FOR OGUN STATE, LIFE BEGINS @40
The attention of the entire nation, nay the world over will once again be shifted to Ogun State come February 2016 as the state gradually inches towards her 40th anniversary of creation, which from all indications will be a grand slam.
Forty years in the life of a human being is usually significant in the sense that it is seen as a year of fulfilment and consolidation. Life begins at forty as the old aphorism implies simply means a human phenomenon at that material age ought to have overcome the teething problems associated with growing up and as such begin a new journey of fulfilment altogether. For Ogun State just like an accomplished human element, life indeed begins at forty. This is owing to the spate of developmental programmes implemented by the Senator Ibikunle Amosun –led administration who has undoubtedly laid a firm foundation for the prosperity of the state.
Down memory lane, Ogun State was created on February 3, 1976 from the former Western States with Abeokuta as the state capital. The four divisions of the state include what is now reduced to the acronym (RIYE), meaning Remo, Ijebu, Yewa and Egba.
Ogun State has a lot of landmark that can be associated with it, as it has produced many and most locally and internationally renowned individual, leaders, professionals, politicians and other men of repute Nigeria is always proud of. The list include, Chief Obafemi Awolowo of blessed memory, Late Chief Kasimawo Olawale Abiola, former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, former Head of Interim National Government, Chief Ernest Sonekan, retired General Oladipo Diya, Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti, Professor Ola Rotimi, Professor Olikoye Ransome –Kuti, Professor Wole Soyinka, Dr Tai Solarin, Chief Mike Adenuga, Professsor Ogunlesi, first Professor of Medicine in Nigeria, Prince Bola Ajibola, etc.
Since inception some forty years ago, Ogun State has also had the rare privilege of being governed by a set of visionary leaders who at one time or the other have made their wealth of experience to bear on the overall development of the state, most of which are still evident till today.
Past leaders of Ogun State include, Seidu Ayodele Balogun (Military administrator, March 1976-July 1978; Dr. Harris Eghagha (Military Administrator), July 1978-October 1979; Late Chief Olabisi Onabanjo (Civilian Governor), October 1979- December 1983; General Oladipo Diya (Military Administrator) January 1984-August 1985; Oladayo Popoola (MILAD) August 1985-1986; Raji Alagbe Rasaq (MILAD) 1986-December 1987; Mohammed Lawal (MILAD) December 1987- August 1990.
Others include Oladeinde Joseph (MILAD) August 1990-January 1992; Olusegun Osoba (Civilian Governor) January 1992- November 1993; Daniel Akintonde (MILAD) December 1993- August 196; Sam Ewang (Administrator) August 1996- May 1999; Chief Olusegun Osoba (Civilian Governor) May 1999- May 2003; Otunba Gbenga Daniel (Civilian Governor), May 2003- May 2011; Senator Ibikunle Amosun (Civilian Governor), May 2011 till date.
Walt Rostow, one of the great communication theorist of the 60's in what he called ''The Stages of Economic Growth'' sure did not have Ogun State in mind when he chronicled the stages of development of a given entity from a traditional to modern society to include ''Pre- condition for take- off'' which he described as a stage when conditions begin to appear that will lead the traditional society into becoming modern. Rostow had described the subsequent stage as the take off stage, which will manifest when a society begins to grow at a steady rate both in quantity and quality. At this period the political, social and economic sector of the state are reformed which means the society is emerging as a modern civilization.
The Senator Ibikunle Amosun –led administration which had predicated its Mission to Rebuild on the five cardinal programme of affordable qualitative education, efficient health care delivery, agricultural production/industrialization, affordable housing/urban renewal, rural & infrastructural development with its massive urban renewal programmes evidently manifest has no doubt laid the foundation for the prosperity of the state.
Alluding to Rostow's postulation, Ogun State witnessed the “pre-condition for take –off” at the inception of the urban renewal programme during the first term of the incumbent government, when structures were demolished to pave the way for the expansion of road projects. The follow up with actual construction and inauguration of some of these roads, bridges and fly-over as well as other infrastructural projects are stages, which can rightly be regarded as the “take-off stage”.
The good news however is that the fortieth anniversary of the state is coming with an icing on the cake as no less than forty developmental projects will be inaugurated to commemorate the anniversary. When Amosun first made the disclosure during the presentation of the 2016 Budget on the floor of the state House of Assembly, many people took such claim as one of the ranting of politicians, which may never come to pass. Amosun had equally remarked to his aides and loyalists shortly after the 2015 general election, which brought him in for a second term of office that inspection of projects will be round the clock as soon as work begins urging them to braze up for the challenges ahead. The manifestation of such claims is now becoming stark reality.
Governor Amosun had in the cause of the Budget presentation listed some of the road projects that will be completed in the year 2016 fiscal year to include the OGTV/Brewery Road (8.7km) amongst several others.
And despite the dwindling financial fortune of the state, the Amosun- led administration is matching words with action and it is becoming crystal clear that by the time Ogun State celebrates her 40th anniversary in February the level of development of the state will no doubt be unprecedented.
For Ogun State Life indeed begins at forty. Long Live Ogun State!
Written by Waheed Ogunjobi, a Public Affairs Analyst.