The inaugural address by His Excellency, Ibikunle Amosun, Governor of Ogun State, at the occasion of his Swearing–in-Ceremony for a second term in office, held on Friday, May 29, 2015.
Still About Our People
My dear good people of Ogun State, exactly four years ago, at this same venue, I stood to take the Oath of Office as the fourth democratically elected Governor of our great State.
Today, by the grace and benevolence of God, the goodwill and support that the good people of our great State have continued to give me, the same Oath of Office as Governor has just been administered on me to continue to pilot the affairs of our great State on the path of development, progress, unity, and prosperity. This translates to the continuation of the Rebuilding Mission of our dear State in the next four years and beyond.
Let me on this note express my sincere appreciation to the good people of Ogun State for your support, co-operation and trust in the last four years. No doubt, the renewal of our mandate is a reflection of your confidence in our administration. Your commitment, understanding and unflinching support are pointers to the fact that you are all truly partners in progress in our Mission to Rebuild our dear State.
Let me also commend all our people for performing their civic obligations during the elections in the most peaceful, civilised and orderly manner. Throughout Ogun State, no incidence of violence was recorded and our State was the first out of the 36 States in the nation where INEC officially announced the results of the Governorship elections. This has again demonstrated why Ogun State is widely acknowledged as the Gateway to Nigeria’s civilisation. This ceremony is therefore, not just to celebrate the victory of our political party, APC, nor the administering of the Oath of Office on the Governor and Deputy Governor of this great State. Rather, it is to celebrate unity, freedom, development, progress and to renew our vows to take our State to the next level – the Promised Land.
I am more determined than ever to fulfil the demands of the Oath which had just been administered on me before God and all of you out here, and indeed the entire good people of Ogun State. I promise to continue to justify the great confidence that you have reposed in us. I see myself again as the bearer of the Ogun Standard and I will continue to lead a team that will sustain and uplift the enviable standard in all our policies, programmes, service delivery and projects execution that will have direct and positive impact on the lives of our people.
Where We Are Coming From
At the inception of our Administration in 2011, we were faced with so many challenges, ranging from paucity of funds to structural collapse in different sectors of the State’s economy, high level of insecurity, lack of confidence and trust in Government, and youth unemployment, amongst others. We, therefore, designed a “Five Cardinal Programme” embodied in the “Mission to Rebuild” Ogun State as a response to tackling the problems. These are –
Affordable Qualitative Education;
Efficient Health care Delivery;
Increased Agricultural Production/Industrialisation;
Affordable Housing and Urban Renewal; and
Rural and Infrastructural Development / Employment Generation.
We took bold and revolutionary decisions which initially created discomfort for some people but eventually brought succour, hope and relief to the generality of our people. It is clear that the State has witnessed remarkable progress since we assumed office. We have recorded laudable and enduring achievements in all the “Five Cardinal Programme” of our Mission to Rebuild Ogun State.
At the advent of our Administration four years ago, I did say that our mandate symbolised a covenant with our creator, the Almighty God and with all of you, the good people of Ogun State, to put our dear State on a path to greatness. I am happy and proud that we are delivering on that promise. In fact, our various landmark projects have become a template for other States in the Federation to copy. Our performance in the last four years shall remain a testimonial that we can together accomplish positive developmental strides for our great State.
My dear good people of Ogun State, a critical analysis of our activities in our first term in office, most especially towards the development of our State, without sounding immodest, will show that we adopted well-thought out strategies to tackle the challenges confronting our State and its people.
First was the challenge of insecurity in the State. At that time, banks were shutting their doors due to incessant robbery cases which led to recession in commerce and industry. Since the major role of Government is the security of lives and property, we immediately invested in the purchase of security equipment and forged a solid partnership with security agencies. We also ensured a zero tolerance for any violent activity against the people. Today, we have a more secure environment in our State and this has been recognized far and wide by investors, international institutions and eminent individuals resulting in the numerous institutional awards bestowed on our State as the most secure in the West African sub-region. I must confess to you that the same sense of safety has boosted our performance and enhanced our achievements in other areas.
We have continued to accord our educational system the utmost priority. This is not just because it is the first item on our Five Cardinal Programme but because we appreciate the importance of education to our development agenda. Our intention is that no Ogun State child should be denied access to qualitative education for whatever reason, and this stand is non-negotiable. We believe our children must be adequately prepared for their future roles as leaders in the society.
