The Nation (Nigeria)
Akeredolu’s quest to redeem Ondo
GOVERNOR Oluwarotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State has vowed that nothing will stop him from leaving the state better than he met it. He has assured that he would not leave any uncompleted project for his successor. He believed his vision for Ondo State would be achieved through the REDEEMED agenda. The REDEEMED agenda, according to Governor Akeredolu, is the developmental policy thrust of his second term. It focused on eight key areas of development such as Rural and Agricultural Development; Educational and Human Capital Development; Development through massive infrastructure; Efficient service delivery, Development and Policy Implementation; Effective Health care and Social Welfare Services; Maintenance of law and order for adequate security; Energy, Mining and Sustainable Industries; Digital Revolution and Entrepreneurship.
Akeredolu said the REDEEMED agenda would guide the conduct of government business as it was aligned with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGS). Political appointees, Permanent Secretaries, Accounting Officers and Council Chairmen have been inducted to key into the eight-point agenda.
To demonstrate that he has set the REDEEMED agenda in motion, Governor Akeredolu celebrated his first 100 days in office in his second term for two weeks. During the two weeks, he inaugurated several projects and unveiled several programmes in agriculture, health care, youths development, social welfare amongst others.
The Secretary to the Ondo State Government and Chairman of the 100 Days celebration Committee, Princess Oladunni Odu, said some of the projects were awarded and complet- ed within the 100 days while others were started in the first term of Akeredolu.
The 100 days celebration began with the disbursement of bursary and scholarships to students. A total of 7,449 students of Ondo State origin in Nigeria tertiary institutions benefitted from the bursary and scholarships. Governor Akeredolu had ear- marked the sum of N209m in the 2021 budget for the payment of scholarships and bursary award. Categories of students that benefitted from the bursary and scholarships included Ondo State students in the Nigerian Law Schools, medical students at the clinical stages in their medical studies and students with physical disa- bilities.
Water projects tagged the Kamomi Aketi Accelerated Water Scheme were commissioned in communities like Iborobo-akoko, Ilutitun, Aratunsi, Bamikemo, Owo, Ogbagi Akoko, Idoani, Oba Akoko and Okeigbo.
Hybrid mini-grid electricity projects were inaugurated in communities that have never been connect- ed to the national grid. Such communities that benefitted were Ugbonla, Lomileji, Oke Ala and Elefeson. Ru- ral roads were inaugurated in Akure, Owo, Ifon and Akoko areas.
The Acting Managing Director, Ondo State Power Company (OSPC), Williams Abe, said the choice of hybrid mini grid power plant was because it was discovered that it would be impossible for existing power distribution company to extend power supply to all parts of the state.
He said: "The governor saw the need to rescue the state from the Discos which had to a great extent slowed down economic development of the state."
The village head of Lemiloju, Chief Jimoh Akinuoju, the Oloja of Lemiloju community, described the power project as an everlasting gift for the community.
He said: "Since the completion of installation of the power plant, we have been enjoying constant power supply. Our children can now study at night while we can now preserve our perishable farm produce in our freezers.
"We now drink real ice cold water, beer and soft drinks which we only experienced when we go to Ondo City once a while.
"Some of us have now started purchasing electrical appliances and the noise from power generating sets has now become a thing of the past in our community."
Communities where rural roads were commissioned included Owo, Omola, Akure, Ifon, Ijakpo estate and Araromi-obu township roads.
Besides the roads, seven communities were given grants as support for some self projects such as construction of slaughter slab in Akungba Akoko, repair of Jigbokin market at Odode Idanre, repair work at police post, Ugbonla Ilaje rehabilitation/ bridge construction at Ifesowapo Igoba, improvement of facilities at Community Grammar school Adaja Odigbo, construction of Civic center at Igorisa community Ode-aye and the building of Lipanu/atunranse wooden footbridge Irele.
However, what attracted the opposition criticism was the groundbreaking ceremony for the building of a new Governor's lodge estimated at a cost of N2bn. The new lodge to be built on a 2000 square meters of land, according to Governor Akeredolu, would have a swimming pool, Banquet Hall for about 250 guests, Basement Parking, Indoor and Out- door Kitchen, Sitting Lounge, Atrium Sitting Room, Bedrooms as well as Information Communication Tech- nology (ICT) software and gadgets.
