Judging by his utterances, body language, and scorecard in the last four years, one could safely conclude that Governor Dapo Abiodun of Ogun State has decided that the reward for his hard work is more work. The dust had barely settled on the last governorship election, where Abiodun predictably clinched re-election before he started talking about and demonstrating the shape development would take in the next four years.
One could argue that the good people of Ogun have not recovered from the marvel of the past four years in terms of growth and development, yet the governor already has his sight on performing more magic and delivering the dividends of democracy which had eluded the people in the past.
Soon after he was declared duly elected, the ebullient entrepreneur-turned-politician said:
“Going forward, let us see how to engage them (opponents in the election) and bring them closer. It should not be “we” versus “them.” They are Ogun State people who have the interest of this state at heart. Let us do this so that we do not fuel unnecessary acrimony among our people. We should not allow the election experience to interfere with our vision and people’s oriented programmes. Let no one be demoralised by the outcome of the election, but take it that there is a lesson to learn. We will continue with the same vision of providing focused and purposeful governance. We will push our frontiers as the industrial, educational, and religious capital of Nigeria. We are fast becoming the food basket in the South-West, so we have a lot to be thankful for. Please let us keep our eyes on the ball,” assuring the populace that his second coming “will even be more phenomenal”
To underscore his readiness, he has held several meetings with private sector players and commissioned economic projects like the 150 million standard cubic feet (mscuf) Ibefun Natural Gas City Gate and had an economic bilateral meeting with the biggest conglomerate owned by the Egyptian Government, National Service Project Organization, with the North African organisation expressing its readiness to invest in the agricultural sector of the state. Before then, while playing host to members of the Ogun State Community Development Council and the Ogun State Cooperatives Federated Limited who were on a felicitation visit to the governor on his victory at the polls, Prince Abiodun guaranteed them that his administration would continue to ensure that it fulfils all its campaign promises to the people, just as it did in his first term.
Just as he had delivered in terms of infrastructure, human capital development, agriculture, youth and women empowerment, and all-round investment in the state, the governor told his visitors at the Presidential Lodge, Abeokuta, that he was more focused and determined to ensure that, by the end of his two terms as governor of the state in 2027, his legacies would have been permanently engraved in gold and in the hearts and minds of the good people of Ogun whose future would have been collectively built and assured.
The governor used the opportunity to intimate the groups about his roadmap for his second term in office, noting that public utilities such as portable water supply and uninterrupted electricity would receive adequate attention. The governor assured that improved electricity supply from both independent sources and the national grid would catalyse the industrial revolution already being experienced in parts of the state such as Abeokuta, Ota, Ijebu-Ode, and Sagamu.
Recall that in November 2022, Prince Abiodun announced that Tongeji Island Project would host a $3 billion crude oil refinery, thanks to his administration’s public-private partnership (PPP) with some international oil conglomerates, including Gasoline Integrated International. When completed, the 400,000-liters-per-day refinery project would boost the energy supply and provide over 10,000 direct jobs, while boosting the state’s internally generated revenue.
“As the year progresses, we will partner with others in the private sector to explore our state’s oil prospects in the Tongeji Island and Olokola. We do not doubt that with the right technical partners and investors, Ogun State will soon proudly join the comity of oil-producing states in Nigeria.
“We are determined to provide a state-wide steady supply of electricity through the implementation of our Light Up Ogun Project, this will allow us to generate uninterrupted power to our major towns and cities, from an independent power project through a public-private partnership (PPP) joint venture,” the governor promised in his 2023 New Year message.
Also on the agenda in the area of infrastructure is the Kajola Dry Port, which the governor said would be cited at the Kajola Free Trade Zone, thereby making cargo shipping to the state seamless and creating job opportunities for the people of the state.
Of course, continued investment in infrastructure is not the only item on Abiodun’s second-term agenda. There is going to be increased investment in youth and women empowerment programmes, as well as a notable scale-up of unready functioning social investment programmes. Already, 7,000 members of the Ogun State Development Council and the Ogun State Cooperatives Federated Limited have received letters and are being mobilized as Social Investment Assistants.
For instance, the governor has promised that youth development and job creation, which have so far received unprecedented attention in the state’s history, would continue to be top priorities. The Anchor Borrowers’ Programme in collaboration with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), which revolutionalised youth involvement in agriculture in the state, will be scaled up to cover even more participants. The governor has promised that the state would ensure the hosting of the best National Sports Festival in the history of the games!
During one of his recent engagements, the governor also disclosed that his administration would continue its affordable housing scheme embarked upon in his first tenure. Therefore, the governor said 4,000 housing units and 236 health centres would be added to the ones constructed in his first term. “Our affordable housing programme will continue. So far, we have constructed 1,700 houses already in Abeokuta, Sagamu, Ijebu -Ode, and Ilaro. We are planning to construct 4,000 units before the end of our second term.”
With the success of the Kobape Housing Estate, located along the Sagamu Abeokuta Interchange, under the Affordable Housing Scheme to further open up the Abeokuta outskirts of the road, there is no iota of doubt that the Abiodun administration could and would deliver on its new target.
With the wonder that the Ogun Agro and Cargo Airport and other massive projects are and the dedication that went into delivering them within four years, it is difficult not to say, cheekily, that Abiodun has already proved doubters wrong! “The construction of the project started in April 2021 and will be on record as the fastest-built airport anywhere. The test flight despite all odds is very important to us for many reasons… It is a testament to what is achievable by being focused, deliberate, resolute, committed, and audacious. In every way, therefore, it is a dream come true,” the governor said when the first test flight landed at the airport.
For four years, Prince Abiodun has confidently expressed optimism that Ogun would continue on the path of growth and development it had set for itself since 2019 when he assumed office. Since 2019, the governor had highlighted a clear template and deliberate action plan on how he intended to transform the state by implementing the “Building Our Future Together” agenda, hinged on the five developmental columns of I-S-E-Y-A: Infrastructure; Social Development and Well-Being; Education; Youth Development, and; Agriculture and Food Security.
Now he has a renewed mandate and, again, a clear agenda on how to consolidate the gains of the past four years while embarking on fresh developmental programmes and projects which will not only surpass what has been achieved but also guarantee the governor’s enviable place in the history books of Ogun.