A panoply of landmark projects mark out Gov. Ibikunle Amosun as the veritable candidate of choice in Ogun, eclipsing an erstwhile political god father, Muhammad Nuradeen reports.
Just like the President-elect, Muhammadu Buhari, Ogun State governor, Sen. Ibikunle Amosun has had a chequered career in the political arena. A long distance runner, his emergence as governor in May 2011 and his re-election in 2015 readily marks him out as the new political Czar of sorts with the entire Ogun landscape as his fiefdom.
Yet nothing marks out this amiable politician as an aristocrat and the panoply of people-oriented projects and programmes he initiated in his first outing stand him out as a man of the people. Sworn in on May 29, 2011, Amosun embarked on a re-building mission in the state hinged on a five-point cardinal programme.
These are revolving around affordable and qualitative education; increased agricultural production/Industrialisation and efficient health care delivery. Others are affordable housing and urban renewal and rural and infrastructural development/employment generation.
Remarkably, the government had recorded a number of achievements in the five areas.
On education, the administration, till date, operates a free education system in all its public primary and secondary schools with the abolition of tuition fees and all forms of levies.
This has led to the distribution of 2, 214,650 textbooks and 8,904,708 exercise books to public primary and secondary schools students across the state. The government has also constructed 15 out of the proposed 28 model schools with boarding facilities.
Each of the model schools, which costs N 1.3 billion, has a carrying capacity of 1,000 students.
The Amosun-led administration also introduced unified examination among public secondary schools in Ogun It has further continued to allocate between 22-23 per cent of its annual budget to education in line with UNESCO recommendation.
According to the Commissioner for Education, Mr Segun Odubela, the administration has spent about N400 billion on education within four years.
In the area of industrialisation, the Amosun -led administrtion had succeeded in making Ogun an investment destination of choice.
Is it not astonishing that a total of 57 companies have commenced business in Ogun within four years of Amosun’s administration.
They include May and Baker Plc, Nestle Plc, Atlantic Allied Distillers (an ethanol manufacturing industry) and the $300 million Procter and Gamble Manufacturing plant which is the single largest American Investment in Nigeria.
It also includes the N60 billion Standard Metallurgical Company Limited, a steel rolling mill.
It established a N 1 billion MSMEs industrial Development Fund in partnership with the Bank of Industry (BOI).
A total of 108 co-operative societies comprising of 1,039 individuals had benefited from the programme.
The programme had led to the creation of over 100, 000 jobs within four years of the administration.
In the area of agriculture, the Amosun – led administration registered over 250, 000 farmers for the Growth Enhancement Scheme (GES).
The Ogun government committed a total of N115 million to the payment of subsidy of 25 per cent on fertilisers redeemed by over 37,000 small scale farmers under the GES.
The government also acquired 9,000 hectares of land at Itoro for private sector driven farm estate development.
It allocated a total of 1, 765 hectares of land at highly subsidised rate to agricultural investors.
The government also established and harvested rice on 100 hectares of land supported with irrigation system at Eggua in Yewa North council area of the state.
The government distributed 40 meat vans to various abattoirs in the state for hygienic meat transportation and consumption by ogun residents.
It installed 15 units of Amiran Farmer’s Kits for the production of tomatoes using Green House Technology at Kotopo in Odeda council area of the state.
In a bid to achieve self sufficiency in poultry meat and egg production, the Amosun administration embarked on all – year round pullet rearing for sale to farmers.
A total of 75,000 pullets were reared with capacity to produce over 100 million eggs in a year.
In the area of fish production, the Amosun administration has rehabilitated the three abandoned government fish farms located at Odeda, Ilaro and Ikene council areas.
The three fish farms now produce an average of 290 tons of table -size fish per anum.
It also constructed three new hatcheries with the capacity to produce an average of 500,000 fish seeds per year for sale to the farmers.
The state Ministry of Agriculture under Amosun established three hectres of cocoa seed gardens at Algbagba in Odeda council area while it has also engaged in the cultivation of 50 hectares of cocoa in the same neighbourhood.
Under its cassava revolution programme, the Amosun -led administration has mobilised relevant stakeholders for the adoption of improved, high yielding, early maturing and disease resistant cassava varieties.
