In assessing a political leader, the primary qualities to consider include the theoretical ideals of vision, commitment and political will. Then, of the leader’s capacity to deliver in terms of concrete achievements.
A leader is adjudged to be a success, if his contributions are visibly evident, but a failure if there are little or no achievements to show for the period he was in office. Rarely, do we take into consideration the impossible state of affairs – that is, an imagination of the extent to which things would have been worse without the services of the pragmatic and energetic leader.
It follows, therefore, that a meaningful assessment of any leader must always take into consideration the special circumstances into which fate has thrust him and how much efforts and energy he has invested to make a change, a very positive one indeed. This is where history will be kind to Governor Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun state.
When Amosun assumed office after the 2011 and 2015 general elections respectively, he inherited acute development challenges. More than ever, the state was politically polarized along unemployed youths and unmotorable road network across the three Senatorial Districts of the state. But, today, after six years in office, Amosun has already recorded remarkable progress in all the sectors of economic recovery of the state, through his Transformation Agenda. Within a short period of time in office, Governor Amosun had been able to correct the negative view of the people of the state towards governance.
Our amiable governor has within six years of his assumption of office proved critics wrong by being responsive and progressive in the discharge of his duties to the people of the state. Even, the common man is not only happy in the gateway state, peace which was once eluded the people some years ago has returned. The entire Senatorial Zones in the state are witnessing massive reconstruction and rebuilding process or the other. Roads, schools, health institutions are being structured for lasting use. Yes, Amosun had done very well to reposition the economy of the state. He has further demonstrated the servant role of a government to the people. The governor has taken the Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) to an enviable and sustainable position, thus deriving some funds to collectively embark on infrastructural development. Today, the people’s welfare and security is better off. A government is worth protecting and supporting, if it has met the yearning of the people.
And going by the sheer number of higher institutions of learning in Ogun State alone, the state should have the highest job applicants’ turnover. There is the Olabisi Onabanjo University (O.O.U), Ago-Iwoye, Tai Solarin University of Education, Ijagun, Ijebu-Ode, Moshood Abiola Polytechnic, now upgraded to Moshood Abiola University Of Technology (MAUTECH), Ojere, Abeokuta, Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, Ogun State Polytechnic, Ipokia, Federal Polytechnic, Ilaro, Ogun State Institute of Technology, Igbesa (campuses in Saapade, Ijebu-Igbo and Itori), Federal College of Education, Osiele, Tai Solarin College of Education, Omu, Ijebu and so many others. There are high flying Privately-owned Universities and other institutions of higher learning as well. All these, arguably make Ogun State a hub of labour recruitment but now has turned into an industrial destination of choice of the country.
In time past, the state was designated as a “civil service” state on account of these institutions of learning principally providing jobs and being the mainstay of the state’s economy. But in the six years however, this designation was no longer applied. Figures from the state government point to a remarkable drop in civil service applications in both state and federal government Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), located in the state, and this development is not on account of no job vacancies. Rather, young graduates and other job applicants, especially in the last six years, have begun to find vocations in the burgeoning local economy in the state and private owned companies in the state. On account of specially targeted policies to create and nourish Small and Medium Scale enterprises all over the state, vocations requires young entrepreneurs are now readily available.
In addition to this, over 140 industries have situated in the state which the people believes that Ogun State remained the industrial hub and destination of choice of the Country, in earnest 20 more companies would be commissioned in the state, which targeted to reduce unemployment ravaging the country and amongst the Companies includes; Food Beverage and Technology Industries, Chemical and Pharmaceuticals Companies, Domestic and Indusrtial Plastic, Rubber and Foam Industries, Basic metal, Iron and Steel, Fabrication metal Products, Pulp, Paper and Paper Products, Printing and Publishing Companies, Electrical and Electronics, Wood and Wood Products Furniture, Non-metallic Mineral Products, Motor Vehicle and Miscellaneous Assembly to mention but a few.
