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Ajimobi flaunts achievements at first anniversary
Last month, Governor Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State held a series of activities lined up to mark the first anniversary of the Action Congress of Nigeria-led administration in the state. Dare Adekanmbi writes on the scorecard of the governor.
WHENEVER elected political office holders receive batons from the predecessors, they are also inheritors of the assets and liabilities in the balance sheets of the offices which leadership they assume. Therefore, for Governor Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State, who assumed the leadership of the pace-setter a year and some weeks ago, there has been no exception to the truism.
People’s expectations in terms of the delivery of the benefits of democratic governance by the Ajimobi-led government were naturally high, though not Utopian. And armed with the requisite capacity to take the state to its long-expected El-Dorado as well as a clear-sighted blueprint to steer the ship of state away from the buffetings of the wind, Governor Ajimobi settled himself to address the herculean task bequeathed to him.
At inauguration, Governor Ajimobi spelt out the vision of his administration in the following statements: “the vision of our administration as one driven by such priorities as human capital development, education, skills acquisition, effective healthcare delivery, infrastructure development, rural integration, development of agriculture and agro-allied industry; improved security and good governance.
But barely four days in office, factional members of the state chapter of the notorious National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), like “demons from the cunt of the underworld” struck, leaving a tale of deaths, maiming and destruction in its wake. Following this closely was an industrial dispute called by labour to drive home agitation for the release of 2011 May salary predicated on the new national minimum wage of N18, 000 hurriedly signed with labour leadership by the then outgoing administration. The last in the series was last year’ August 26, 2011 flood disaster that swept away hundreds of lives and private as well as public properties guesstimated to worth billions of naira.
In the face of all these challenges, his government was chastised as moving only on a slow lane. But disruptive as these events proved, the Governor Ajimobi-led administration was able to overcome the challenges that nearly rocked the boat for his then young administration. According to him, the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN)-led government in the state has every reason to roll out the drums to celebrate a strings of achievement recorded in the last one year. Below are some of the achievements of the administration in its bid to reposition, transform and restore the pace-setting glory of the state.
The verdict of most people in and outside the pace-setter is that the Ajimobi-led administration deserves kudos for its success in the area of security of the lives and properties of the citizenry and residents alike. Convinced that the loftiest of ideas and blueprint would remain a pipe dream in an environment of chaos and pandemonium, Governor Ajimobi administration has invested quality time in bringing peace to the state and the effort has paid off.
In a State-of-the-State address to members of the state House of Assembly last week, the governor noted, “You will recall that at the time our administration came on board, Oyo State had become a classic case of the “Hobbesian state of Nature”. A state where no one who goes to work in the morning could be rest assured that he would not fall prey to political thugs or miscreants or that his/her property would not be vandalized or his estate forcefully appropriated by some political god-fathers.
‘’I am pleased to affirm, Madam Speaker, that we have changed all that. Peace has returned to Oyo State. We were able to achieve this through objective and dispassionate approach to addressing public issues. To consolidate on this gain, the governor established a Joint Security Patrol Team of soldiers and policemen codenamed Operation Burst to burst crimes. The administration also procured 88 patrol vans to boost the operations of the security operatives within the state.
Having deployed his administrative acumen and intellectual energy to the restoration of hitherto elusive peace in the state, Governor Ajimobi has succeeded in rehabilitating/constructing over 199 roads across the length and breadth of the state, criss-crossing all the geo-political zones of the political capital of the Yoruba race. This was in addition to the on-going construction of a N2.1 billion flyover at Mokola area of the state capital, Ibadan, as part of an integrated measure to ease traffic gridlock within the metropolis and restore its once-cherished scenic beauty.
While most of the road projects are still under construction, some of them have been completed and inaugurated. Added to this is the ultra-modern motor park at Temidire on New Ife Road and Podo Garage in Ibadan. Some of the completed roads include University of Ibadan-Ajibode- Alphonso Road, Olubadan Estate road network and many others. Preliminary work has also started on the 110-kilometre Ibadan circular road and many others.
