By Femi Onasanya
Life, they say could be full of funny, awful and wonderful moments. This must have informed the reason the Yoruba race christened God as ‘Kabi o-osi’, that is, ‘Unquestionable God.’ The journey of Prince Dapo Abiodun, the new Governor of Ogun State who is also 59 years old today, has in no small measure become a testament of undauntedness amidst hopelessness and imminent failure. It is on record that his first appearance in politics was in 1997 when he contested for senatorial seat from the Ogun East Senatorial District and emerged victorious. Fortunately, he became a senator-elect as the youngest ever in Nigeria.
Since Dapo Abiodun was then less than 40, the age limit became a huge controversy which lingered on until the death of the then Head of State, General Sani Abacha which abruptly ended that republic. As if that was enough, Prince Abiodun reappeared in the political milieu again in 2015 by contesting for the same senatorial seat in which Prince Buruji Kashamu was declared winner. The Governor, who is being sworn-in today contested the result at the tribunal and won but things did not go his way at the Appeal Court.
By and large, Prince Abiodun, while giving testimony at a church outside the shore of Africa after his victory at the polls, recalled that he was convinced by an inner intuition that he would someday become the Governor of the Gateway State regardless of the past disappointment. Ordinarily, one may take such reasoning for a child’s play given the circumstances that bedeviled the previous passionate attempts. If at all we have read about Abraham Lincoln of the United States of America and wonder what kept him going in spite of failure in all elections he contested until he became the President of the United States of America, Ogun State today has a Governor who has refused to say “NO” to throwing in the towel. Incidentally, President Muhammodu Buhari, who is also being sworn-in for a second term in office had three failed attempts for the highest office in the country before he eventually tasted victory at the fourth attempt.
Without doubt, this same spirit must have informed the huge success Prince Abiodun recorded in the private sector as a serial entrepreneur and a major player in the downstream, midstream and upstream oil and gas industry in Nigeria. It cannot be taken away from the Governor that as a private citizen, he made impactful marks on the sands of time that earned him a national honour of Member of the Federal Republic (MFR), among many other awards and laurels that have come his way. It is on record that the Iperu-Remo born oil magnate was a former Chairman of the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) and his excellent performance in various positions he had held in the past speaks volume till date.
Little wonder the world was not surprised when Prince Abiodun few weeks after his victory at the polls, set-up a robust Economic Transition Committee led by the former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr. Tunde Lemo and numerous sons and daughters of Ogun State whose footprints in all areas of human endeavours in the country and beyond remain intimidating. Apart from this, the Governor without delay also set up work groups bordering on different strata of the society to vividly look into areas of concerns and needs of residents of Ogun State.
Commendably, the various work groups and committee have without delay turned in the outcome of their findings having done a critical appraisal and assessment of the current socio-economic situation of Ogun State. Expectedly, Prince Abiodun on receiving the reports stated that with his background as a business administrator, he would do all within his power to raise the current performance standard in order to meet the rising expectations of the Ogun State residents. Obviously, since the state’s helmsman has promised to effectively work towards implementing the recommendations of the committee, it can be aptly said that the Gateway State is in for a greater time.
Without doubt, it is known for world-over that any government that centers its activities and programmes around the people and their needs is on the way to an outstanding success. As such, the news that the present administration will put health centers in place in all the 236 wards of the state will go a long way in providing answer to the health need of the residents given the importance of health care delivery to the teeming population.
Unarguably, the present administration which had pledged to focus on raising the standard of human life has affirmed that it will attend to the infrastructural deficits across the length and breadth of the state without neglecting any area. Without doubt, the decision to revamp the Ogun State Road Maintenance Agency (OGROMA) will help the new constructing in its interest in road construction without any form of bureaucratic bottleneck.
It is also interesting to note that the Dapo Abiodun-led government is set to prioritise rural roads such that will enable agricultural development and encourage farmers to get their produce to the markets. Without mincing words, the development of the agriculture will enable its value chains to be brought to optimal use and the employment generation it will create will be second to none.
Also, it is no news that the Gateway State is strategically located given its nearness to Lagos which is the commercial capital of the country. Hence, the Lagos-Ogun Joint Commission which is being brought to the table by the present administration will catapult the development of common border areas and enhance development between the two states.
No doubt, the Governor who is renowned for his stint in the petroleum industry, promised to revisit the Olokola Free Trade Zone which is said to have the deepest end of the sea in the entire African continent. Hence, the economic benefit this initiative will bring to the state, its government and residents would be unprecedented. The Agbara-Igbesa Quandoguan Free Trade Zone which has been begging for attention over the years has also been given a nod by the new Governor that it would receive urgent attention so that the area which is no doubt the oil well of the Gateway State in terms of commercial activities will receive a quantum leap for better economic benefits.
Now that the government has said that workers welfare would be paramount to it, it is therefore, apt to say that Ogun workers can be confident that they will not be taken for granted. In addition, the creation of the Ministry of Labour and Productivity as promised by the Governor would no doubt help in engendering a cordial relationship between the workforce and the government.
The campaign slogan of Prince Dapo Abiodun which states that, “Building Our Future Together,” should at this moment be brought be the watchword of all and sundry in Ogun State. As such, all hands should be on deck to give the needed support to the new administration to achieve a great success. While I humbly wish the Governor of Ogun State a resounding hearty 59 cheers on the occasion of his inauguration and 59th birthday, I pray for his good success in the tasking assignment.
-Femi Onasanya wrote from the Ogun State Ministry of Information and Strategy, Abeokuta, via firstname.lastname@example.org (08036170135)