Akeredolu explained that he refused to stay in the multi-billionaire naira governor's lodge built by former Governor Olusegun Mimiko because of structural defects and that the former lodge used by other former Governors was termites infected.
According to him, "this state deserves a Governor Lodge to be a pride to all of us. When Mimiko was handing over, he mentioned the defects to me and promised to fix them but he
"I called my engineer to look at it and I was told to either bring down the building or part of it. We all knew we are going to need a new Governor Lodge.
"What we had was a modest threeroom duplex built by the colonial officers. It was termites infested. It was not suited for anybody to live. My consultant said I should not attempt to remodel it.
"Those who want to build for us today are qualified building experts. We build a government lodge of a status befitting of the Governor of Ondo State."
In the area of job creation, the Ondo State Security Network code- named Amotekun Corps got a boost in the first 100 days as 503 personnel were recruited into the corps even as an additional 20 patrol vehicles, a new administrative office and communication gadgets were unveiled. A total of 1,200 teachers that were re- cruited got their appointment and posting letters to their various schools. An ultra-modern dutchman piggery with supporting facilities was commissioned at Ilutoro, Akure North local government. The facility is to accentuate the different economic benefits in pig production and processing as well as create over 2500 jobs. Governor Akeredolu said the project was to help save millions of naira spent weekly on beef consumption, in form of capital flight.
Akeredolu also launched the Red Gold project is otherwise known as the Ondo State Oil Palm Development Initiative which is targeted at producing 320,000MT of oil palm produce annually.
He said the plan was to enlarge and increase the existing four major players in the oil palm industry in the state through the provision of land and other political support. Also, an Oil Palm City was being planned to cover 100,000 hectares of land. Ak- eredolu said three major players namely JB Farms Limited, Tropical Palm Limited and Sudit and Chemi- cal Oils Limited were allocated a total landmass of 25,000 hectares to be developed into Oil Palm Plantations within the State.
Akeredolu said: "We shall not relent in our efforts to provide a unique opportunity to reduce the hardship being experienced by our people and simultaneously planning for medi- um and long-term solutions for our economic growth and development.
“One of the key points of our REDEEMED agenda is Digital Revolution and Entrepreneurship Development to alleviate poverty among the citizenry of the State through wealth creation. I am glad to say that many of the notable intervention programmes of our administration are already being felt in the sector.”
But State Chairman of the Ondo PDP, Hon Fatai Adams, said the people of the state was being cajoled through a well-oiled and orchestrated propaganda machinery, into believing that the government is working in their interest.
Fatai, who decried the building of a new governor's lodge, said it was ridiculous and evident that Governor Akeredolu has lost direction by the action when there are backlogs of unpaid salaries of workers and resignation of 105 medical doctors from the employment of the state government.
He said Ondo State was the destination for medical tourism in the Southwest region under the PDP administration.
He said: "Has the lodge built by Mimiko in 2013 become so uninhabitable such that a new one is inevitable in this perilous time?
"Is it proper or reasonable for a government to embark on a 2-billion naira project that will only serve very few individuals, when millions of people are languishing in despicable penury and dying without basic healthcare service delivery?
"We wish to assure the people of Ondo State that the good times they once savoured under the PDP Administration are almost here again. We shall not give up or be overwhelmed by the suffering and hopelessness foisted on us by the APC Government, because we can already see light at the end of the tunnel.
"If a society is not fully informed of the atrocious and pernicious nature of the party in government, the people may always be cajoled or beguiled through a well-oiled and orchestrated propaganda machinery, into believing that the government is working in the interest of the people."
Commissioner of Information and Orientation Donald Ojogo said the new lodge would not affect payment of salaries.
However, 2024 will be judgment time by the people of Ondo State if they have been actually REDEEMED.
Before the current amnesty boss came on board, certain things went so wrong that when they talked about the amnesty programme, some of us would say that the programme had failed.