Ogun State’s New Epoch Of Development

Ogun State’s New Epoch Of Development

Wednesday, April 5, 2017 8:59 am


Governor Ibikunle Amosun

By Soyombo Opeyemi

Seyi t’o o se Ore mi ojo nlo
Eyii t’o o base La o royin
Seyi t’o o se Ore mi ojo nlo…

(Contribute your quota My friend the clock is ticking/ Society can only echo your contribution / Contribute your quota My friend the clock is ticking)

The Industrial Revolution which began in Britain in the late 18th century marks a turning point in human history as hand production was supplanted by the use of machines. Production took a giant leap leaving in its wake rise in disposable income and consequently enhancement in the standard of living of the people.

If the Industrial Revolution was an economic phenomenon, the Renaissance that preceded it was a cultural-cum-knowledge revolution. Renaissance, which commenced in Italy in the 14th century, marked another epoch defined by phenomenal rise in intellectual pursuits and artistic developments.

There’s what may also be pronounced as Media Revolution, an age that birthed what Prof Wole Soyinka described as agencies of instant communication, which convey our march of history in contemporary, real-life tempo. With CNN, Aljazeera, BBC, etc. and Internet, national boundaries are obliterated and geographical distance counts for nothing.

And just last Thursday, amidst pomp and circumstance, five ultra-modern markets were launched in the capital city of the state. It was interesting to see the photo-news of the governor and his beloved wife supported by government officials and market women on the escalators and elevators in one of the new shopping malls.

As there are epochs so are individuals which define their times. Thus we can speak of the Pele era in football; the Maradona era; the Messi age. Are there other good footballers? Yes, of course. But you see the likes of Pele, Maradona and Messi once in a generation, sometimes in lifetime. The same can be said of Muhammed Ali and Mike Tyson. Yes, there were other good boxers, even great boxers but the two defined their times.

There are leaders whose works created the epochs. Lee Kuan Yew, as Prime Minister, is credited with moving Singapore, a colonial outpost with no natural resources, from the Third World to First World. When you mention Singapore today, the image of Kuan Yew comes to your mind and the thought of Asian Tiger crosses your mind.

The Western Region of Nigeria witnessed its golden years under the leadership of Chief Obafemi Awolowo, who was the Premier between 1954 and 1959, previously the Leader of Government Business of the Region from 1952.

It was in the Western Region, during the Awo epoch, that agricultural settlements and institutes were first established. It was in this region that a minimum living wage was first introduced in Nigeria, and paid to workers. The first industrial estate and housing estate in Nigeria were established in the Western Nigeria.

The first television service in the whole of Africa was established in the Western Region. Liberty Stadium, established in 1959, was also the first in Nigeria. Steel ballot boxes and security-printed ballot papers were first used in the Western Region at the instance and insistence of the Action Group. Voting by symbol was equally introduced into Nigeria and first used in the Western Region.

Of course, it was in the Western Region that Free Universal Primary Education and Free Health Services for children up to the age of 18 were first introduced in Nigeria. Time and space will certainly fail me to mention more. That was indeed an era, an epoch that remains indelible in the history of the country. Awo launched the Western Region into its future at the speed of light, ahead of other regions in the country and only some years away from catching up with Europe.

Today, the administration of Senator Ibikunle Amosun has built the first-ever flyovers by any state government since the creation of Ogun State in 1976. Thirty years after the legendary Chief Bisi Onabanjo introduced free education in Ogun State, it was Senator Ibikunle Amosun that re-introduced the scheme, which has expanded access to education. Amosun is the first to construct world-class model schools for children of public schools, which have made the private schools green with envy.

The governor has constructed the first-ever six-lane international standard roads across the state – complete with modern features such as drains, medians, greenbelts, walkways, street lights, etc. Amosun distributed 500 brand new transformers to bring back to life comatose Small and Medium Scale Enterprises in Ogun in a single iconic gesture.

It was Governor Amosun that introduced for the very first time in Ogun modern luxury buses, and the first in Nigeria to purchase the very latest technology of Armoured Personnel Carriers (APCs).

The Amosun administration pays N18,250 as minimum wage, implemented the wage across board, and up to Local Government level, thus making Ogun the only state in Nigeria to do so.

One would only be a stone not to be touched by the events of last Thursday in Abeokuta. Amosun was a self-made man long before he joined politics. Obviously, he does not need these modern infrastructures personally. But driven by public interest, he has done all these for the present and future generations.

The 2014 World Bank report, Doing Business in Nigeria, ranked Ogun as one of the top reforming states “that made the biggest strides towards the national frontier of good practices.” The state was ranked lowest overall performers in both 2008 and 2010 reports of the financial institution. Nigeria’s leading business newspaper, Business Day, had in 2013 declared Ogun State as the fastest-growing economy and first choice for industrialists and entrepreneurs among the 36 states in Nigeria. In November 2014, The Guardian, reported that Ogun State had become the hub of industrialization in Nigeria, overtaking other states.

The Amosun government constructed the first gated housing estates for all classes in the society.

Currently, among the 36 states of the federation, Ogun is the most celebrated by the National Health Insurance Scheme, being the only one that has state-wide social health insurance scheme. As a matter of fact, during any National Retreat of the NHIS, Ogun is usually the “Faculty or Resource State”, what others may understand as a case study for other states to learn from or emulate.

And just last Thursday, amidst pomp and circumstance, five ultra-modern markets were launched in the capital city of the state. It was interesting to see the photo-news of the governor and his beloved wife supported by government officials and market women on the escalators and elevators in one of the new shopping malls. Indeed, another shopping complex virtually hosts one of the most modern lifts/ elevators in the world. Those displaced by the new markets are now living in modern homes constructed by the state government.

One would only be a stone not to be touched by the events of last Thursday in Abeokuta. Amosun was a self-made man long before he joined politics. Obviously, he does not need these modern infrastructures personally. But driven by public interest, he has done all these for the present and future generations. As the curtains drew on event at Omida Shopping Complex, the public spiritedness of Amosun evoked this song (by Prince Adekunle)…

Seyi t’o o se Ore mi ojo nlo
Eyii t’o o base La o royin
Seyi t’o o se Ore mi ojo nlo

(Contribute your quota My friend the clock is ticking/ Society can only report or echo your contribution / Contribute your quota My friend the clock is ticking)

Indeed, Senator Ibikunle Amosun has done his own bit; he has launched Ogun into a new epoch of development.

•Soyombo, a journalist, sent this piece from Abeokuta via densityshow@yahoo.com


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