The new governor of Ogun State, Prince Dapo Abiodun, is not someone known for making long speeches. He believes in Action. He believes in letting his actions speak for him.
But a few days back, when members of The Ijebu Heritage Group (an elite club, of which he is a member. This club is made up of successful Ijebu professionals), received him at the Awujale’s Palace, he spoke about the big mess he inherited from his predecessor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, plus how he met an empty purse, which could not enable him pay Civil Servants their May 2019 Salary.
For 1 hour, (extempore) without reading from a text, Prince Dapo Abiodun not only told his hosts how bad the situation in Ogun State is. He told them what he planned to do, to remedy the situation in the next few months.
His beautiful wife, Bamidele, was also in attendance. It was an evening of Entertainment and Interaction. The event was held inside the Heritage Hall and it was attended by prominent sons of Ijebuland. Some of them are members of The Ijebu Heritage Group.
The Awujale of Ijebuland, Oba Sikirulai Adetona, was represented by the Dagburewe of Idowa, Oba Yinusa Adekoya. The Chairman of the club, Otunba Lekan Bello; a former governor of Ogun State, Otunba Gbenga Daniel (who is also a member), a former deputy governor of Ogun State, Prince Segun Adesegun, many royal fathers, members of the state and National Assemblies were also present.
In his long and brilliant speech, which was a no holds barred speech, he let it all out, talking about his first 3 days in office. “I must first thank my distinguished brothers for putting this celebration together”, he began. “Like a few people have said before me, this afternoon, I stand here just by God’s Grace and Mercy because like they say, Man proposes, but God, indeed, disposes. And I remain the testimony to the awesomeness of the almighty God”.
“I want to thank my fellow members of this distinguished club, which is a very unique club. There are very few clubs like this in this country. This is a club of eminence, a club of people with character, a club of very distinguished and successful personality, who have distinguished themselves in various lines of business and have come together for one or two purposes. A club that has produced two governors in this state (OGD & himself). There is no other club like this club anywhere in this country. And I can assure you that this is not a mere coincidence”.
This is, indeed, a club of very distinguished men. This club I recall, in the course of this journey, when I sought audience to present myself to them officially, was the only club or association that gave me a Blue print as to what members think whoever wants to be governor should be focused on. And guess what, this blueprint was almost a mirror of my Vision document. And I had not seen that document, before neither had they seen my document but as they went point by point we kept on looking at one another and wondering if there were some form of leakage here, so this further underscores that yes i am an authentic member of this club because without even consulting with the club, my vision and that of the vision of the club for this state were properly aligned. Having said that, our mantra is building our future together. We believe that it is important for us to have a mantra that best describes what we want to do and we want to build a new future for the people of Ogun state.
Consequently, we have described our Vision as that which is to provide Focused and qualitative governance for the good people of Ogun State while creating an enabling environment for a public-private sector partnership, which we believe is fundamental to the economic growth of this state and to the individual’s prosperity of Ogun citizens. This vision says a lot, it says Focus. That we will be focused. We want to be focused, we talked about Qualitative governance that speaks for a Good Governance. Good governance by my definition means that we will be consensual-oriented. We shall hold ourselves accountable to the people. We will be transparent. We will be responsive, and we will be equitable and inclusive. We will be effective and efficient. We will follow the rule of law and we will be participatory.
We assumed office by being sworn on the 29th of May, about a week ago. My first day in the office was Thursday, 30th May. I spent that day first meeting with the Body of Permanent Secretaries, headed by the Head of Service, since they were the only form of organized government in place when I took over. Following that, I went and I inspected different ministries and then I had a meeting with the heads of security agencies. And by the way, I was told that it was the first time a meetings like that had been held in the last 24 months. By the time I was done with that, it was the end of the day. That was how I spent my first day.
