GOODWILL MESSAGE AT THE HERITAGE RECEPTION FOR HIS EXCELLENCY, PRINCE DAPO ABIODUN, AT THE AWUJALE’S PALACE
ON SUNDAY, 9TH JUNE, 2019.
I congratulate Prince Dapo Abiodun, MFR. I also offer deep appreciation to Kabiyesi Awujale for standing firm and supporting the emergence of the Governor. Many people may not appreciate the import of unity among the people of Ogun East Senatorial District devoid of the deliberate and artificial line of divide vis a vis the Ijebu and Remo dichotomy.
Awujale has always reminded us that indigenous Ijebuland goes beyond the 6 local governments in Ogun East but include places like Ode Remo in today’s Remo North, the Makun Kingdom in Sagamu Local Government which has its roots in Makun Omi in today’s Ijebu Waterside Local Government and even places like Iperu where our new Governor comes from in today’s Ikenne local government not to talk of the entire stretch of Lekki-Epe axis, