Ijebu Ode, which had been in the master plan of the State for decades, thus closing the slaughter-slab at the Mobalufon end of the Sagamu-Benin Road. Other overhead bridges in Sabo, Sagamu, Lagos Garage in Ijebu Ode, Sapon and Iyana Mortuary in Abeokuta have been completed and commissioned while work is ongoing in those at Ijebu Igbo and Ilaro.
The Amosun administration constructed the longest road, cutting across four local councils in Ogun West Senatorial District, the 107km Ilara-Ijoun Road. It ended the distress of commuters in and across Ado-Odo Ota Local Council through massive reconstruction of the strategically-located and commercially-important Ilo-Awela Road and modernised Ota through modern township roads. Ogun State, under the current government, is one huge construction site. The number of township roads, bridges rehabilitated or still under construction across the State are too numerous to mention.
Alongside infrastructure development, Amosun has carved out a niche for revolutionizing the education sector. Tuition fees and all forms of levies in the State have been abolished for all students in primary and secondary schools. In addition, the distribution of free textbooks to pupils of public primary and secondary schools by the Amosun administration has helped to ensure that education remains accessible. This has equally ended the practice in public schools where only the class teacher had textbooks or photocopies of textbooks while the pupils had none because of inability of parents to purchase them. The current government offset WAEC fees it inherited and has consistently paid the (WAEC) fees for final-year students of public secondary schools in the State since its inauguration in May, 2011.
The administration also constructed 15 state-of-the-art model schools out of a planned total of 28 across the State. Each school is designed to accommodate 1,000 students and over 200 teaching and non-teaching staff. The Amosun administration has consistently allocated over 20% of its yearly budget to education in accordance with UNESCO guidelines. It won the 2015 Fafunwa Educational Foundation award, as the state with the highest percentage budgetary allocation to education.
Similarly, affordable and efficient healthcare delivery is another cardinal development agenda of the Mission to rebuild where the administration has performed creditably. To ensure a world-class secondary and tertiary level healthcare that supports the primary healthcare in the state, a state-of-the-art Radio-Diagnostic Centre has been established in Olabisi Onabanjo University Teaching Hospital (OOUTH) through a Public Private Partnership (PPP) initiative. This Centre provides services such as multi-dimensional digital X-ray, ultrasound facility, telemedicine, mammography, fluoroscopy and CT scan.
The Amosun government was the first to pay its MDGs counterpart fund of N60 million to each of the three LGAs chosen as pilot project by the central MDGs. Its Gbomoro health scheme, which covered nine local councils, ensured that pregnant women not only enjoyed free health services but received free ante-natal materials and ‘mama kit’ for mother and baby. Maternal mortality of enrollees throughout the duration of the scheme was zero, a proud accomplishment by any administration.
Since 2011, the administration has ensured the procurement of affordable drugs and consumables from reputable companies and suppliers through a competitive bidding process. This has helped to use resources more efficiently and reduce the risk of inferior medication. Also, government set up across the State 35 HIV/AIDS Counselling/Testing Centres and 31 Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission (PMTCT) sites to take care of people living with HIV/AIDS, including free drugs for those with the disease.
Finance and financial policy under Senator Ibikunle Amosun administration is not short of ambition. The administration has continued to seek new ways to grow the economy of the State in order to achieve a sustainable and inclusive growth and development across the State. From a paltry N730 million monthly Internally Generated Revenue in 2011, the state currently boasted N7 billion and over 300 new industries have been established in the state between 2011 and 2018.
On a final note, for Ogun to continue to serve as a model for good governance , aspiring candidates into executive and legislative arms of government in the state must be ready to jealously preserve and sustain the Amosun’s legacies with the necessary political will. Anything short of this would only take the gateway state back to the years of darkness. God forbid!
Secretary to Abeokuta North Local Government, Abeokuta, Ogun State.