The following day was 31st May, and I realised that was the end of the month and, indeed, under my Good Governance priority, I promised that among other things, this administration will be defined as that which pays salaries as at when due. Here, my second day was on 31st of the month and I called the Head of Service and the Accountant General and I said it’s the end of the month, my Contract with the good people of Ogun state is a Social contract. It’s a contract between me, the good people of Ogun state that voted me in and the God Almighty and I have that covenant that they will be paid as at when due. So we must pay salaries today And they said to me, sir, “it will not be possible because they don’t have enough money”. I said: Okay, I then made a few calls to our friends in the banking sector and I said to them I need to pay salaries today. This is my Social contract with the people of Ogun State. I need your help. I will like every civil servant to receive an alert. I believe that this is why it is important that some of us who are here from the private sector begin to participate. I did not have to stress myself in convincing any of the bank MDs. Just a one minute conversation with them and they all said Dapo, don’t worry because of who you are, we will pay the salaries. I am proud to say that nothing was more fulfilling than when I signed my first official document, which was signing the wage bill that afternoon. And by the grace of God the good people of Ogun State civil servants were paid their salaries on the 31st of May. I forgot to mention this because when we talked about Good governance and when we talked about all the things that I had mentioned that we would be effective and participatory and follow the rule of law, it starts from here. Good governance falls under the category of what we call our Enablers like good governance, Security Infrastructure, and so on and so forth. These are our Enablers for the things we tend to achieve in Ogun State. And those that we intend to achieve, we call them our pillars. So, if our Enablers are faulty, you cannot achieve those that we describe as our pillars. So, under our good governance we believe that everyone who has worked must get paid. We also believe that we must strengthen our local government institutions. Our local government institutions, they are the third tier of government. They are the closest to the grassroots. They are the ones that people see every day. In order climes, like in the US they call them Mayors. Today, they just exist in names only.
We are committed to ensuring that they fulfill their responsibilities as enshrined in the Constitution. we are committed to ensuring that all salary arrears are cleared. We are committed to ensuring that all pension fund reductions are remitted to PFAs and I’m sure to those of us who are here from the private sector are probably wondering why should a Governor be making such commitment and shouldn’t this be taken for granted, well, you will be surprised that these are things that have never being in place.
So, we believe that it’s important that if we consider Good Governance and enablers for economic transformation, we must be seen to have been fully committed and sanctioned all these points. So you will see that we would be defined as that government that will pay people on time, as that government that will pay all salary arrears. Otunba Daniel mentioned the tertiary institutions that are here in Ijebu land. During the course of my campaign, I found out that their teachers had not been paid for the excess of 36 month and I could not imagine why lecturers would not have been paid for 36 months. How would you begin to convince someone to come and invest in your state, when you owing teachers salary? How would you be taken seriously when they say that you had deducted pension contribution from civil servant, and you have not remitted them to PFAs. How would you be taken seriously if you are owing gratuities, so for us, we take good governance very seriously and we consider it as our No 1 Enabler.
Our next Enabler is the issue of Security. You cannot begin to ask someone to come and invest in your state if it’s one day of kidnap, another day of armed robbery and so on and so forth, so what we are committed to doing is that we are going to rebrand, resuscitate our security trust fund. I have spoken to a few heads of the private sector and two persons have actually agreed to chair the Trust fund, persons who are above CEO of 5 star companies that are domiciary in Ogun state. And it’s our belief that once we do that, the other participants who want to invest in that fund would have the confidence that if XYZ is the chairman of the trust fund definitely governance structure would be in place as to spending the appropriation of the funds in that fund. Today, I cannot begin to tell you what is not in place in terms of Security, but we are going to invest in ensuring that we have in place, proper Security architecture. We are going to ensure that we invest in mobile patrol vehicles, we are going to ensure that we invest in communication equipment. We are going to ensure that we invest in tracking equipment. The day before yesterday, I was privileged to be at the governor’s security meeting that we had with the president and we also had a regional one as well. And what dominated our discussions are things that are in the public form.
Today, you hear of Kidnapping, armed robbery here and there and most of you may not know that Ogun State is called Gateway for a reason and the reason is because we are, indeed, the gateway to many states in this country. You cannot leave Lagos and go to anywhere except fly out without passing through Ogun state. As a matter of fact, if you will have to fly out, you will have to fly through our air space. So if you are going from Lagos, you have to go through either Epe , or through Ikorodu or you come through the expressway. We are gateway to Republic of Benin, to Oyo, to Ondo, to Edo and so many other states. Because of that, we have leakages through our boundary so you find there are a lot of criminal activities going on across boundary lines. So, we have to ensure that we protect this state to ensure that we have adequate investment. So we are committed to ensuring that we have everything that our security agencies will need.
