Wednesday, January 25, 2017 1:04 pm
By Soyombo Opeyemi
Some months ago, I sent a copy of a book, which is to be presented to the public next month, to the governor of Ogun State, Senator Ibikunle Amosun. Quite unknown to His Excellency, that was the third computer print-out of the copy. The first had a tiny scratch on the inside of the hard cover, which, ordinarily, could have been dismissed by many folks as unimportant since it was not so much visible and did not affect any letter or word in the book. But I rejected it and paid for another to be made. As it happens, the margin provided in the second attempt was too narrow, as if the size of the book or paper was being “managed”. Worse, the cutting was not exactly perfect. Although those not knowledgeable in the art of publishing might not notice these two observations, I rejected it because I knew the governor would notice the two shortcomings. It was the third copy, which could be described as an excellent workmanship, that the governor received.
I do have encounters with people from time to time who will tell you this mistake or that error does not matter. “Oh! This is a small error. No one will notice it. It does not matter!” But I know you cannot work with Senator Ibikunle Amosun and settle for second best. You can’t work for the governor if you don’t pay attention to details. It has nothing to do with ostentation or flamboyance but that in anything you do, no matter how small it is, let there be a taste of excellence. If possible, let it be perfect.
Even when you present a document to SIA (as he’s fondly called), the way you staple it matters – is it straight or slant? When you make photocopies, are the copies straight or bent; are they neat? No, it is not enough to say, “The words are clear and that’s what is important!” The edges equally need to be aligned to the A4 paper – the presentation or output matters. May God grant us all the spirit of excellence.
I cherish all these. Some people feel when you do these things, you are harsh or making life difficult for them. Yet, the best way to actually help people is to hold them to the highest standards – the ideal. They are the ones who should leave their carefree comfort zone and aim for the best output.
For the Ogun State governor, what is worth doing at all is worth doing well – to the best standards. Amosun is a stickler for international best practices. According to “The Ogun Standard”, a concept he enunciated in 2012, every project or process should aim for international best practices; it should be a model for others.
I recall one facility built to Nigerian standard in Ijebu Ode, which was to be inaugurated on a particular date. The unveiling had to be postponed at the last minute because the governor wanted the project to be the best it should. For him, it’s not how small but how standard. We went to Ota to unveil a community road early in the life of the administration. It was done in collaboration with a company. Of course, the governor was happy to be in the midst of the masses but it was evident he felt they deserved something better. And the Ota people eventually got what they deserved in the modern Ota township roads with pedestrian walkways, drainages, medians, etc.
It is this same taste for excellence that defined the construction of the Ogun Model Secondary Schools. These are international standard facilities that will take Nigerian education to the 21st century or the education jet-age. No, Amosun is not building for today only, but tomorrow and the next.
If you were at a section of the Olabisi Onabanjo University Teaching Hospital (OOUTH) the other day, you would think you were accessing a health facility in Europe or North America. It shows that if subsequent administrations in Ogun sustain this progressive march, it is only a matter of time before the state exchanges a handshake with the developed cities of the world.
It is not difficult to recall the pressure brought to bear on the governor concerning the Workers’ Estate. He resisted, wondering how he should be expected to build sheds or shells for workers, paint the front walls, invite the media and then pronounce them houses! I still recall vividly how he shook his head in wonder on that day at June 12 Cultural Centre. I visited the recently-inaugurated estate (named A.A.K Degun MITROS Estate) on Christmas day to once more assess the ambiance. I’m sure those workers who initially wanted the Nigerian standard, which people were used to, are now exceedingly happy with the Ogun Standard estate. And the headlines in the papers on December 5, 2016 read, “Amosun rewards three civil servants, street sweeper, traffic warden with houses,” during the inauguration of the estate. They are modern houses, not sheds or shells…
The Workers’ Home consists of 2-bedroom semi-detached bungalows, 3-bedroom semi-detached bungalows and 2-bedroom flats. It has a well-laid road network with modern drainage, a pavilion for recreation and two modern mini-supermarket stalls. There’s the Laderin Neighbourhood Market to complement the needs of the estate. There are street lights, transformers and a water treatment and storage tank.
I observed a serene ambiance, providing the comfort needed for that stratum of the society. What is worth doing at all is worth doing to the best standard!
The interesting thing is that all the classes of the society have been catered for in the housing architecture of the state government and no class is left behind in the provision of modern facilities. Mrs Jumoke Akinwunmi, Special Adviser to the Governor on Housing and General Manager, Ogun State Housing Corporation, and Mr Jide Odusolu, General Manager of Ogun State Property Investment Corporation, have really worked hard to translate the vision of Governor Amosun into reality.
Time, certainly, will fail me to go on. Amosun’s taste for excellence is not 180 but 360 degrees. So in his choice of a life partner, he also settled for the first best, not second. It is no wonder God has blessed them with excellent and excelling children. Happy birthday to the modernizer, the governor of Ogun State, Senator Ibikunle Amosun.
** Soyombo writes from Abeokuta via email@example.com