Banker, Chemist and Politician, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, Governor of the state and the man behind the reinventing of the economic fortunes of the state, bring to his job an uncommon passion and vision. Back in 2011 when he assumed office, Governor Amosun had a clear vision and focus on what he wanted to move the state to greater and enviable height. It’s now evident that the state could be elevated into a hub of prosperity and industrial destination of choice, by creating an industry from Agriculture one never heard of in this country for a long while. The state had procured about 20 tractors to boost agricultural output in the state and promised to acquire more as soon as possible. Today, Ogun state has deservedly won it’s place among the very first destination of mechanised, full time commercial agriculture and the governor has uplifted the fortunes of an entire rural populace and it’s environs in such a manner that can’t be rivaled. And with intention to pick up from there and do more.
Governor Amosun did not focus on the economic sector in isolation. By UN standard of wealth creation and development, a growing economy must go in tandem with the other development indices like health, education, transportation and infrastructure development. Other modern trends also include social provisions like soft loans and so on. Therefore, while pursuing a robust policy on empowerment, other critical sectors that directly impact on lives and welfare of residents in the state were not neglected.
For instance, to underscore the importance attached by his administration to civil servants, Governor Amosun facilitated some billions of Naira in form of car refurbish loans to civil servants and prompt payment of salary, especially teachers. This plus other welfare package like training, re-training, provision of affordable housing and befitting office accommodation make Ogun civil servants standout.
In the education sector, groundbreaking educational reforms have increased. There is infrastructure improvement with the construction and rehabilitation of over 500 classrooms at primary and secondary school levels including the newly constructed 26 model schools across the state. The State Governor also introduced free education from primary level to secondary and gave the bags, notebooks and textbooks to all public schools pupils in the state. This even leads to the organisation of summer camp to intending pupils at the model school in Onihale, Ewekoro during the school vacation to boost and encourages both students and parents that education is key and bedrock of any developing or developed country.
In the health sector, government has supplied drugs and equipment to 20 general hospitals and 177 primary health care centres as well as remodelled and modernised Totoro health care centre. The governor took a decisive action with the rehabilitation of some Primary Health Care Centres (PHCs) in the State, he provided them with basic medical and infrastructural facilities. The rehabilitated centres are spread across the LGAs. This is in line with the state government’s determination to refurbish at least one PHC in every ward in the state. The governor did not stop at the rehabilitation of these centres but went ahead to construct another PHC at Obantoko in Odeda LGA of the State. It’s even introduced the Community Based Health Insurance Scheme (CBHIS) “Araya” which to take care of pregnant women, less privilege women and children under 5 years. Under this programme state government had registered more than 16 thousand beneficiaries under the scheme.
Towards meeting it’s target of connecting all communities in the state to the national electricity grid, Governor Amosun’s rural and urban electrification project has seen more than 500 communities in the State connected to the national grid. Abeokuta, the State capital, is especially more beautiful at night, thanks to urban street light project and road reconstruction and expansion that has been extended to several major streets of the state.
Obviously, the present administration of Senator Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun State has done a lot to salvage the obsolete transformer in the state and bring to an end the shortage power supply to some communities in the state and also to wresting the people of the state from dark out or black out in the state.
In the road sector, the state government has implemented the highly applauded “Mission to Rebuild” launched in 2011 to ensure that all roads in the state including federal roads are motorable, in that terms, “rebuild” often entails high level of altercation and re-design of existing structure to give way for a larger or more befitting edifice. It is in this light that one can situate the ongoing road dualisation projects at Abeokuta, Sagamu, Ijebu-Ode, Ota, Agbole Akute, Igua, Tata, Ijoun, Paplanto, Ilaro, Oja-Odan and many more roads. And there is no why rebuilding these roads will not involve demolition of some existing structures of private citizens as well as those of government and public uses in the interest of all, apparently, public interest has to override private interest especially in matters of socio-economic development.
The same is applicable to urban renewal, which it must be noted, is visible in Abeokuta, (the state capital) Ijebu-Ode, Sagamu, Sango-Ota, Agbole, Akute and Yewa axis. Except the “Rock city” as Abeokuta is known want to maintain its old and rustic look with ancient family houses and compounds, then some structures have to give way for modern structures, infrastructures and facilities to boost the socio-economic position of the state capable of attracting both local and foreign investors.