As a matter of fact, we have to further invest in ensuring that we put an Insurance in place for our security agents such that if any of them falls in the line of duty, their spouses could truly benefit from as an incentive to them. This has never been seen in the history of this state. Another item on our Enabler List is the issue of Infrastructure. The first on that is our road infrastructure. Otunba Gbenga Daniel mentioned that a few minutes ago. Yes, it’s nice for a state capital to be befitting, it’s nice for a state capital to look like a state capital, but at the same time, most of our people are rural and township dwellers. Consequently, in the course of our campaign, we realised the fact that the state of our rural and township roads are at best be described as deplorable. And that was what we realised was the biggest disconnect between the Governed and the Government and we made a pledge. We said to them, if you vote for us because then you must appreciate that it was very difficult for me to campaign against my party.
The incumbent government was a government of the APC and there I was the candidate of APC. It was a very unique situation that I found myself in. All I did then was to try and endear myself to our people and say look I am an APC governor who would be different. I would attend to your needs, I would only do that which I believe is important to you. And in line of that, we realised that we needed to pay attention to our rural and township road. And in addition to that is what we call our industrial roads.
Today, what we choose to do is to take off from where Otunba Daniel stopped when he was governor He had an agency called OGROMA It was Ogun State Road Maintenance Agency. We would resuscitate and rebrand OGROMA and that agency’s responsibility will be to immediately look at rehabilitating our rural and township roads. And the reason for that is very simple, that agency of government will allow us to bypass bureaucracy involved in awarding contracts to different parties. It would also allow us to strengthen and empower people as well where we will be able to train our people. What we did was we did an enumeration of all the rural and township roads across the length and breathe of the state as soon as we got elected. And my 3rd day in office I brought in the PS (Permanent secretary) Works He explained that what was left of OGROMA has been left to wither for the past 8 years.
We all sat in one room and I charged them, I said here is my list of rural and township roads I give you 24 hours to go and produce your list and let’s compare our roads. After we did that what we are doing is that, we are sending the list of those roads back to the local government, so that the local governments, can now tell us which of the roads is on their priority list. Because it’s not enough for us to identify and could prioritise the roads, but it’s important for us to have a bar in of those good roads that were actually catered to so I’m sure that by the end of this week, I will begin to get those feedbacks. So that we can begin that rehabilitation and we are going to have 6 Gangs that will be working simultaneously with one in Ijebu Ode, one in Sagamu, one in Abeokuta, one in Ilaro, one in Ifo and one in Otta. So that in a few weeks, we will begin to see traction and activities in your backyard and I must mention that another reason we intentionally decided to go this route so that we can stimulate the local economy. So, if the road passes through a particular local government in a particular town we will ensure that that catchments are the ones that are supplying us either the sand or gravel, the labour and so on and so forth. So, this is in terms of road infrastructure. We have also decided that we are going to have, also as Otunba Daniel mentioned, what we called Industrial hubs, which this administration has established a few . Some of them were actually Free trade zones. We will have industrial hubs across the state. These industrial hubs will have food infrastructure, they will have power, they will have water, and they will have drainage and so on. And the reason is very simple, these also fit into our enabler list. We are committed to making Ogun State the biggest economy in this country. Till date, Ogun State has benefitted from having the likes of Lafarage here, Cadbury is here, Nestle is here, Unilever is here and so on International Brewies is here also, but guess what, they are not here because anybody actually endeared them to come here. They are here by what we call the Push factor from Lagos. We are committed to changing that to what we call the pull factor. And the pull factor means we must find ways to endear them to come here. We must create that enabling environment for them to want to come here. And what are those things. Those things are measured by what we call the ranking of a particular community of a country in the global sitting. We want to ensure that we increase the ranking of Ogun State at the global level, and what are those, those indices needed. They are the ease with which at state can be accessed, the ease by which we can apply for land, the ease with which district can be set in that state and so on.