In our determination to bequeath qualitative and enduring education for our future leaders, on assumption of office, we distributed text-books and instructional materials such as exercise books, biros, pencils, mathematical sets, e.t.c. to pupils/students in all our public schools. This was last done over 30 years ago during the administration of late Chief Olabisi Onabanjo, thereby facilitating effective learning. We also scored another first with the introduction of the Unified Examination in our public schools, at both primary and secondary levels. This has encouraged private schools to follow suit and embrace the Unified Examination system.
The results of our various initiatives in this sector are already evident. I am happy to inform the good people of Ogun State that our Free Education Policy has elicited increased interest from stakeholders, particularly parents, who are now showing greater confidence in our educational system. This has resulted in an increase in primary school enrolment from 506,114 in 2012/2013 session to 529, 966 in 2013/2014, while the secondary school enrolment figure rose from 387,915 in 2012/2013 session to 411,619 in 2013/2014.
Added to this, pupils in our State’s public schools can now compete favourably with their counterparts in any school – private or public – in any part of the country. The State has even in recent times won many awards arising from the outstanding performances of our students and teachers alike.
The completion of twelve of our Model Schools, spanning the three Senatorial Districts is a turning-point in our Education strategy. The schools are almost ready for commissioning and resumption of the pioneer students. These students, who will be selected on merit, would be our brightest and most promising young people. They will of course, be the leaders of tomorrow. They will be given the opportunity to excel in first class educational facilities.
Our avowed determination to improve health care delivery services in the State has continued to result in significant strides. Undoubtedly, it is the belief of our Administration that the core of any health system is the workers. We have continued significant recruitment of health personnel to man our facilities and have complemented this with training and re-training of our health workers in order to create a renewed, vigorous healthcare workforce. The workforce is being provided with necessary facilities to enhance their level of efficiency in service delivery to our people.
Our Community based Health Insurance Scheme tagged, “Araya”, has started to provide free health care for pregnant women, children under the age of 5 and the elderly. The scheme, targeting particularly the informal sector, now has over 37,000 participants who have registered across the State and we are rapidly expanding coverage to all corners.
In the same vein, the economically disadvantaged women who registered for Araya are also eligible for our Gbomoro Programme which was launched in November, 2012. Pregnant women receive a transport allowance when they visit the antenatal clinic and they receive further allowances as well as MAMA kits when they deliver in government owned health facilities. This scheme has already made a significant contribution to safe delivery among this disadvantaged group of women, and reduced to a great extent, maternal, pre-natal and neo-natal mortality and morbidity.
We have continued to upgrade our State and General hospitals including the five dental centres across the State. The Teaching Hospital in Sagamu now has a new diagnostic centre with digital X-ray, modern ultra-sound machine, mammography for breast cancer screening, and a fluoroscopy machine for specialised investigations. The building of comprehensive health centres in all the nine federal constituencies has begun with the completion of the one in Totoro. We are set to replicate this functional clinic in other constituencies.
My dear people of Ogun State, the Agricultural sector is no doubt crucial to economic development of the State. Apart from the fact that we have comparative advantage in this area, the sector offers enormous economic opportunities in terms of job creation for our Youths, enhancement of citizens’ economic power and quality of life as well as provision of raw materials for Agro-Allied industries with its attendant value addition opportunities. In view of the pivotal status of this sector, our Administration has continued to promote and place significant premium on agricultural activities in the State. We want to build an Agro-politan economy in our towns and villages.
This policy is tied to our Commerce and Industrialisation programme. We want to explore our agro-allied comparative advantage. For this reason, we deliberately created a conducive environment for business to thrive and we have continued to sustain the increasing tempo of getting industries located in various parts of the State. We have put in place necessary measures to support existing industries and attract new investors. I am happy to report that about 60 new multi-national companies have opened shop in our State in the last four years, and more are still on the way. We also have empowerment programmes aimed at enhancing capacity of small scale traders through soft loans and free training. Our shopping complexes which are just being completed will redefine the face of small scale trades and SMEs. In all of these, employment is being created for our people which will ultimately result in wealth creation for our State. Ogun State is now the industrial capital of Nigeria.
