Segun Ajiboye examines the achievements of Ondo State Governor Rotimi Akeredolu (SAN) in the last four years, which he will build upon in his second term
Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu will take the oath of office for a fresh four years as Governor of Ondo State tomorrow.
By all standards, the journey of the last four years has been hugely successful for a man who came into office with a strong vision and determination to leave his imprint in the annals of the Sunshine state.
And in ensuring an enduring legacy, Akeredolu had to lead by example. With his background as a senior lawyer and a first-grade activist, he knew that he could not afford to fail his people.
With a sterling accomplishment in private service, Akeredolu is known to be richly blessed with good vision, courage, candour and determination. These attributes have in no small measure contributed to the success of the last four years.
Without doubt, these attributes made him well-equipped for the challenges of governance and have resulted in four years ofunprecedented achievements in many sectors in Ondo State.
The achievements are more pronounced in the number and quality of roads constructed, primary and tertiary education, health care, industrialisation and, of course, the economy.
It is no longer news that Akeredolu met a State that was comatose. Civil servants were being owed seven months’ salaries; teachers were being ridiculed because they could not pay their rents or feed their family and morale among the people, particularly the civil servants, was at its lowest.
In his bid to open up the economy to viable investors and make access to the State easy, Akeredolu intervened in the comatose air transportation service. Within a period of six months, the Akure airport came back to life, with daily flights from Abuja and Lagos.
Having established hugely successful daily flights into the State from Lagos and Abuja, operated by two viable operators, the governor was set and indeed moved on to a journey to build a solid economic foundation for the State.ADVERTISEMENT
In his first four years in the saddle, Akeredolu recorded unprecedented success in all sectors, including education, infrastructure, health and industrial.
The Administration inherited a decayed and derelict infrastructure. The roads, even in the capital city, were pockmarked with craters and gullies. For the people, especially those of the northern and southern senatorial districts, the roads had become death traps.
His success in the number and quality of roads constructed has attracted commendations from even his most ardent critics. Taking into consideration the economic state, the number of roads constructed has been nothing but phenomenal.
From Ikare-Akoko to Oka-Akoko and to other areas in Ilaje and Ese-Odo local government areas, stories of multiple deaths caused by damaged portions of the roads became a daily feature of our lives. At the notorious Oke Oka and Oke Alabojuto roads in Oka and Ikare respectively, entire families have been wiped out multiple times.
Within two years as governor, Akeredolu unraveled the mystery behind the dangerous Oke Alabojuto road in Ikare Akoko. The mythical hilly road that has claimed countless number of lives has given way to the bulldozers deployed by Akeredolu, leaving the people marvelling.
Governor Akeredolu has done what many thought was impossible and there are new songs on the lips of the people.
In the central senatorial zone, Akure, is gradually wearing a true status of a State capital. The major roads around the capital city are wearing new looks. Residents of the State Hospital Road, State High Court Road, Oke Ogba, Iwalewa and Abusoro now have a feel of government in years as the new roads have transformed their socioeconomic lives.
Idanre, the beautiful town built on the hills now has alternative route. The people are hailing the governor for a good job, while the construction of new road networks in the Alagbaka area has continued to wow the people who now refer to the area as their own Banana Island.
The construction of the flyover on the Benin-Ore expressway has changed the narratives in Ore by putting a permanent end to the daily carnage on the expressway.
In four years, 99.34km of roads have been constructed, while 140 kilometres are undergoing construction.
The industrial revolution started by Akeredolu barely six months into his first term has yielded results that have surpassed everybody’s imagination. The truck assembly plant at the Ondo/Linyi Industrial Hub marks another huge leap in the governor’s effort to change the narrative in the State’s economic fortune.
Recall that the Ondo Linyl Industrial Hub has, as its components, the Line of Production of High Density Fibre Board, the Cassava to Ethanol Plant which can process about 300 metric tonnes of cassava per day, and the Win-Win Textile Factory, all located within the Ore Industrial Park.