It has since distributed 43,000 bundles of improved varieties of cassava cuttings to farmers under the GES.
The Amosun -led administration also made giant strides in the area of rural and infrastructural development.
The government within four years awarded over 307 km of major roads for reconstruction which are at various stages of completion.
The roads which are constructed in adherence to international standard have six lanes with median, drainage on both sides of the carriage ways and service ducts for cable crossing as well as flyovers where necessry.
Under rural roads, 20 km of roads were graded in each of the 20 local government areas in the state to open up the areas for development.
De-flooding projects were also carried out in eight towns that were proned to flooding with the construction of culverts and drains to channel storm water and surface run -offs.
It also constructed 13 modern markets across the state with over 1,000 shops with individual and public toilets.
The government also distributed 500 transformers(500 KVA) to various communities in the state.
In the area of social services, the present administration set up a State Security Trust Fund to help the state formulate policies on crime prevention and control and to assist in raising funds for combating crime.
The state procured security gadgets worth over N4 billion while it purchased 13 state -of -the art Armoured Personnel Carriers (APCs).
It purchased over 20 security patrol vans fitted with sophisticated communication and security gadgets.
It also set up a major military – police task force with the approval of the Federal Government.
There is no gain saying the fact that all these have drastically reduced crime rate in the state.
In reaching out to touch the lives of ordinary people, the state government has boosted social services.
The administration, for example, provided a fleet of 150 Metro taxis for use by commuters across the state.
It also provided 77 buses under its mass transit system for inter and intra city transportation.
The government also recently signed a $3 billion light rail contract agreement with the China Civil Engineering Construction (CCECC).
In the health sector, the state government launched its Community Based Health Insurance Scheme known as “ARAYA”.
Incidentally, Ogun is one of the few states to be granted sub -recipient status to the national Malaria Control Programme for the global Fund Round 9 Support.
It holds community dialogue in 12 local government areas on malaria prevention strategies, achieving a drastic reduction in frequency and severity of malaria disease due to a package of interventions being deployed.
The government also created School Health Cadets in secondary schools to exploit the energy and creativity of students in health education activities in schools, homes and communities.
In order to sanitise the health sector, the government clamped down on illegal drug operators and closed down a total of 103 illegal health facilities.
The Amosun -led administration also made some landmark achievements in housing delivery.
It constructed a farm settlement at Owowo village for graduate farmers and also constructed an ultra modern mechanic workshop at Mechanic village at Obada – Oko area in Abeokuta for artisans.
Again, the first phase of the Laderin new workers’ estate consisting of 200 housing units for public servants under a home ownership programme is near completion.
Government has also secured a N 2 billion loan from the Federal Mortgage Bank for the construction of 280 residential community and affordable housing units at Kemta-Idi-Aba in Abeokuta, a project that has already commenced.
Other achievements include the construction of the first phase of the Orange Valley Estate to deliver 50 semi- detached duplexes with basic infrastructure.
Others are the construction of 2, 3 and 4 bedroom housing units of detached and semi – detached bungalows and duplexes as well as flats at the Plainfield Estate.
The gated community upon completion will be home to 76 families.
There is also the ongoing construction of the New Dawn District which covers 75 hectares of land located between areas 1 and 8 at the OPIC Estate, Agbara.
It will, on completion, have residential, commercial and industrial plots of varying sizes.
The new Makun City located along the Lagos/Ibadan expressway near Sagamu interchange covers 750 hectares.
On completion, it will consist of 10 districts comprising of four residential districts, a central theme park, a school district with zones for day and boarding facilities.
It will also accommodate a regional shopping district/bazzar, a multi- purpose convention centre and a light industrial district.
The Ogun government under Senator Ibikunle Amosun administration also increased its internally generated revenue (IGR) from N750 million monthly in 2010 to N5 billion monthly as at date.
For a man who had weathered the worst of political combustions to achieve political glory, it is no surprise that his administration is obsessed with adding value to the lives of the ordinary people.
This may well have informed his land mark victory in the 2015 governorship poll in which he consigned erstwhile god father of the state’s politics, Chief Olusegun Osoba, to the garbage heap of history!