INAUGURATION ADDRESS DELIVERED BY THE GOVERNOR OF OGUN STATE, HIS EXCELLENCY, PRINCE DAPO ABIODUN, MFR, ON MONDAY, 29 MAY 2023.
Today, to the glory of God and the support of the good people of Ogun state , we start a new chapter in the continuing development agenda of our Great State. On this day, four years ago, I stood at this same venue and gave my word, making God my witness that I would serve Ogun State and increase the individual prosperity of its people. I am deeply humbled and greatly honoured to say that we have delivered on all the promises we made at that time. It has been a great privilege for myself and my deputy to serve you in the last four years to hold in custody the public trust on behalf of the people ; indeed, the experience has been very exciting, educative, and deeply humbling. In all of this, I express, on behalf of my team, our sincere appreciation and gratitude to you the good people of Ogun State, for giving us the opportunity to serve. I want to thank you especially for your support, cooperation, and collaboration this past four years. I say a big thank you to you all , because we did it together.
In addition to that, I want to appreciate you my good people of Ogun State for giving us an additional opportunity to serve you for another four years. You expressed this so eloquently on 18th March 2023 through the ballot box, despite attempts to subdue democracy. Your unflinching faith in our ability to deliver on our promises means so much to us, and we will not disappoint you. My Deputy Gov and i do not take your trust lightly and we are more than determined to do better than we have done before.
It is important that as we appreciate our past successes we recognize that we must work harder than we have ever done before. That is the way forward as we collectively march to the creation of our dream society guided by the mission statements in our “Building our Future Together” agenda. Looking back at what we have achieved together in the last four years, you will agree with me that we have delivered on virtually all the promises we made four years ago.
THE JOURNEY SO FAR
We had promised on assumption of office that our vision for Ogun State is “To give Ogun State focused and qualitative governance and to create the enabling environment for a Public-Private Sector Partnership, which is fundamental to the creation of an enduring economic development and individual prosperity for the people.” We never forgot this promise, this is why our infrastructure investments are people oriented and transformational and have consequent Obvious multiplier effects to the socio – economic development of the state.
Our accomplishments in this area are fairly and equitable distributed across the state and they include amongst others ,over 400km of constructed, reconstructed, or rehabilitated roads comprising more than 80 major roads, lower level roads, and even Federal Roads. In four years, this administration has constructed more in terms of kilometres of roads than previous administrations in the state. The road projects include, just to name a few, Ilaro – Owode Road, Ijebu- Ode – Mojoda – Epe Road, Abeokuta – Siun – Sagamu Interchange Road, Atan – Lusada – Agbara Road, Panseke – Adigbe – Opako Road, Ilishan – Ago-Iwoye Road, Idi-Aba – Elite – Oke-lantoro Road, and Fajol – American Junction – Unity Estate Road.
We also commenced the construction of our Aerotropolis – the Airport City – anchored by the Agro-Cargo International Airport, which by the grace of the Almighty God, will be commissioned in a few months .This airport project Is a part of our multimodal transport master plan,which we commenced construction in April 2021 and by February 2023, we were all witnesses to the maiden test flights into it. The Aerotropolis is a community of its own that will consists of the International Agro-Cargo Airport, Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zone (SAPZ), an Air-Force Base, Customs Training Centre, amongst others. We are confident that it will provide over 40,000 direct and indirect jobs whilst turning Ogun into cargo hub of the sub region taking advantage of the recently launched AFCTA . We have started operationalising our Mass Transit bus System with the pilot operations in Abeokuta.
Our Ogun Digital Infrastructure project, which seeks to provide internet connectivity across the state is the backbone of the ICT revolution which accounts for about 21% of our State’s GDP.The internet connectivity when fully implemented will unlock the potentials of this sector, and increase the capacity, value, and returns of players in the sector.
Furthermore, our administration provided transformers to more than 300 communities across all 20 LGAs in the state to boost electricity supply, whilst deploying other renewable power sources through the installation of solar power points, and also created the enabling environment for the development of a gas distribution infrastructure for power supply.
B.Social Welfare and Well Being
On social welfare and well-being, we immediately began a development agenda that encompasses health, housing, security, water supply, and women empowerment . I am confident that we have improved the well being and welfare of our citizens.
