The day dawned warm and dry, a typical January morning. The previous night, the governor had stayed awake almost all night, attending to one official matter or the other. Although it was yet to be 8.00 o’clock that morning, the car parks at the Government House at Oke-Igbein, Abeokuta, were already filled with cars belonging to commissioners, personal aides and sundry clients, there to see the governor.
At 8:35a.m., SIA, as Senator Ibikunle Amosun has come to be known, walked down from his living room. It looked rather obvious that the governor had had little sleep the night before. As he entered one of the lounges downstairs, his Chief of Staff, Chief Tolu Odebiyi, clutching some files, followed him. Several minutes later, Odebiyi came out and drove off. Another personal aide entered, then another state commissioner and another, until the governor had attended to everyone who was there to see him. At 9:45a.m., SIA drove off to his office at Oke- Mosan, Abeokuta.
As he entered his office, he glanced at the day’s manifest. It contained several assignments that he must attend to, including the commissioning of a rural electrification project, and a crucial meeting with members of the Ogun State House of Assembly.
By the time Governor Amosun was through with the last assignment in the manifest, it was already 8 in the evening. Back at the Government House, a horde of people milled around waiting to see their governor. Immediately he drove in, Amosun walked down to the lounge again and began to attend to people. He is very easy to access by both the low and the high in Ogun State.
That day is very typical of the hectic work schedule of the workaholic Governor of Ogun State. For Amosun, there is no difference between day and night, weekends and public holidays, as far as public service goes. When he first assumed office on May 29, 2011, he promised to carry out the five cardinal programmes of: Affordable Qualitative Education; Efficient Health Care Delivery; Agricultural Production and Industrialization; Affordable Housing and Urban Renewal; Rural and Infrastructural Development and Employment Generation. Indeed, these programmes could be described as the major reasons for the existence of a good government.
Amosun was under no illusion about the enormity of some of these challenges. He was prepared to face and tackle them successfully with the solid support of the enterprising, vibrant and good people of Ogun State, and above all, with the help of the living God of infinite powers. From 2011 till date, there have been different investments committed to the state’s economy in many sectors.
From manufacturing to agro-allied industries, real estate, banking, oil and gas, telecommunications, and services among others, the combined inflows into the state economy in the forms of capacity expansion, or greenfield investments run into about N1.5 trillion. According to the 2014 World Bank Report on Doing Business in Nigeria, Ogun State was listed as one of the five most improved states in the country.
The same World Bank in its 2008 and 2010 Reports had ranked the state as one of the lowest performers among the 36 states in Nigeria. No doubt, this is a significant progress.
Ogun State, under the leadership of Amosun, has gradually emerged as the industrial capital of Nigeria. Its peaceful ambience, rich human and natural resources and location around major markets within and outside Nigeria make it the first choice for local and foreign investors. In picking his cabinet, Amosun proved that he is a real leader, as well as a statesman.
All his appointees are acclaimed professionals, or leaders in their right. A particularly remarkable thing about most of the appointments is their broad-based nature, reflecting the political, religious, geographical and cultural diversity of the state.
Commissioners and other political appointments were made even from towns or local governments which voted against the governor, a practice that is not common in Nigeria.
More women have been appointed as Commissioners, Senior Consultants, Special Advisers, Consultants, Senior Special Assistants, Special Assistants, Managing Directors and General Managers.
That had never been the case in the state or any state in Nigeria. Amosun maintains the same cordial relationship based on mutual respect with the other arms of the government – the legislature and the judiciary. Although, the governor has repeatedly remarked that his contributions to the development of Ogun State should not be measured in roads, houses, industries and other physical developments directly attributable to the state government, he has indeed built and maintained many kilometres of roads, constructed houses, provided many social and economic infrastructures.
All these achievements are well known to the people of Ogun State. Amosun has been giving tremendous support and inspiration to the entire Ogun State public service since his assumption of the mantle of governance of the state in May 2011.
In spite of all odds, the Ogun State public service has continued to soar higher, thereby occupying a preeminent position, among the comity of public services in Nigeria. This is a feat that has been boosted by the enabling environment fostered by Amosun.
The welfare of the workers – public servants – has been paramount to Amosun’s government. To demonstrate its commitment to the welfare of the workers, Ogun was one of the first states to implement the new minimum wage across board in Nigeria.
The state had set the base at N18,250 which is more than the national minimum wage. It also ensures timely payment of workers’ salaries. Indeed, Ogun is 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’ salaries.
On its part, Ogun has been paying salaries as and when due. The Amosun government has been appreciating the invaluable contributions of its workforce, who have been the reliable, dependable and ever-supportive landlords in the past seven years.
No doubt, they are the tower of the strength of the government, and together they shall continue to lift Ogun State to its enviable heights among the comity of states in Nigeria, and indeed, the entire world.
The past seven years in Ogun State have been very eventful. Amosun is harnessing the efforts and tapping the potentials of a highly motivated people to build a state poised to prove the capability of the black man. His good nature, honesty and accommodating disposition have endeared him to his people.
• Durojaiye is Amosun’s Special Adviser on Information & Strategy.
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