By Gbade Ojo
Celebrating one’s existence on earth is not by the total number of chronological years, but to really showcase what the person has been able to do to affect the lives of people around or close to him positively. There is one significant thing about Senator Abiola Ajimobi, which makes him unique among the previous governors who had ruled Oyo State.
Being the first executive governor to have been re-elected for the second term consecutively back to back, many residents of Oyo State have likened what his government is doing in its urban renewal programme to a Copernican revolution. One cannot, but mention his achievements in office as the jinx-breaker celebrates his 67th birthday today 16th December, 2016.
In the governance of a state known to have carved an imperishable niche in the art of governance, Ibadan has received unquantifiable face-lift in many areas. The Iwo road axis, which becomes a symbolism for the lethargy and conspirational buy-in of past governments to under-develop the state, has received a great turn-around that pleasantly baffles visitors. Of significant mention is the Toll Gate area, hitherto a hub of miscreants and which projected Oyo as a state of filth. Right now, these areas, especially the interchange, is so aesthetically appealing that many unarguably say it is a statement on the government’s knack for quality and good governance.
Molete under-bridge, Bode, Oja-Oba, Beere, Oje and Gate axis, as well as Challenge/Ring road axis are also not left out in the Ajimobi’s urban renewal efforts. The changes in these areas are so monumental that many people resident in Ibadan condemn the governor for embarking on too many projects at the same time.
Importantly, the state civil service used to be a subject of the demagogic mantra of former governors in the state.However, since this present government came on board five years ago, Ajimobi has surpassed any governor, dead or living in the training and re-training and welfare of civil servants in the state.
In the area of agriculture, Ajimobi did what is akin in the sector with the recent launch of an agricultural scheme tagged: AgricOyo. This is aimed to guaranteefood security in the state through the expansion of agricultural services.
The AgricOyo is an all-encompassing agricultural programme targeted at diversifying the economy of the state by urgently transforming the sector into a preferred and sustainable economic activity for the state and a significant majority of its citizenry.
The scheme also showcased Oyo State as the food basket of South Western Nigeria with the ultimate aim of servicing the food needs of the West African sub-region.
For those who understand the role of intellect and ideas in the process of development, it would be easy to appreciate why the Ajimobi government spent a considerable chunk of its time formulating ideas upon which to construct an enduring structure in his first term administration.
Before the time Ajimobi took over government five years ago, the education sector in the state was in shambles. But with his renewed vigour, education has taken an enviable position in Oyo State. It takes a courageous and patriotic governor to attempt a general overhaullike the experienced second term governor of Senator Ajimobi led administration. Long before the 2015 election a total of 5,300 teaching and non-teaching staff were recruited to address the rot in the education sector.
He embarked on giving the state the best ever state-owned university named Ibadan Technical University which is still on-going with the resolve to complete the project before the end of his administration.
These are not to talk about his renovation of hospitals to boost the health sector and several other infrastructural interventions that space constraints will not permit.
Aside the Mokola flyover that Ajimobi’s administration undertook, the governor also embarked on aggressive road rehabilitation and dualization across the state. In all, Ajimobi has constructed over 250 roads and he is still doing more.
Recently, the state government embarked on dualisation/rehabilitation of roads in the state which include Saki Township road from Oke-Ogun Polytechnic to Ilesha Baruba for a contract period of 18 months.
Similarly, the dualisation of Idi-Ape-Bashorun-Akobo-Odogbo Barrack, including an overhead bridge across Lagos-Ibadan Expressway was awarded for a contract period of 18 months.
The dualisation of Agodi-Gate-Old Ife road- Adegbayi Junction with limited rehabilitation of spur to Alakia-Ibadan Airport was not left out in the quest of Ajimobi to make Ibadan metropolis a toast of other neighboring states. The dualisation is to last for a contract period of 18 months.
The expansion of Oke Adu, Agodi-Gate Idi-Ape-Iwo Road Interchange was also awarded by the state government for a contract period of 12 months.
In the area of environmental sanitation and beautification, Ajimobi’s touch in this sector is second to none. In the past five years of his administration, many visitors who have reason to visit the state will attest to the fact that the city is in the hands of a man who has the wherewithal to inspire it. The evidence abounds of Ibadan as a city on the rebound. All those places where dirt compounded like natural habitats are gone.
He achieved this feat through his bid to keep the flood at bay. The governor attacked the drainage challenges with renewed vigour in collaboration with the World Bank.
Ajimobi has shown himself equal to the task. We can recall that Ibadan was a hotbed of violence and insecurity. Partisans of the National Union of Road TransportWorkers (NURTW)terrorised citizens, robbers prowled and the general sense was that of unfathomable devilry.
The task of Ajimobi was the security of his people. He maintained the security of the state through a special security task force he initiated code named Operation Burst. The state has eased out of the vice grip of men of the underworld.
Many indigenes of Oyo State will now see the reason the man of destiny and second term jinx breaker, Senator Abiola Ajimobi should be celebrated.Let me end this piece with his usual word:“A leader will take his people to where they want to be, but a good leader will take his people to where they ought to be.”
*Gbade Ojo is Chief of Staff to Governor Abiola Ajimobi.