We continue to provide Qualitative Health Care Service Delivery through our investments in the construction or reconstruction of over 100 Primary Health Care Centres and the impressive enrolment of community members for our healthinsurancescheme tagged‘ILERADERO’.Thisfunded from the Basic Health Care Provision Fund that we set up. Ilera Dero is a specially thought out insurance scheme that allows the informal sector enjoy health insurance so that in the time of medical need enrolees can access healthcare services without paying out of pocket. Under the scheme, enrolees pay a token ₦1,000 per month for individuals or ₦4,000 per month for a family of 6.
Ilera Dero has been a resounding success with several happy and fulfilled beneficiaries. We are proud that about 48,000 people have enrolled under the scheme, and they testify to the efficacy of this scheme. One of the enrolee is Mrs Agnes Taiwo Abo, a fish seller from Ibiade, Ogun Waterside L.G.A, who gave birth to a triplets , without paying a dime at the OOUTH.
Through the revenue stream Ilera Dero, our administration was able to employ an additional 50 doctors in Ogun State.
We purchased and deployed over 50 new ambulances from only five (5) that we inherited in 2019 and we equally procured 50 tricycle ambulances in addition to 30 that was graciously donated from the Office of the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Those tricycles are in all our Local Government Areas today and successfully saving the lives of rural dwellers.
Our commitment anD the improvement to a healthy citizenry Was recognised by The Federal Government through the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) when we were declared Ogun as the overall best performing State in the Southwest on Routine Immunisation (RI) and COVID-19 Vaccination. **add latest award
We have furthermore invested in the upgrade of facilities and equipment at the Olabisi Onabanjo University Teaching Hospital, making it a more befitting centre of heath care, medical education, and research. Whilst Renovating and equipping our other State and General Hospitals . We succeeded in the accreditation of our school of Nursing and the upgraded it now to a college of Nursing . It is important to place on record that the workers in these health institutions are highly motivated because we Have prioritised needed recruitment, regular payment of salaries, and steady promotion of medical and healthcare professionals in various cadres.
In the housing sector our administration pursued an ambitious housing scheme meant to deliver 2,500 housing units in phases. Already, almost 2000 units have been constructed and sold out in our housing estates that cut across the three (3) Senatorial Districts of the State. This is more than the total housing units built by all previous administrations combined since the creation of the state in 1976. We have since commissioned King’s Court Housing Estate, Prince Court Estate, and Kobape Housing Estate in the Central Senatorial District. Whilst The Ilaro, Ijebu Ode, Sagamu, are in various stages of completion .
Security of lives and property is the primary responsibility of any government, we invested heavily in the reinvigoration of the Ogun State Security Trust Fund and provided the counterpart fund for purchase of patrol vehicles and communication gadgets to all the law enforcement agencies and set up the Amotekun , to complement the existing security architecture and all these have earned us the status as one of the safest, if not the safest State in Nigeria,
We are proud to have fulfilled our promise by building 5 new fire stations with complmentary fire engines Whilst rehabilitating existing ones.
Our He for She administration particularly empowered women through various empowerment programmes across the State, especially Ok’owo Dapo and disbursed over ₦1 billion grant to boost the operations of micro, small, and Medium-scale enterprises under the Nigeria for Women Project.
Education and Human Capital
We are the Enviable education capital of Nigeria the education is a sector that we are particularly proud of. We keep consolidating on this legacy with our unwavering commitment and investment in this sector. Our administration constructed no fewer about 1000 classroom blocks and other facilities in public schools, including the Special Needs Schools across the State. We Provided over 25,000 pieces of furniture for distribution to Public Primary and Secondary Schools, and introduced the OgunTEACh intervention programme through which we employed five thousand interns to fill the teacher-vacancies in primary, secondary, and technical colleges.
Our administration increased the running cost for all public primary and secondary schools by over 120 per cent, and cleared the staff promotion backlogs of 2016 and 2017 that we met when we assumed office. We also recently promoted teachers due for promotion in year 2019, 2020, 2021, and 2022.. We have maintained regular payment of salaries and allowances to teaching and non-teaching staff of our educational institutions while ensuring the prompt and regular payment of subventions to State-owned tertiary institutions.
