Monday, December 13, 2021 3:19 pm
By Jacob Agbago
The last time President Muhammadu Buhari visited Ogun, the powers that be chose to embarrass him with their perverse politicking. They turned what was supposed to be a peaceful atmosphere into a theatre of thuggery. But the ugly past is now buried and the new dawn stares everyone in the face. This time, the president is coming to Ogun to witness a scenario of development, stability, peace, probity, accountability and transparency, instituted by Governor Dapo Abiodun. In the last two years, Governor Abiodun has been able to transform the sociopolitical and cultural atmosphere in Ogun State and the people have moved on with their governor. Buhari’s coming, this time, will afford him the opportunity of seeing the transformation that has taken place in the area of road infrastructure, housing, education, agriculture, urban renewal, health and women’s empowerment. Here is a government that uses technology to enhance people’s living and provides jobs for teeming youths.
Travelling on the roads that Abiodun has been able to construct across the state, the president will have a feel of the new life in Ogun. Electric polls dot the road from Sagamu to Abeokuta and elsewhere, and driving at night is no longer a death sentence. The 42-km road between Sagamu and Lagos has been adjudged the best in the country given the modern furniture. The Abeokuta- Sagamu Interchange road, the ceremonial route to the Gateway state capital, Ibara, Kuto, MKO Abiola Stadium, Oke Mosan, Laderin, Kobape, Siun to Sagamu interchange, links the Lagos Sagamu expressway to Lagos and the South-East. With the replacement of new asphalt overlay of both binder and wearing course, replacement of cleared road shoulders and median with layby, reconstruction of existing earth drains with adequate turnout where necessary, and provision of new street lights for illumination at nights for safety and security purposes, the road is now a beautiful sight to behold. Industries and housing estate are springing up willy nilly. In Ogun Central, it is roads galore: Panseke – Adigbe road, Lafenwa- Rounder, Elite – Oke- Lantoro road and Fajol- American junction, Obantoko, Kemta- Somorin, Olomore- Sanni road, Adatan- Obantoko road, among others.
The Ijebu Ode-Mojoda-Epe road project cannot escape mention. The 14-km roads is easing the pressure on the Lagos/Ibadan Expressway, linking Ajah, Lekki and other places in the Victoria Island axis of Lagos, and providing an alternative for drivers heading to the South-East. In former times a single-lane road in a deplorable state with heavy traffic, the Ijebu Ode-Mojoda-Epe road is now a standard two-lane double carriageway with reinforced concrete-lined drains, median, walkway, street lights, box culverts and a 14-plaza toll gate, among other appurtenances; a link between Ogun and Lagos with over 30 communities on the corridor. It is facilitating the transportation of goods and services along the corridor, especially for luxury buses and heavy-duty vehicles heading to the South-East; improving economic activities around the coastal lagoon, reducing the burden on the Lagos- Ibadan and Sagamu-Ijebu Ode expressways, and serving as a satellite towns to the people of Lagos State, invariably encouraging the establishment of ports for social and economic purposes.
The president will most probably notice the Ogun City Park, the work of a master craftsman, and a symbolic representation of the Gateway State depicting peace and tranquillity. An iconic monument, the park sits at the Shagamu Interchange, warmly welcoming visitors to the state, with outstretched arms depicting the ethnic groups in the state. The monument made of composite materials towers to a height of 27m, a bridge of unity making for a triumphant entry into the Gateway State. Here is a prime location for fun lovers, a prime spot for relaxation and family picnics.
The president may or may not visit the Kobape Housing Estate or the Prince Court Estate at Kemta, Idi-Aba, and Abeokuta, but these projects are a fitting tribute to Abiodun’s genius. Completed within the first 100days of the governor’s inauguration, Kobape Estate comprises a total of 300 units of one, two and three-bedroom flats described as a “Smart City” where people can live, work and play. Another 300 units are for the next phase. Solar streetlights, sewage system, primary health centre, drainage, water, electricity, tarred road and a police post explain why the Kobape Estate is a fully subscribed piece of architecture. Next, welcome to Kings Court Estate, located in Oke-Mosan, Abeokuta. CCTV cameras, perimeter fence gated with security personnel, connected drainage and interlocking complemented by an uninterrupted power supply, walkways, pipe-borne water, package sewage plant and recreational parks, among other features, make this project simply phenomenal. Unlike Prince Court Estate and Kobape Housing Estate, Kings’ Court Estate targets medium and high-income earners in Ogun State. It is strategically located opposite Governor’s Office at Oke Mosan and behind Orange Valley Estate.
For two years running, Governor Abiodun won the Governor of The Year Award in Agriculture organised by the Nigeria Agricultural Award (NAA). He was honoured, among others, for supporting40,000 smallholder farmers with inputs such as seeds, cassava cutting, insecticide and herbicide during the 2020 planting season, giving 10,000 farmers fertilizers palliatives and continued support across the state; supporting young farmers with over 900 hectares of land preparations in 17 locations, with some 2,500 unemployed youths and farmers engaging in cassava production; setting up strategic partnerships with international development partners and farmers in large-scale cultivation of rice and cassava in 36 locations in 11 local government areas, and empowering 54 pilot youths in broiler production with each making profit of N150,000 per cycle for three cycles. There is an Ogun-Kebbi Joint Commission on Rice Production, and an agro-allied based airport to aid the development of the state as a destination of choice for agriculture in Nigeria.
In the education sector, the governor embarked on the rehabilitation of schools in all the wards in the state, cleared the backlog of teachers’ promotion, resolved the governance issues in the state’s higher institutions and abolished tuition in primary and secondary schools. Shortly after assuming office, he unveiled the Ogun Job Portal to link youth in the state with opportunities in the job market, empowering them through the creation of the Ogun Tech Hub and Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (Stem) Centre. At the centre, ICT experts and trainees deploy ICT gadgets as information technology prepares the ground for the pursuit of a digital economy. Among others, the centre provides fertile ground for tech-preneurs, tech-enthusiasts, innovators, creative and design thinkers, academia and other stakeholders in the IT ecosystem to project innovative solutions to existing socio-economic issues in the state.
Certainly, when Buhari comes to Ogun next week, there will be a great story to tell. The people are happy and excited about the infrastructure being put in place. The governor is not a loudmouth: he is a silent achiever who, within the last two and half years, has been able to prove critics wrong, changing the development narrative of the state. Let the president take his time and enjoy the hospitality of the people of the Gateway State.
*Apagbo contributes this piece through [email protected]