By Femi Sowoolu
With the sudden postponement of the 2015 elections from the former February dates of 14th and 28th, to March 28th and April 11th, it seems the opposition parties in Ogun State have finally found their cojones. Unfortunately instead of seizing the extra time to warm themselves to the electorate by meeting with them and making efforts to explain the positives of their alternative manifestos and plans for better governance, they have busied themselves with vile and vicious attacks on the credible performance of the Senator Ibikunle Amosun’s revolutionary administration in Ogun State.
We are not going to bandy too many words with them. We have no intentions to stand on the same muddied pedestal on which they stand, and neither shall we swim with them in murky waters. Why should we arm wrestle with those who have little or nothing to show for past governance, but past misdeeds? The fact is that the incredible performance of the incumbent Ogun State administration in the past three and a half years provides enough evidence to show why the people of Ogun State have given tremendous support to this administration. While the Governor has been busy working, building, providing, enhancing and improving lives, environment, infrastructure, education, health and communities, they were all mute, or numbed, perhaps, by the veracity and pace of performance in a multitude of sectors, within a very short period of time. Now, barely a few weeks to election dates they start throwing curveballs and slingshots, criticising every effort of the Amosun administration. This is what they wish to criticise:
As Governor Amosun traverses the length and breath of Ogun State, from Local Government to Local Government and from one ward to another, he is welcomed by crowds of appreciative citizens thanking him for a job well done. His acts have spoken so loud that even his political opponents sing his praises to high heavens.
In the educational sector, Ogun State now has free education in all Public Secondary and Primary Schools with free text books. Over 2,000 teachers have been recruited and Unified Examinations have been introduced. Schools have been renovated and upgraded, new ones have been built and facilities such as computers, library and science equipment provided.
In the first 100 days of the Amosun administration, 50 health centres were rehabilitated across the State and provided with boreholes, toilets, generators etc. A comprehensive health care centre has been completed in Abeokuta and the same facility will be replicated in the nine Federal Constituencies in the State. Ogun State today leads South-West in routine Immunization and reduction in major childhood diseases. Drugs, equipment, machines, advanced life support ambulances, training, recruitment; community health insurance schemes etc. have been introduced to enhance the healthcare needs of the good people of Ogun State. Today, Ogun State is perceived as a huge construction site because of the huge investment in infrastructure that is on-going. To date, ten fly-over projects have been undertaken; three in Abeokuta, one each in Sagamu and Ijebu Ode have been completed, the other ones in Abeokuta, Sango Ojodu Road, Ilishan-Ago Iwoye are under construction. Shopping malls are nearing completion at Omida, Itoku and Isale Igbein in Abeokuta. Another at Sapon has been completed, awaiting commissioning and allocation. Bridges and numerous roads with drainages, walk-ways, flower beds, street light, bus stops etc. dot the length and breath of the State.
The state is now more secure than it has ever been due to the massive investment in the sector and the establishment of a Security Trust Fund. The State procured security gadgets worth N4billion, bought 13 Armoured Personnel Carriers and 200 security patrol vans to enhance security.
Due to the investment drive of the government, over 64 major industries have opened offices each investing over $100 million. The World Bank recently listed Ogun State as one of the five most favourable places to do business in Nigeria. The State has set up a N1 billion SME loan scheme with the Bank of Industry and created over 20,000 direct jobs through civil service, health boards, TESCOM, Ministry of Environment and other MDA’s, as well as over 100, 000 indirect jobs.
In the housing sector, the State is leading with the completion of Orange Valley Estate, Plainfields Estate, Degun Mission Estate for civil servants, Redesign of New Makun city, legislative quarters and various other on-going housing projects in Sagamu, Ikene, Agbara, Abeokuta City Centre, Akute Isheri, Kobape, Kemta, Idi-Aba, etc.
In the bid to put her arable land to good use, the administration has established a farm settlement at Owowo for graduate farmers, 2-ton feed mill at Kotopo, Cotton ginnery at Ibara-Orile, 150 hectares for maize and cassava, 50 hectares of Cocoa in Alagbagba, 50 hectares of Cashew in Afon, Eriwe fish Pond in Ijebu-Ode, 100 hectares of land for rice in Eggua as well as equipment such as tractors, bull dozers etc. A N1bilion agricultural loan is available for farmers to draw from. With all these things and more in place, little wonder that Senator Ibikunle Amosun is being celebrated and appreciated today.
The people of the State, prominent Ogun citizens, and even his political opponents attest to the positive impact his administration has had on the State. President Olusegun Obasanjo has described Amosun’s achievements as breath taking and in the right direction: “Things are getting better every time in Ogun. When I was talking of roads in Abeokuta they said I have not been to Ijebu – Ode and Sagamu. On getting to Ijebu –Ode, I even saw better bridges than that of Abeokuta. What about the ones in Ilara? What of Ayetoro? If we have good infrastructure, business will thrive, economy will increase and that is what Amosun is doing across the State.” The former President also expressed satisfaction with the quality of the model schools being constructed throughout the State. His words: “When I passed through Sango-Abeokuta road, I asked who is building this factory, they said it is not a factory but a school being built by the government.”
Oba Michael Adeniyi Sonariwo, the Akarigbo of Remoland, was also quoted as saying: “ All the traditional rulers of Ogun State are solidly behind Amosun because of his determination to make Ogun State a force to be reckoned with in terms of infrastructural development, improved qualitative educational system, good and affordable healthcare services, and a host of others.”
Hear the Awujale of Ijebuland, Oba (Dr.) Sikiru Kayode Adetona: “By December this year I will be 55 years on the throne. All what I am seeing from the Governor is fantastic. I have not witnessed this in the past, and on behalf of all sons and daughters of Ijebu, we thank you so much, and I pray that Almighty Allah, will continue to be with you.”
The Alake of Egbaland, Oba Adedotun Aremu Gbadebo, put it simply. He said: “The development of three and a half years is like that of 20 years. We have come to appreciate politics of good roads, good schools and health facilities. We believe that the person who did all this, within this short time will do more, if given the opportunity, because the best is yet to come.” Anything more to add? We think not!
*Sowoolu is Chair, Media & Publicity Committee Senator Ibikunle Amosun Campaign Organisation (SIACO).