With barely two years in office, Prince Dapo Abiodun is said to be a man with a vision to redefine Ogun State in his time.
A media consultant to the Governor, Mr. Ifekayode Akinbode revealed that even the sky cannot limit Prince Dapo Abiodun, who he said has not abandoned any of the projects he inherited from his predecessor.
While advising his colleagues in the media to be objective in their reports, Akinbode stressed that the Gateway State always comes first in all areas of human endeavours in the country.
Akinbode speaks exclusively with Ogun News Express’ Habeebat Ajayi, in this interview.
How would you Access Ogun State @ 45 now and then?
Well, it’s been a mixture of good and bad just like even every human life’s. But I will say that it’s been a tremendous journey for Ogun State since it’s creation by General Muritala Muhammad Administration in 1976. Since then, it has been massive development, challenging and most specifically we should commend the past leaders of Ogun State from the military rulers to those have led us democratically. We should salute vintage legend of journalism, who died years back the late Victor Olabisi Onabanjo aka Ayekooto, who was elected governor in 1979 and was re-elected in 1983. But his government was truncated by the military ruler then, General Muhammadu Buhari. Also a veteran journalist, and politician, Chief Olusegun Osoba, who was in power in 1992/1993. Osoba was also in power from 1999 to 2003. I will not also forget a mechanical engineer of note, Otunba Gbenga Daniel, who governed the state from 2003 to 2011. I will not forget his successor, who is an accountant, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, who was in power from 2011 to 2019. Now, we have our own inimitable and indefatigable, statute businessman, Prince Dapo Abiodun (MFR)
All of them have done well in piloting the affairs of the Gateway State, which has been very peaceful. We are known for everything first in life from education to commerce, economy, peace keeping, police, academic and in everything we have been the first and we will always be the first.
So, I am very proud to be a bonafide son of Ibara, Abeokuta In Ogun State and I will say that it has been always good.
What were the challenges that were faced in those days?
Yeah, predominantly we were carved out of the old Western Region and then such things brought a lot of challenges. Let me again commend the first civilian governor of the state, Chief Victor Olabisi Onabanjo. He did a lot of things such as Ogun State Television, Ogun State Broadcasting Corporation, Ogun State Polytechnic and Ogun State University, now Olabisi Onabanjo University Ago iwoye. They put a lot of things in place and we all know Ogun State as a predominant of civil service state. It was the government of former governor, Otunba Gbenga Daniel who, re-defined governance and created a business fiction into governance that is what they tagged then as”Awakening the sleeping Giant.”
In terms of infrastructural development in the rural areas Governor Ibikunle Amosun did his best, in terms of rural advancement development, Aremo Olusegun Osoba also did his best. In terms of taking government to the people, you will say it’s Prince Dapo Abiodun.
He created a new corporate approach to governance that government should represent a collective aspiration of the mass of the people and that any project that must be executed must have economic value to the people. It is not about waking up and thinking the people needs water whereas it is road they need.
And then he redefined governance, most of the links roads in Ogun State he has done them. Go to Fajoh and other places, he has done them, we call them link roads, there are others that would bring immense economic growth to the state, Ijebu-Ode Epe Road that’s were Dangote Refinery is located. Everyone in that axis is now in money and Ogun State is going to be better for it. Go to Shagamu-Abeokuta interchange and see the massive development in that road. That’s what a visionary, focused government should do. Governor Dapo Abiodun has barely spent two years in office and he has made a mark that I will call indelible and he has also reorganized the civil service in the state. Every worker gets paid before 27 of every month that is what a serious government is all about.
Look at Education, it was almost in comatose before Governor Dapo came into government, but today go to Olabisi Onabanjo University, students graduate every year unlike when they pilled up in the years past. Also in Moshood Abiola Polytechnic (Mapoly), the previous government, I their own wisdom almost destroyed it.
The governor came on board and redifined it, today they are doing well. Go to Tai Solar in University of Education in Ijebu-Ode, it was in complete comatose, today they are graduating every year and it functioning well. I can begin to count and count. Go to our state hospitals they are functioning, the teaching hospital is also functioning and peace has returned there.
Don’t forget during #EndSARS Protests, there were casualties in other states, but in Ogun State, under Prince Dapo Abiodun, he managed it and we have no or minimal crises in the state. That is what I call corporate affairs in leadership.
How would you describe this administration as a government concerning the continuation of the projects of his predecessor?
I will describe him as “Omoluabi,” an Omoluabi is someone who will never engage in political bitterness or what I call political vendetta. Ogun State belongs to all of us and those projects were executed with taxpayers money, either they abandoned or completed. The Governor said that no project will be left unattended to. Go to Oke Mosan, Kuto and other road projects that were left behind or abandoned by the last administration, he has been doing them because they belong to Ogun State people and they are the ones that will use them. So, he doesn’t derive pleasure in abandoning the! because his predecessor did them. Even if it’s an opposition party, I know Governor Abiodun would have continued the projects.
He is a man who is full of mercy, he has the fear of God, milk of human kindness, a man, who is determined to do more for the people of Ogun State and beyond.
How do you think the government can improve the socioeconomic development of the state?
I have just enumerated them, when you do projects that have direct impact on the people, there is what they call cascading down. To the ordinary people, a government should represent a collective aspiration of the people. For example, I told you about the connecting roads, those doing the roads are ordinary people of the state. When they get there, they buy the granite, and cement from the people and the economy of the state is booming. People that are selling planks, nails are making money because the contractors buy from them. He also ensures that every Friday all of us in Ogun State put on ‘Adire’ (tie and dye) clothe. We know that Egba is known for ‘Adire,’ it is also booming the economy of the state.
He’s a man who is coming from the private sector background, he understands how it works, so his own agenda is “the people first”and any project or policy is people centered.
As a consultant to Governor Dapo Abiodun on media how do you think the media can be used to improve this administration?
You see the challenge of some of us, you and I who are media practitioners is that we do not put on our touch light where necessary. There is what they call developmental journalism, which essentially focuses on the ability of the people in power to show that they are actually elected to work for the people. But unfortunately because of brown envelope, we don’t do the needful, we don’t need have to wait for people to call us. Even those that are not doing well we are supposed to report it and that would engender proper development. We don’t need to probe anybody, that is the work of the Governor. What I am doing is to tell the world what we are doing, though they are seeing it.
We need to partner with the media to showcase the work of the government, anybody who is into the affairs of the government should know that without the media you will be groping in the dark.
But I’m also calling on my colleagues that we should continue to showcase what is good and make comment about what is not good
What is your advice to Ogun citizens?
Ogun State is known as a model state, we are first in everything. Let us shun violence, we should continue to be the best, let us continue to serve God and pray for our leader, especially our Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun and pray for peace in our country. Ogun State will prosper and Nigeria will be peaceful.