This truck assembly plant is the first truck assemblage plant in the country. This is obviously in fulfilment of Akeredolu’s determination to make Ondo State an industrial hub of the country. The celebrated project which was inaugurated by President Muhammadu Buhari on February 25, 2020 during the third anniversary of the governor.
The truck assembly plant, operated by one of China’s leading truck brands, Dongfeng Commercial Vehicle Company Limited, has its products range covering heavy and medium-duty trucks. With strong determination by the Akeredolu administration, the exploration of the huge deposits of bitumen has commenced after decades of much talk and less action by successive administrations.
The great philosopher, Aristotle, said: “Excellence is never an accident. It is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, and intelligent execution; it represents the wise choice of many alternatives – choice, not chance, determines destiny”.
This quote aptly describes the personae of Governor Akeredolu. The love extended to him by the State workforce is not by accident. It is a love he earned by his display of unparalleled maturity and leadership style.
In the first three years of the Akeredolu administration, workers’ salaries were being paid as and when due until the Covid-19 pandemic and the nation’s economic downturn threw spanner in the works. Six out of the seven months’ salaries owed by the previous administration have also been paid to date.
We shall ensure that we meet up with our regular salary payment regime very soon.
In January 2020, the State Government and organized Labour signed an Agreement on the implementation of the N30, 000.00 New Minimum Wage and consequential adjustments.
In his four years in the saddle, the Akeredolu administration has appointed more than 40 Permanent Secretaries, all done on the basis of merit. In the same vein, as a way of encouraging and rewarding hard-working public servants, the governor approved the regular promotion of deserving workers.
The welfare of the workers has continued to be prioritised by the administration with training and retraining programmes embarked upon for different categories of workers. Specifically, Governor Akeredolu’s Administration has embarked on different kinds of capacity building programmes for public servants in the State and about 1, 400 workers have benefited from them. This has engendered higher productivity and better service delivery to the people of the State.
In 2017, 4,411 workers were promoted, 4,821 workers were promoted in 2018, 6,702 workers in 2019 and 3,650 workers were considered for promotion in 2020, with all the financial benefits paid to date. All these are happening at a time when several states in the country are struggling to meet their obligations to the workforce. This is by no means a mean feat.
Four years ago, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu made a vow to promote quality and sustainable education that will ensure a technological growth never experienced in the State before. Today, a solid and sure-footed foundation has been laid from primary to tertiary education to ensure that the future of the State is better structured for modern-day challenges through quality and sustainable education.
Between 2017 and 2020, 662 public primary schools spread across the State have either been totally reconstructed or renovated and fitted with computer and leisure facilities that have combined to make learning easy for the children.
Of course, this has brought about dramatic increase in the number of pupils registered in public primary schools in the State. Today, the children are happy and eager to go to school every day.
Any moment from now, the State Universal Basic Education will roll out employment letters to one thousand teachers of primary schools across the State, a first feat in more than ten years.
A recent survey carried out across the State revealed that parents now withdraw their wards from private schools and register them in public primary schools.
The unprecedented innovations in the education sector achieved this turning of the tide.
This is one issue that has generated so much emotion. For years, the entire southwest region of the country was put on edge by criminal elements who operated day and night with reckless abandon. But, Akeredolu, who is also the Chairman of Southwest Governors’ Forum, rallied his colleagues in the region and came up with the Western Nigeria Security Network, codenamed Amotekun.
Aside from checkmating criminals in the entire region, Amotekun has largely restored the honour and respect of the Yoruba race among other ethnic nationalities in the country.
Though much still needs to be done, peace is gradually returning to the region. For his efforts, Governor Akeredolu is generally described as the Amotekun Commander-in-Chief by the people.
The last four years have laid a solid foundation for a sustainable economic transformation never witnessed in the State since creation.
I invite us all to join the train and have a smooth ride as we begin the journey of consolidation in the next four years.
You want to share a story with us? You want to advertise? You need publicity for a product, service, or event? Contact us on WhatsApp – +234 803 3018 881