For Ogun State, Life Begins´@40

By Waheed Ogunjobi

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 creationwhich 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 atforty . 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 nowreduced 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 reknowned individual, leaders, professionals , politiciansand other men of repute Nigeria is always proud of .The list include, Chief ObafemiAwolowo of blessed memory , Late Chief Kasimawo Olawale Abiola, former President ,Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, former Head of Interim National Government , Chief ErnestSonekan, , General Oladipo Diya ,retired, Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti, Professor Ola Rotimi, Professor Olikoye Ransome –Kuti, Professor Wole Soyinka, Dr Tai Solarin, Chief MikeAdenuga, Professsor Ogunlesi, first Professor of Medicine in Nigeria, Prince Bola Ajibola of the International Court of Justice fame ,. Perhaps , the list is endless.!

Since inception some forty years ago, Ogun State has also had the rear privileged of being govern by 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; OlusegunOsoba(Civilian Governor) January 1992- November 1993; Daniel Akintonde (MILAD) December 1993- August 196; Sam Ewang (Administrator) August 1996- May 1999; ChiefOlusegunOSoba (Civilian Governor) May 1999- May 2003; Otunba Gbenga Daniel (CivilianGovernor), 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 does 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 civilisation .

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/industrialisation , 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 beregarded 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 the man at the helms of affairs , Senator Ibikunle 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. Senator Ibikunle Amosun had equally remarked to his aides and loyalistsshortly 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 are 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 ,OGTV/Brewery Road (8.7km) ,Ojere Adatan Road ( 9km ), Ejirin/Oluwalogbon Road (9km) ,Sagamu Benin Express/Oba Erinwole (7km) ,Ilo-Awela Road (7.6km) ,Lafenwa AyetoroRoad (34km) ,Ilisan Ago-Iwoye Road (26km) , Moshood Abiola Way (6.1km) ,Ikangba/Ilese/Imusin/Ife/Itele/Ogbere 45km ,Ilara/Ijohun/Ilase Road (110km),Ofada/Mowe/Ibafo Road (29km), Papalanto/Ilaro Fed Poly Road (22.7km), Atan-Agbara/Lusada-Igbesa/AlapotiRoad (37.65km), Sango/Ijoko/Ojodu-Abiodun road (43km),Lafenwa Enugada-Adatan Road (7km) , Magboro Underpass (12km) .

The flyovers and bridges include , Flyover Bridge at Iyana Mortuary (0.48km) ,Flyover Bridge at Ijebu-Igbo/Obada Market (0.40km), Bridge Over River Abule Ekun (0.4km),Bridge Over River Yakoyo (0.45km) , Flyover Bridge at Ilaro, Flyover Bridge at LusadaJunction (48km), Flyover at Itoku , Flyover at Sapon, Flyover at Oju Ore, Ota, Butterfly Flyover at old tollgate, Ota, Butterfly Flyover at Ojodu-Berger, Flyover at Lafenwa, IdirokoIpokia Bridge, Afon Bridge - Imeko , Odo-Afa Bridge – Imeko.he

And , despite the dwindling financial fortune of the state , the Senator Ibikunle 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..

Again , the reality that the state is witnessing simultaneous pace of development across its twenty local government is an indication that it is trudging towards Rostow’s third stage of development which he described as ‘’drive to maturity’’ characterised by the expansion of the newly developed ideas and technology into other divisions of the society ,having laid the foundation for development during his first term in office.

It is no longer news that contractors are back on Ogun roads , what perhaps is news is the pace of work that are evident as they are daily gravitating towards meeting up with February celebration deadline by completing majority of the projects in one fell swoop.

A visit to some of the projects sites where works are progressing at an accelerated rate non-stop will be quiet revealing .At the 9km , Ejirin/ Oluwalogbon road on Folagbade street inIjebu-Ode , construction on the road expansion is steadily progressing . In Ijebu-Igbo , the Chinese expatriates are working day and night to deliver the fly-over bridge ; the same pace of work was witnessed on the fly-over undergoing construction at Iyana mortuary as contractors work non-stop daily . Similarly, work had since commenced on the 32 kilometerSango –Ijoko-Akute-Algbole road . OGTV / Ajebo road is also receiving serious attention ,while Lafenwa - Ayetoro road is playing host to contractors .

As part of the feasible actions towards the completion of the projects to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the state , a close observer will quickly notice the on-going digging of ground to pave the way for the erection of poles for street lights which will eventually be followed by final asphalt laying on some of the already completed roads .. One has begun toconjure up the sight of what Ogun State will look like during and after the celebration.Already , final asphalt laying on the Sagamu –expressway / Benin /Oba –Erinwole road is on-going and anyone visiting Sagamu in recent time will agree no less that the city has come of age with its state of the art road network, no thanks to Senator Ibikunle Amosun and his team of technocrats .

Part of the projects apparently due for commissioning to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the state are the sprawling model school projects some of which have already been completed . The model schools from a visit to a number of the structures are master architectural piece. The German Consul General in Nigeria , Mr Ingo Herbert had during arecent visit to the state described the Model School projects as a good basis for killed economy shortly after paying an unscheduled visit to the site .

Herbert who lauded the Senator Ibikunle Amosun-led administration for the initiative, ,expressed satisfaction with the architectural masterpiece.

“I’m impressed with this edifice. It is the best you can do for the future of education in Ogunand Nigeria by extension. Better life can be achieved in a place like this.

“German economy is based on skilled people where vocational training and skill development can be gained. And Germany is ready to partner with Ogun State Government on vocational training., Ingo Herbert had remarked . .

The Senator Ibikunle Amosun-led administration has also made a lot of strides in the area of housing delivery and some of these projects may be showcased either for turning of the surd or outright commissioning during the 40th anniversary of the state . Governor Amosun hadduring the 2016 Budget presentation said ‘’ we will endeavour to accomplish the under listed housing projects in 2016:, The design of Abeokuta City Centre. to which the Master Plan and Modelling are on-going; Provision of an Industrial Estate at Agbara in which 500Hectares of land has already been allocated for this purpose and the preliminary work has commenced; Construction of MITROS City in Abeokuta, Sagamu and Isheri; Development of Housing Estates at Sagamu, Ikenne, Ijebu-Ode;Execution of the proposed Development of Ten (10) hectares of Land at Kemta off Ajebo road in Abeokuta through Public Private-Partnership.

This is aside a number of shopping complexes that will likely be inaugurated . This include the already completed gigantic edifice at Sapon and similar ongoing complexes in places likeOmida ,Itoku market ,Odo Oyo among others.

And the real icing on the cake which in tandem with Rostow’s postulation of drive to maturity and the final stage of age of ‘’ High Mass Consumption ‘whereby the progress made is being fully filtered throughout the economy ’ is the possibility of laying the foundation for the proposed light rail project as the Governor in his budget speech had also said ‘’ The State Government will vigorously pursue the implementation of its Light Rail project connecting major towns in the three (3) Senatorial Districts. Of the state .

As the entire people of Ogun State look forward to the celebration of her 40th anniversary ,there are indications that the state is set to become a truly modern civilisation worthy of emulation. For Ogun State ,Life indeed begins at forty . Long Live Ogun State! .

Waheed Ogunjobi, a Public Affairs analyst writes from Abeokuta via [email protected] , and can be reached on 08035004741

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