He came into office amid ceaseless assaults by a violent Establishment. He had no handover notes. But he had an agenda, a steely resolve, and a burning passion to transform the Ogun environment. Today, five years on, even the most cynical observer would admit that the Iperu-born prince and boardroom genius has turned the Gateway State around, infused a climate of excitement into governance and state management, building joy and hope for the future in the populace. This is remarkable in a country long hobbled by politicians’ failed promises.

Perhaps the most salient aspect of Abioduns’ leadership is the climate of peace actively fostered in the state. Peace pervades the length and breadth of the land because the Sheriff in charge is determined to leave a lasting legacy of life-changing projects behind, and would not be drawn into political brawls even when a predecessor, taking advantage of the calm in the land, tours the senatorial districts, staging hate campaigns. That is not by accident. Abiodun is a transformational leader, and transformational leaders, as the leadership expert and presidential biographer James MacGregor Burns tells us, are those who, in company with their followers, advance to a higher level of morals and motivation. The fact cannot be disputed that through the strength of their vision and personality, transformational leaders inspire their followers to a higher level of intellectual stimulation, and hence social change.

Against this backdrop, Ogun being rated as Nigeria’s most peaceful state comes as no surprise. People tend to copy what they see their leaders doing. Ogun people have not forgotten the highly instructive incident that took place shortly after their Governor assumed office. Some pastors of the RCCG had been kidnapped while he was away in Abuja on official business. Given the viciousness of the outlaws, hope was low regarding their rescue. But the Governor simply requested for and obtained helicopters for aerial surveillance of the target area, and all the clergymen were rescued unhurt. Jubilations erupted in many places…

The Abiodun administration initiated the Security Trust Fund, rallying stakeholders to contribute to the fight against crime. It procured over 100 patrol vans, motorcycles, walkie-talkies, and other security equipment to enhance the operational efficiency of security agencies. Then came an additional 25 patrol vans and surveillance drones in collaboration with Lagos and Oyo States to monitor activities along the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway. And then came Amotekun, deployed at flashpoints…

Because Ogun is calm, the strides in agriculture, the mainstay of the Nigerian economic, have been simply phenomenal. Through the Anchor Borrowers Programme, the Abiodun administration has revolutionized youth involvement in agriculture. It created the Ogun State Investment Promotion Agency (OGUNIPA) and the Ogun State Business Executive Council (OGUNBEC) to make the Gateway State the destination of choice for investors. The administration empowered thousands of farmers through training, capacity building and provision of farming inputs, and Ogun is now a leading producer of rice, maize, and cassava in Nigeria. The story cannot be different with Abiodun’s heavy investment in the development of agricultural infrastructure, including irrigation systems, farm roads, and storage facilities.

When a government fosters partnerships with private sector players, attracting investments and driving growth; implements initiatives to improve livestock production, including the distribution of breeding stock, veterinary support, and establishment of grazing reserves, the result is bound to be refreshing.

The Abiodun administration has strengthened extension services, providing farmers with access to expert advice, technology, and best practices to improve their productivity and efficiency. It has supported farmers to produce high-quality products and linked them to markets and processors. It has created thousands of jobs in the agricultural sector, having developed and implemented policies like the Ogun State Agricultural Policy and the Ogun State Livestock Development Policy. There is no space to detail the government’s empowerment of farmers with solar pump machines; the N50 million Ijebu Development Initiative for Poverty Reduction (Eriwe) meant to develop the fish subsector in the state; the empowerment of over 40,000 agripreneurs in cassava cultivation, or the distribution of motorcycles to extension agents to reach farmers in remote areas across the state.

In education, the abolition of all levies spiked enrolment in primary schools, even as the government adopted a school per ward for development as a model school. The promotion of teachers and equipment of schools and higher institutions and revolution of the transcript processing system has restored dignity to Ogun schools. And among the giant strides of the Abiodun administration, the Gateway International Airport, an agro-cargo facility situated in Remo North, has garnered global attention, with dignitaries and investors expressing interest in its immense socio-economic benefits. It will generate approximately 50,000 direct and indirect jobs. Fittingly, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has approved the Special Agro-Cargo Processing Zone as a Free Trade Zone. Actually, what is on the ground is an airport city, with an agricultural processing zone located close by. Exporters of farming produce are about to experience an absolute windfall.