So, for us, we will would fully create a place that we call an Ogun State Investment Promotion Agency. I know that my predecessor has sent a Bill to the House of Assembly with respect to that, but this agency will be under my watch. It will be a different agency and we will have as chairman of that agency an Investment banker of repute because if you have an Investment Banker of repute as the chairman of your promotion Agency I’m glad that my friends and my colleagues here are all organised private sector people. I won’t have to tell that person what he needs to do to bring an investor to Ogun State. So, we will have industrial hubs that will have power, water and electricity. it will be easy for us to achieve that particularly power because Ogun state enjoys the criss-cross, That’s a pipeline carrying gas that comes from the Delta and goes all the way and become the West African pipeline in other part of west Africa.
So, we will locate this industrial hub along the gas pipeline, so that they can provide those hubs, Power. So when an industrial hub has Power, has water, has drainage, you can imagine that an investor is now coming here because we are pulling them not because they are being pushed. To date, we have 2 industrial hubs. We have one at the plant gate which is inter section Sagamu interchange and then we have the Agbara. When I was elected, I went to Agbara to meet the Organised private sector. Actually I went there before I was elected and I went there after I was elected. And one company there, which I will not mention its name said to me, Prince Abiodun, if you had not been elected as Governor of Ogun state we were going to leave this country because we have lost faith that there would be good governance in this state. Anyone who goes to Agbara today can attest to the very deplorable state of Agbara road infrastructure.
Yet Agbara remains our largest industrial hub in this country. It beats me how a Chief Executive of this state will not prioritise the development of Agbara road infrastructure. We have committed to that. So we believe that where we have power supplies in these industrial hubs the immediate catchment area will benefit from the excess power generated from those industrial hubs. What that transits to is that in distant future the city of Ogun State can begin to imagine that will begin to have stable electricity. So, these are my enablers. What are they enabling? They will be enabling economy transformation. How do I intend to achieve what I have described that. I believe that once I’m able to endear investors to come here, I will be able to employ many youths that are jobless today. i believe that itself we will begin to see that in term of individual prosperity.
We intend to also achieve what we called the Digital Transformation of this state and what does that mean? It means that we are going to be using the Computer system to ensure that things are better and efficiently and effectively managed in this state. We are going to ensure that in the next 12 month, you will be able to pick up your device and enjoy free wifi across this state and that is starting by the way, that process is starting in the next 2 weeks. We will see that someone will begin to dig.A particular company has committed to building The biggest data centre in Nigeria here in Ogun State and from that data centre they are going to begin to dig and lay fiber optics crossing the state, They are going to cross to Olabisi Onabanjo University, they are going to some of our markets, some of our hospital because until we achieve….. Ourselves we are not able to keep our records. I mean today you go to schools abroad and students are learning with Tablets. You can actually tell as a CEO you have a dashboard on your phone that tells you when the Head master reported to school. You can actually look to tell what curriculum is being taught to ensure that there is proper alignment between what they are teaching and what they are supposed to be teaching. There is what we call e library, we call this e learning. This goes across board. This association will be defined as that which has come and totally digitally transformed this state. In the elevation sector I recall that I had mentioned in my inaugural speech that yes we must declare a state of emergency in this sector.
For some of you who don’t know, Ogun State has the highest number of universities in this country, both private and public. We have the highest number of tertiary education centres in this country meaning that it’s not just universities but secondary school as well. Ogun State used to be like no 1 or no 2 in terms of performance in both local and international examination.
However today, the story is different. We have declined to like 35th position. This is the state where we had the first Professor of medicine. This is Awolowo’s state. In Baba Awolowo’s time, what did they have? They had only Agriculture and Taxes. Baba taxed farmers to ensure we had free education. Baba apportioned 42% of his budget to education. That is to underscore the importance of education. Baba did everything for us to have free education and that was how come some of us have not turned out so badly. But today Ogun state is almost last so I am declaring a state of emergency in the education sector. We are going to have an education summit. During our transition we invited the best of brain across all sector in particular, we have a very distinguished woman, Professor Osho who chaired that sector we are going to have a summit. They are going to come up with education master plan, we are going to start from the scratch. If for example we are able to get it right, from our kids that are just going to jss1 by the grace of God by the time I have done my second term, those kids will be entering university. That is the kind of fore planning that this thing entails. It’s not about doing things without having anyone in mind, it’s not in the quick fit.