We. introduced the Central Education Management Information System (EMIS) for data gathering, analysis, and e learning . We also launched the Learner Identification Number (LIN) Which is a unique identifier for all learners in Ogun State which ensures that Ogun State now maintains Digitized academic accurate records of all learners in both public and private schools in Ogun state . Most commendably, we are the first to introduce such in Nigeria.
All these interventions amongst in the education sector in, Ogun State has earned us various National awards
On youth empowerment, our administration continue to appreciate that our youths are todays leaders and we have been creative in providing them with the opportunity to discover and achieve their potentials
We established the Centre for Innovation, Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), as well as the Ogun Tech Hub which provides infrastructural support for local innovators and incubation opportunities for tech-based start-ups. We delivered the Ogun Youth Empowerment Scheme (OG-YES) aimed at providing paid training and job opportunities for a targeted 10,000 artisans annually.
Agriculture and Food Security
As an agrarian state with over 12,000sqm of cultivatable land our administration identified agriculture as a sector that can provide employment to our teeming youths , generate income for us whilst also providing food security . It is also is an important in the production of raw materials feedstock For industrialisation. The ground-breaking of our first of its kind in Nigeria Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zone (SAPZ) located within the Remo Economic Industrial Cluster is a testament to our commitment to becoming the bread basket of the nation . This initiative will not only increase the agricultural productivity of smallholder farmers and other value chain actors, but it will also boost job creation through agricultural value chain development in crop, aquaculture, and core livestock sectors, as well as service provision initiatives in the agricultural sector.
Other programmes we facilitated to enhance our agricultural initiative are the World Bank financed Ogun State Economic Transformation Project (OGSTEP) which targets 40,000 Smallholder farmers, Our collaboration with Nigeria Agricultural Land Development Authority (NALDA) And the setting up of an Integrated Farm Estate sited close to the SAPZ. This is aimed at engaging 1,500 farmers and generating about two billion naira annually after its first year. The focus is on snail, poultry, dairy, and crop farming and processing.
CONTINUING THE JOURNEY OF “BUILDING OUR FUTURE TOGETHER”
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, over the past four years, we have made significant progress in terms of good governance even in the face of different hills and valleys such as the covid 19 pandemic the end sars protests the Naira resins and cash withdrawal limit. We are very thankful that thus far the Lord has preserved us .Our State has come a long way, but there is still much more we can achieve. We are determined to build on the successes achieved, we will continue to develop new policies and reinvent the creative will to succeed. We will not rest on our oars .
We do not promise to do everything. We do not even pretend to have all the solutions to all the problems of the State. But we are irrevocably committed to making a difference and fulfilling all our promises whilst being inclusive , participatory, responsive and consultative .
While our administration will continue to encourage constructive criticism we know that all our achievements may not be enough for nay sayers. We will however remain laser focused and not be distracted as we are determined to continue to work together to build the Ogun State of our collective dream.
Our Strategic Approach Over The Next Four Years
Over the next four years, this administration will move on speedily to deliver the dividends of democracy to our people. In the last four years, we laid the foundation for our shared prosperity. We have covered a lot of grounds, but there is more work to be done . Time is of the essence, and our people must see our commitment and sincerity regarding their security, peace, their wellness, and wellbeing. Our goal is to create a prosperous, sustainable, and inclusive future for all residents.
To achieve this vision, we will focus more on several key areas of the economy. We will continue to implement our ISEYA development agenda. We will complete all on going infrastructure projects, such as roads Our agro cargo / commercial airport ,achieve our set target in the health sector of 236 PHCs , and the housing sector by Amongst others ensuring we provide 6000 affordable housing units . We will be fully implementing e learning in our public schools whilst continuing with the reconstruction of schools and provision of furniture .
We will be collaborating with Lagos State in leveraging on the blue and red lane rail lines by investing in their extensions into Ogun State for the efficient transportation of people, goods and services.We will constructing of a dry port at Kajola and a logistics hub at Wasinmi in collaboration with the private sector .We believe these will not only increase our ranking in the Ease of Doing Business index but will also create jobs for thousands of our youth and sustain the momentum we have achieved as the industrial capital of Nigeria.
We will commence the implementation of some other initiatives like LIGHT-UP OGUN Project taking advantage of the constitutional amendment so we provide uninterrupted power supply to our major cities by collaborating again with the private sector We will launching in June 2023our eMobility and Gas Mobility Projects through which our mass transport systems will be powered by electricity and gas , the reduction In carbon emissions in our State and earn us carbon credit as we join other advanced countries in going green. Our administration will be prioritizing the provision and supply of potable water to our cities and towns . Having carried out a major overhaul of the Arakanga Water Works to sustain the provision of water available for the people of Abeokuta and its environs we will now focus on reticulation and other creative options of supply in water to our major town and cities .
We have begun discussion on exploration of the oil prospects in our State in Tongeji Island and Olokola and are confident that very soon our state will be joining the league of oil producing states.
We will continue to implement Mr Presidents eat what your and grow what you eat policy and achieve our resolve to become the food basket of the nation by supporting our farmers and sustaining our current initiatives like the anchor borrowers scheme amongst others
Ogun State Will be hosting the 2024 National Sports Festival. This festival will give some of our teeming youth the opportunity to showcase their talent, and will provide a veritable ground to discover more youth from the State who will beat world records like Tobi Amusan .
Our State will continue to work towards achieving much higher levels of growth, especially by harnessing our demographic nuances so that the average Ogun citizen can truly feel the impact of planned economic growth and development. In this regard, we have introduced Policy initiatives and reforms so government can be more efficient . We will continue build on these so as to sustain our investment drive and maintain our position as the investor /industrial destination of choice .We will continue to develop our human capital through greater investment in qualitative education, skill acquisition, and entrepreneurship
Independence of Other Arms of Government.
Our Administration will deepen our commitments towards the independence of the two other Arms of Government – the legislature and judiciary, respectively, within the ambits of the best and globally accepted interpretations of the principle of Separation of Powers, keeping sight of our duty to deliver the dividends of democracy to the people. Therefore, the executive arm will continue to work to collaborate with these two other arms of government and guarantee their respective integrity. We believe the legislature should play its constitutional roles. We will also respect the Ogun State Judiciary, and we will assist the institution to reform and reposition itself for the challenges of the 21st century, especially as a significant driver of our investment drive.
The Public Service
The task we have set for ourselves this term is enormous, and it cannot be successfully accomplished without the support and collaboration of the public service. Before I continue, kindly allow me to register my immense appreciation to the entire members of the Ogun State civil Service for the support, cooperation and collaboration that our Administration has enjoyed from this noble institution since we assumed office for the first term on 29th May 2019. I am very grateful
Our working together has brought positive and fruitful outcomes. Because of your support, our dear State has now been firmly placed on the path of sustained socio-economic development. I want to reassure all our public servants in Ogun State that through institutional reforms and training, we will continue to take steps to reposition the public service and strengthen it in areas where we have identified some weaknesses.
I recognize that we have some unmet commitments to our Public Servants, which we are defraying and will complete very soon. Ours is a promise keeping administration, and we will fulfil all the promises we made to our people, including public servants. We remain committed to the welfare of our workforce and the populace by continuing to execute people- friendly policies and programmes that will make a positive impact in the lives of our people through efficient and faithful implementation of our I.S.E.Y.A. programme. I also take a moment to commend the harmonious working relationship existing between political office holders and public servants. Let me end this address by appreciating the leadership of the labour unions – the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) for their understanding and maturity at all times.
In conclusion, I thank the Almighty God and the good people of Ogun State for entrusting my DG and with your mandate . We consider it a rare honor And privilege to serve you for another four years. We will not betray this trust reposed on us. I appreciate everyone, particularly my Indefatigable cabinet members and all political appointees, our council chairmen ,my friends, and most especially, my great party, APC, who have given us the platform to stand on and supported me every step of the way and all our leaders,
Elders and party faithfuls for believing in me . I want to specially thank my family, especially my wife and children, for their sacrifice, as I have not been available at home on many days and nights owing to exigencies of duty. I appreciate you a lot. Without your support, I would not be standing here. My appreciation also goes to my political father former Gov of Ogun State Aremo Olusegun Osoba for being my father . Permit to thank all the Religious faiths for their prayers ,support and tolerance for each other , our royal fathers for their collaboration and cooperation all associations and various groups be it market men and women or our unions be it transport unions or student unions and our women and youth organizations you are all deeply appreciated .My appreciation is extended to our law enforcement agencies and their heads for the peace we have achieved together.