Although the state of federal roads—and they are so many—in the state presented challenges during Abiodun’s first term, the story is fast changing. Go to Ota and see things for yourself. In any case, listing the roads constructed by the Abiodun administration is a daunting exercise. Infrastructure is the first pillar of the ISEYA mantra but accorded it a top priority attention in the scheme of programmes being executed. Notable among these roads already completed are the 3.41km Olomore Sanni Road,0.9km Elega Mokola Bridge Entrance,2km Idi -Aba Elite,Oke Lantoro Road,1.62km Ijaiye-Oke Ejigbo-Iporo Ake Road,7.8km Obantoko Road(Fajol America junction-Unity Estate Gbonagun,5.7km Somorin-Kemta Idi -Aba Road,42km Abeokuta Sagamu Expressway,3km Panseke Adigbe Road,6.6km Siun Owode Road,2.35km Arepo Road,8km Revised s Scope Mowe Ofada Road,1.5km Kuforiji Olubi Quarry Road Adigbe and 1.85km Iyana Oloke junction to Mapoly School Gate. Then we have the 3.1km Ikoritameje Adenrele/Olose Titun Vespa Road,2.4km Olusegun Osoba Toyin Agbado Road,1.5km construction of Sango Ota -Oke -Aro-Ojodu Abiodun Road Lagos End(Yakoyo to Mr Bigg),2.0km Inner Roads,Itori Junction Road, 4km Oba Erinwole Road,Sagamu,13km Sagamu -Ode Lemo Road,3km Idarika Street Road,8km Orile Oko Road,3km Awujale Road,Stadium and Oke Aje,1.2km Ogbagba Street, Ijebu Ode, etc. The Atan-Lusada-Agbara roads are a marvel. Housing estates covering different strata of society complement the good roads.

Enter the health sector, a sector for which even the Federal Government acknowledged Ogun’s exemplary status during the COVID-19 pandemic. We are talking of an administration that inaugurated State Emergency Medical Treatment Committee to enhance the Ambulance and Emergency Service delivery, conducted training for health workers on comprehensive screening for newborns to tackle sickle cell disease and secured, for the first time in 45 years, full accreditation and upgrade of the Ogun State Schools of Nursing and Midwifery to collegiate status. We are talking about an administration that targeted 1.4m school-age children as change agents, promoted partnerships across the three tiers of the health sector, introduced free Covid-19 rapid testing of residents in health facilities, inaugurated Sexual Therapy and Assaults Referral Center in Olabisi Onabanjo University Teaching Hospital (OOUTH), the Family Planning Center at the State Hospital, Ijebu-Ode, and distributed over 25 Tricycle Ambulances to rural areas.

The administration upgraded and increased the fleet of Ogun State Ambulance and Emergency Services from four vehicles inherited to 26 in two years, introduced 24-hours Ambulance and Emergency Services across the 20 LGAs, carried out free eye surgeries, contained cholera outbreaks, distributed 3.7m insecticide treated nets, commissioned two molecular laboratories to boost the State’s testing capacity for COVID-19 and other epidemiological diseases, and contained COVID-19 with less low fatalities. Have you been to the Clinical Skills Development Laboratory at the School of Midwifery, Abeokuta? It is the work of the same government that iincreased ambulance fleet from 6 to 30 to cater for emergencies, distributed ultrasound machines to facilities across the state, commenced 24-hour ambulance service, inoculated students against cervical cancer established Ambulance Points in all the nine federal constituencies.

With Abiodun’s strategic foresight, Ogun can look towards the future with hope. Long before the FG removed subsidy on fuel, Abiodun initiated CNG-run vehicles, tricycles and motorcycles in the state. Long before the economic downturn that attended subsidy removal came, he floated the Ogun-Kebbi Joint Commission on rice production. Ogun, as attested to by multiple awards, including:

• Best State in ICT Penetration and Adoption by the National Council on Communication and Digital Economy

• Best State in ICT Infrastructure Development also by the National Council on Communication and Digital Economy

• Best State Governor with the Most Improved State in Security Infrastructure by Business Day Newspaper

• Best Governor in Education by the National Parent-Teacher Association of Nigeria

• Best Governor in Agriculture by the Nigerian Agriculture Awards

• Best Governor in Housing Delivery by the Nigerian Housing Awards

• Best State Governor with the Most Improved State in Agriculture and Economic Empowerment by Business Day Newspaper

Outstanding Political Brand Personality of the Year by Marketing Edge Summit and Awards Best Governor in Infrastructure in the South West by the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) B zone.

Best Governor in Industrial Revolution at the Award of Excellence in Public Service by President Muhammadu Buhari

2023 “Governor of the Year” Award by Sun Newspapers

2023 “Man of the Year” Award by Silverbird Television and the Daily Independent Governor of the Year award 2023 in Nigeria’s ICT hub. The technology-driven state is poised for greater heights. That is the story of the state under Dapo Abiodun.

Akinmade is Special Adviser on Media and Communications to the Governor of Ogun State.

Kayode Akinmade: Dapo Abiodun: After five phenomenal years, three glorious years beckon

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