The Ajimobi-led administration has created modern and satellite towns at Elenusonso area of the metropolis, on Lagos-Ibadan Expressway and also on Ibadan-Oyo Expressway through Public-Private Partnership (PPP). The administration has revolutionised the processing of land documents through digitisation of sheets for deeds registration to avoid duplication of title registration and the construction of a deed registry building which is 40 per cent completed. The administration has also turned the sod of a N6 billion five-star hotel in partnership with a private estate developer.
Environment and habitat
This was one area where much was expected by the people of the state and equally delivered by the administration. On assumption of office, Governor Ajimobi pledged to rid the state, particularly the state capital, of its garment of filth and environmental degradation. Desecration of the environment and construction of houses on flood plains was habitual prior to the administration of the governor. The August 26 flood exposed the depth into which the state had sunk in environment neglect. This necessitated the introduction of weekly environmental sanitation exercise in addition to the monthly one as a testimony of the mammoth-ness of the task.
As a dividend of that effort, over 120 hitherto blocked drainages had been cleared and more than 43 rivers and streams dredged across the state. Consequently, the state’s notoriety for filth has worn off. To achieve the restoration of the scenic beauty of the state, the administration has embarked on a beautification programme that will see Trunk A road in Ibadan and all local government headquarters wear new look.
Finance, due process, trade and investment
The business unusual posture of the ACN-controlled in Oyo has led to the blocking of all leakages that have resulted in revenue haemorrhage for the state. The institutionalisation of due process has blocked the loss of over N1.2 billion for the state through over-bloated contracts. Government expenditure has been brought down by 40 per cent through the production and circulation of standardised prices of goods for all ministries, department and agencies. In addition, internally-generated revenue has been upped by about 50 per cent, while the introduction of biometric exercise and electronic payment system has eliminated wastage and loss of revenue.
Over 114 government accounts, which were unnecessarily duplicated, had been harmonised and reduced to 24 with attendant blockage of revenue loss. Oyo government, in the last one year, has signed five Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) with foreign investors, including the famous Okerete Trans-border Market.
In recognition of the comparative advantage of the state as the food basket of the South-West geo-political zone, the Ajimobi-led ACN administration constructed seven new earth dams and also rehabilitated three existing ones to provide all-year-round irrigated farming. Some of these dams were constructed at Onidundu, Ilora, Batake, Ibapon to mention but a few. Oyo-Odua Farmers’ Academy has also been established at Awe, Oyo, while school farming has also been resuscitated all in a bid to ensure food sufficiency.
In the area of education, the Ajimobi administration has embarked on the rehabilitation of 235 blocks of classrooms to ensure requisite learning environment is created in the schools across the state for proper transmission of knowledge. Also worthy of mention among the strides in the sector is the 50 per cent reduction in tuition fee in state tertiary institutions as well as payment of N396 million as examination fee for West Africa Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) students as part of the free education policy of the administration. More than 7, 000 items of furniture had been distributed to the schools just as supply of science equipment in addition to distributing over 3.3 million free exercise books for pupils and students.
In response to the virus of joblessness which has plagued the nation severely and left an army of youths unengaged for productive economic activities, Governor Ajimobi created job openings for 20,000 youths in the state code-named Oyo State Youth Empowerment Scheme (YES-O). Beneficiaries of the scheme have since been trained and deployed to critical sectors of the state economy like works and transport, agriculture and other areas of need.
In the health sector, the administration has provided free health care services to about 300, 000 people in the state, while it has also commenced the first phase of the construction of 62 new primary health centre in 60 wards for the provision of basic health services in addition to renovating some hospital. Furthermore, new-born screening Initiative towards improving the condition of folks living with sickle cess disease, procurement of 34 ambulances have also been recorded by the government in the last one year.
Looking ahead in the task of transformation, Governor Ajimobi said many more projects had been slated for execution before the end of his tenure of office. Two of such projects are the construction of a 110-kilometre Ibadan circular road, which is to serve as the fulcrum of development and the transformation of Ibadan Airport to a cargo airport to jump start the economy of the state. “Our goal is to make Oyo State one big construction outfit where infrastructural developments would be taking place on a daily basis. Because of the decades of decadence and neglect that had succeeded in destroying our infrastructure, I must confess to you all…that the challenges are quite daunting.”Share