I want to now thank our out going President Buhari GCFR who without his support i would never have been governor i also thank our out going vice President our own Prof Yemi Osibajo GCON for all the support that he has given this administration. I must Congratulate and appreciate our new President Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu for All he has done for me in political journey that has kept me standing .
I am deeply inspired by the words of Eleanor Roosevelt that “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams”. We believe in the beauty of the dreams bequeathed to us by our forebears like Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Chief Bisi Onabanjo, Chief Olusegun Osoba and others who have walked this way before us. We salute their heroism; we thank them for their past sacrifices, and in the words of our National Anthem, “…the labours of our heroes’ past shall never be in vain”. We encourage everyone to join us as we continue on this journey to shared prosperity and the creation of an egalitarian society.
The positive attributes, thoughts, ideology, principles, and life patterns of our forebears have continued to be the guiding light of this state across many generations. Our collective achievements towards the realisation of a dream Ogun State has shown us that no government can succeed if it does not have the confidence of the people. There is strength in unity. I have found a lot of strength in your support in the first term of our administration, and I count on that support again as we continue this journey which we began four years ago.
This special occasion reminds us that we must continue to define our purpose in the spirit of our togetherness as a state. Let us all agree that Ogun State remains a work in progress. Let me restate what I have said times without number: we do not promise you that we will do everything; but I can assure you that we will do whatever we promise to do – and we will do them well. The future of the State lies in the beauty of our joint vision and our collective decisions to move our great State to its destination of development. So, once again, let us begin this second phase of the journey together, with hope in our hearts and a strong sense of purpose.
The Prerogative of Mercy
Before I conclude, I cannot overemphasise the reality that today is a happy day for me and for the State. As we celebrate, we bear a moral responsibility to spare a thought for those who cannot celebrate for whatever reason. Some are ill, some are in despair, some have died prematurely. Others are in prison paying a debt to society which they sometimes incurred by circumstance, extreme underprivilege, or even the failures of past leaders.
The Constitution of Nigeria allows me to exercise a prerogative to pardon anybody connected to or convicted of an offence in Ogun State. Thus, having received the guidance from the Council set up to advise me on this prerogative, I have signed the appropriate warrant ordering the immediate release of 49 convicts who are currently imprisoned in different correctional facilities across Ogun State. I have also signed a warrant ordering that the death sentences imposed on 3 death row convicts be immediately converted to prison sentences.
The convicts who have received this gesture today, are inmates who have served long prison sentences with some having been in prison for more than 20 years. At least two of these convicts have serious medical conditions such as tuberculosis and HIV which even render them a health hazard to the prison community. Three of these convicts are over 60 years old, with one being 84 years old. Others already have less than two years of their sentences to serve anyway. All of these convicts have shown remorse for their crimes, they have acquired skills and certifications in prison, and they have demonstrated verified good conduct during their imprisonment.
The Ogun State of our dreams is not only for one class of persons. It is not for the perfect. It is an inclusive State that gives opportunities to the law-abiding, and second chances to deserving offenders. If we spend considerable time, effort, and resources in supporting correctional facilities, then we must believe in their capacity to correct, and be willing to reabsorb, reintegrate, and utilise those that these facilities have corrected. While we are not softening our stance on crime, we use this occasion to send a message that second chances are possible in this egalitarian, inclusive, and merciful State.
This is why just as I did in the last four years, I will listen to your concerns, seek your input, and work tirelessly to make our State a better place for all. I believe that through hard work, determination, and a shared vision for the future, we can achieve great things. I am committed to building a government that is transparent,equitable, accountable, and responsive to the needs of our people. We will work together to make our state a place where everyone has equal opportunity to thrive, regardless of their background.
No doubt, as we move forward, we will face many obstacles and challenges, but I am confident that together, we can overcome them. I am honoured to serve as your governor once again, and I look forward to working with each and every one of you to build a better State for generations to come.
Thank you so much for listening; God bless Ogun State, and God bless you all.
Igbega Ipinle Ogun, ajose gbogbo wa ni o!
Prince (Dr) Dapo Abiodun, MFR
Governor of Ogun State, Nigeria.
Monday, 29 May 2023