So we are very committed to ensuring that our Education sector is restored to occupy its previous place. In the Agric sector, which is another pillar of ours, we are going to had which is another thing our Baba Awolowo invested in, we have plantations. Like one of our fathers said just now, Chief Ayanlaja said we have plantations across this state. Those plantations were noted either for Cocoa or for Rubber and so many but today none of them is working. I personally travelled since my elections to two places, I went to Mexico and I went to Israel and I saw for myself how they functioned
In Israel, they have this vast plantation and what they’ve done is that they’ve ensured that those plantations have facilities that actually keep the youth in them because if you have those plantation without enough facilities to keep the youth in them they are not going to stay there. It also means which of course predecessor has seen because that was the thinking behind the agro airport. We have the land, we have the people, so we have access, we have land, we have people, we have decided that what we are going to do is to have these plantations across the state and this plantations we would grow things across board from open farming to houses. We are confident that in twelve months we will we will begin to not only feed ourselves in Ogun State but begin to export food outside this state. And while doing that we would have employed a lot of our youths. In the area of health care which is another pillar, today I came late because I decided to visit the Olaabisi Onabanjo teaching hospital.
On Thursday, in line with my meeting with the Sector heads I met with the Perm sec Health, the Chief Medical Director of Olabisi Onabanjo Teaching Hospital and members of the Hospital board. By the time they were half way through their presentation, I was almost in a state of depression. The numbers were not adding up, in terms of the number Consultants, doctors, resident doctors and nurses, nursing assistant, specialist, equipment so I decided that today I was going to pay them a surprise visit. So I went there this morning and I want to enjoin some of you because you are the creme of the society. it’s so easy for us to wake up in the morning, step out of our lovely bedroom, to our lovely living room, to our lovely vehicles, to our lovely private hospitals, I want to enjoin each one of you to take time and just drive anyone of our general or particularly because we are in Ijebu visit this hospital that is meant to be the teaching hospital of our Olabisi Onabanjo University. This hospital at a point in time had full accreditation. Olabisi Onabanjo University Teaching hospital at a point in time was ranked the first and best teaching hospital in this country. Till date they’ve lost all accreditation. All. The mortuary, the freezers are not working, the theaters are in a shambles The wards, the state of the hospital is not describable and yet an administration commenced and embarked on the building of an a white elephant projects called a 250-bed hospital. While a teaching hospital of that nature had sung to that level. And this is my first week in office. These are every good question I like to ask. How did we get here?
So we’ve looked at the Health sector and said we must separate the primary health sector from the secondary health sector. The primary health care sector of it, we have committed to ensure that we have a befitting primary health centre, one per ward. We have 236 wards in Ogun state. This administration is committed to having a befitting Primary Health Centre per ward so very soon you will begin to see us ensuring that we make do of that we make do on that promise. We believe that if our people can go there and the issue of malaria, typhoid, diabetics, high blood pressure would be dealt with. If those kind of things are dealt with then you will have fewer number of people going to the secondary health care centre we have also said that the secondary health care centre that we have issued to other districts will turn one into a centre of excellence so we have a centre of excellence in a district. In fact, every one can enjoy you know healthcare like we go anywhere in the world. But what we would do is those centre of excellence will be known for one area of medicine. So, at least you will know where to go to, we are committed to this and again people will ask me where are you going to get the money to do all this. If you go back to my vision that says we will do PPP. Looking to people like you, most of you have deep pockets in this room, and im glad that most of you here are from Ogun State.
One thing you are sure of is that I am commited to Transparency. Those of you who know me know that I’ve not become governor because I want to enrich myself. So I think there is this Trust that if you invest in Ogun state, it would be worthwhile investment. We are going to have what we call a Government delivery unit. It was first introduced by Tony Blair. The government enabling unit is that unit of government whose responsibility is ensuring that they monitor and evaluate the performance of the functions and the aims and objectives of the government. We are going to have that Delivery unit that will be run by government and one of the top consulting firms. Because it’s not enough for us to say were going to do ABCDE and deploying government funds to it, it is important for us to, ensure that we are, indeed, achieving that objective.