Another area that we have stamped our Ogun Standard badge is the area of Rural and Infrastructural Development. In the last four years, we have consistently invested heavily in infrastructural development, particularly road construction and rehabilitation as attested to by the numerous road projects across the State. We have seen the first State-constructed fly-over at Ibara, Abeokuta, and the six lane Ibara-Sokori-Totoro road, both of which have been flagships for similar ones in the three Senatorial Districts of the State. From Ijebu-Ode to Sagamu, Sango-Ojodu, Ofada-Mowe, Ilara-Ijoun to Ebute Igboro-Ilase, Ilisan to Ago-Iwoye to Ijebu-Igbo, Abiola Way to Ita Osin-Ajebo Road, Asero-Ojere Road and others, the landscape of Ogun State is being redefined as the best place to live, work and recreate.
Apart from the fact that these roads and bridges have significantly reduced the daily carnage and traffic congestion hitherto witnessed on our roads, they also add to the aesthetic value of our towns and cities. For example, just before we began the construction of the Mobalufon flyover in Ijebu-Ode, the last road accident at that point claimed over 50 lives. This is not to forget the man-hours lost due to traffic congestion. The old look of Ota Township and its environs has also been transformed and all the major roads within the Township have been reconstructed into six and four lane roads complete with road furniture. An ultra modern shopping mall with a mixed housing development is being built in the town. Another historic town, Ayetoro, has dramatically changed with a wide six-lane road, complete with drainage channels on both sides of the road, walkways, street lights, median and bus stops – the hallmark of a modern urban centre where vehicular traffic is separated from pedestrian traffic.
As a result of our new economic status and remarkable increase in economic activities, our State has continued to witness increase in human population in the last four years. As much as this is desirable, it is not without its attendant challenges, especially in the area of accommodation, environmental sanitation and emergency management. But, as a pro-active Government, we have directed the relevant Agencies to be on high alert and to live up to fulfil the objectives behind their establishment. Our MDAs have responded positively to these challenges.
Housing and Urban Renewal
In the area of housing, the Ministry of Housing; Ogun State Property Investment Corporation (OPIC); and, Housing Corporation have been restructured and are now providing housing for people in different economic strata. We have the AAK Degun Mission I Estate at Laderin for Public Servants; the Orange Valley Estate; and, the Plainfields estate as flagship housing estates. The estates have announced our State as an attractive location in which to live, work and recreate.
In the same vein, the huge response to our ongoing Homeowners Charter programme has demonstrated that a critical need of our people is being addressed by the opportunity to acquire property documentation in a seamless manner. The Home Owners scheme has enhanced property value – and gives the owners access to credit facilities since they now have title documents of their properties. All the developments in the housing sector have had direct benefit of creating over 30,000 jobs and helping to build the capacity of our people. Through the Programme, artisans and craftsmen in the State now enjoy skill development and acquisition. Overall, these achievements are recorded in a peaceful, serene and secure environment.
Way Forward – Moving to another Level
Environment – Waste Management
Environment is one area that requires improvement. Our environmental sanitation and waste management is still a far cry from where we want it to be. A look around our State will show an utmost disregard for proper waste disposal. Let me, therefore, use this medium to appeal to our people to ensure that we dispose of our waste in the most civilised and appropriate manner as Government will provide waste collection bins for waste disposal. During our second term in office, our Administration will engage environmental officers to be known as Environmental Marshals who will enforce environmental laws and help ensure a clean environment. We will also unfold a waste disposal policy that will be private sector driven.
The welfare of our workers – public servants – is paramount to this government. To demonstrate our commitment to the welfare of our workers, we were one of the first States to implement the new minimum wage across board in Nigeria. We set the base as N18,250 which is more than the national minimum wage. We also ensured timely payment of workers’ salaries. Indeed, we are one of the few States that have survived the biting economic challenge occasioned by the dwindling allocation from the Federal Government which has made it impossible for many of the States of the Federation to pay their workers’ salary. On our part, we have been paying salaries as and when due. However, we were not totally immune as we have had some challenges lately from December 2014 in the payment of workers’ deductions which we had paid uninterruptedly in the last 42 months (May 2011 to November 2014). We also cleared the four months arrears deduction inherited from the last Administration. As I stated during the Workers’ Day address at this same venue, that at critical points in the history of nations, successful leaders have had to take difficult decisions. These decisions may be uncomfortable as they may require sacrifices from all and sundry. Let me assure you all that whatever decision we have taken, and those that we will still take, will be in the overall interest of the good people of Ogun State.
As it is now, I want to remind you that the new dispensation which will have an APC-led government at the centre is no doubt going to usher in a new dawn as it gives us all a beacon of hope. The exchange of baton at the centre will definitely evoke the much-awaited synergy between the Federal Government and Ogun State. This will translate into adequate and prompt payment of salaries and other emoluments, massive creation of new jobs, training and re-training of our labour force, provision of fringe benefits, better conditions of service and increased standard of living for the generality of our people. I assure you that better days lie ahead and in the next four years, we would have performed so well that we will be adjudged as one of the most worker-friendly Administrations in this country.
All these demonstrate that Ogun State has indeed come a long way. I am happy that we now live in a State where every individual, no matter the circumstance of his birth, locality, race, sex or religion, has equal opportunities. We now live in a time when our State has become one of the preferred destinations of choice for investors, entrepreneurs, both within the nation and internationally. Our road network, our flyover all over the State have become a template for others to copy. It is our determination to complete ALL the on-going roads, bridges, and other infrastructure projects under construction, while other necessary urban roads will be embarked upon. Significant attention will now be given to our rural roads.
Today, we live in a time when companies are eager to establish their factories in Ogun State. We now live in a State where people can sleep with their two eyes closed; and all children irrespective of their birth can have access to Affordable Qualitative Education; books and other instructional materials are given free to students/pupils; the young and the aged have access to free health care; unemployment is gradually being reduced because of the number of companies that have opened shop in Ogun State; and our Public Service is leading in service delivery while others follow. We now live in our own great Ogun State with the unique Ogun Standard.
As we begin the second term in Office, with God on our side, let me assure you that while we shall complete all on-going projects, we will equally concentrate on our proposed intercity and intra-city rail line. Just last month, we demonstrated our seriousness with the rail projects by signing the contract for its commencement with the contractors, Messrs CCECC, on April 27, 2015. Also, we will shift focus to the development of the Deep Sea Port, Olokola Free Trade Zone, the Airport Project, as well as massive development of rural roads across the 236 wards in the State.
Let me remind all of us that we have a great task ahead and the journey is still far. We are all stakeholders in the Rebuilding of our beloved State and nation. So, it is pertinent that we all jointly forge ahead with the task at hand. On our part, we remain unwavering in our commitment to the successful implementation of the “Mission to Rebuild” Ogun State to the fullest.
My Dear Good people of Ogun State, our achievements in the last four years of our first term could not have been possible without your support, co-operation and prayers. I am eternally grateful for this. I, therefore, call on every indigene and resident of Ogun State to continue to see this Ogun Project as their own. We shall press the pedal hard in accelerating the development of our State in the next four years. We therefore solicit for your continued support and co-operation for a better, improved Ogun State. We are determined to put Ogun State on auto drive of progress and modernisation in which all the stakeholders will be able to fulfil their collective and individual aspirations. We want to continue to rebuild the system, structure and the people.
Today, I have taken a solemn oath to the good people of Ogun State. I wish to make a further personal commitment that we will leave Ogun State radically and demonstrably better and more prosperous than we met it. We will leave an Ogun State
Where taps are running in all homes;
Where the factories and workshops are powered with regular supply of electricity;
Where the health facilities are well equipped and properly manned by highly qualified and well-motivated staff;
Where schools are functional;
Where light rail links the State from town to town;
Where the roads are beautifully constructed and well laid out;
Where every person who wishes to work can be employed; and,
Where law and order is sustained.
For this reason, we must continue with the spirit of harmony which has seen us this far. I wish to assure you that our Administration will continue to create the necessary conducive environment that will enable personal development of our people and make them contribute to the socio-economic development of our dear State. As I have said at different fora, we promise not to take your support for granted. We are determined to build enduring, system-driven institutions that will outlive our Administration. At the end of the day, we will leave nobody in doubt as to our genuine intention to take Ogun State to greater heights and make it the pride of all citizens.
As I round off this address, I thank Almighty God for making today possible. Without Him, we could not have achieved anything. May He continue to grant us the increased capacity to fulfil our pledges and give our people the enablement to thrive in their various villages, wards, towns, cities and Local Government Areas across the State.
Long live Ogun State!
Long live the Federal Republic of Nigeria!!
I thank you all for listening. Omo Ogun Ise Ya.