Before I forget, I just remembered that in the educational sector when the Perm Sec, Education came to give me the report on their sector on Monday, the Perm Sec, Education, the Supeb guys, I wanted to know how many primary schools we have, and what their state was And then they said to me that there were some schools where pupils actually sit on the floor. The guy said it very casually that the pupils in some school sit on the floor. I had to stop for confirmation of what he said and he confirmed to me that there were many schools that their pupils actually sit on the floor.
Some sit on windows and some on the floor. He also confirmed that some of those schools do not have roofs and when they have exams like external exams, there are times they have to shut down half of the school so they can move desks and chairs to another part of the school so they can sit and write those exams.
You know some of these things I’m sure that most of you cannot begin to address your mind to it and so did I so we are committed to ensuring that under my watch we build one befitting primary school per ward so that is at the minimum 236 befitting primary school, good flooring, good ventilation, good roof, desk, chairs so that this kind of horror stories can be things of the past. These are my 4 pillars: Economic transformation, Education, agriculture, Health care, but at the same time there are other areas that we are going to focus on like Sports, Culture and Tourism I already said we are going to have a Creative art and entertainment village. It will be somewhere along the Lagos-Ibadan expressway. I am sure you can imagine what that is. It will be a place where our creative talents, our youth, and we have a lot of them in this state, can come and also encourage other youth like themselves who do not wish to pursue education further, who maybe want to become DJs, musicians, and actress and so on This village will have accommodation where you can leave Lagos and come over the weekend to watch movies, plays and things like that. In the area of Sports, what Otunba Daniel said, I think kabiyesi, has also been whispering to me I had actually being there myself. The stadium in Ijebu Ode that was named after Otunba Mike Adenuga.
Today, that stadium does not have any roofing sheet. This is a stadium that was built world class, that somebody was committed to running it and he was, indeed, running it and because of that it was, indeed named after him. But the administrator before me decided that he was going to rebrand the stadium and remove the person’s name. And he further denied that person from taking over that responsibility. So, that stadium today is a shadow of itself. Ogun state among other things under my watch will be a state that will be defined by Sports. We are going to promote Sports here. I’ve said that we are going to take the Ministry of Sports away from the Ministry of Education I’m going to create what we call Ogun State Sport, Management Agency to replace the Sport Commission and I’ve already got an Ogun State indigene, who owns a football club in Europe. He has accepted to be the Chairman of that Commission.
Once again I want to thank you for this opportunity because usually, I don’t talk for this long. But I’m among my brothers who have entrusted me with this mandate. I remember when I went and spoke and met with members of the Heritage club and they gave me that document and said Dapo take this and next to your bible this should be your next important document I took that document to heart, I read it, I preached it.
Otunba Gbenga Daniel I must say I didnt tell you that I went through the length and breadth of your Hand Over note, I went through it and it was a well prepared document, I must say that. I read it and I must say to you that the document has impacted me so I feel that the only way, I can show appreciation to Ijebu Heritage Group is to share with them how much I had benefitted from that document that they gave me that day when I met with them. I want to thank them for the confidence they’ve had in me. My prayer and request from you this afternoon is to continue to lift me up in prayers. My wife will tell you these days I come home so grouchy, not smiling ,near depressed because all I hear from morning till night are very big challenges and tales of woes. I am going to be just and fair, I will ensure that no part of this state is developed at the expense of another part. But I want to explain that very carefully. You know there is something in engineering the call the Zero level, I am sure some people can relate to that, beyond Zero is minus. When you talk about fairness it means that everybody is at Zero but if some other parts are at minus before we will have to bring them back to Zero ‘abi be ko’. I will not say more than that ‘abi se oro mi se o ye wa. We know the state of our township roads in Ijebu Ode. By the way, I was meant to leave Sagamu today and actually visit our township roads here but by the time I was done in Sagamu and I dint expect that I would take such a long time it was time to come here so I might have to come back to Ijebu ode either tomorrow or the day after tomorrow so I can see the state of the township roads myself, be rest assured that we will bring ourselves back to zero level first and ensure that going from there. I want to thank you for allowing me to bore you this afternoon. Continue to lift me up in prayers and pray that God will help me to achieve all this objectives. Thank you very much and have a lovely afternoon.
Gov. Dapo Abiodun’s Speech at The IJEBU Heritage Group Reception For Him at The Awujale’s Palace.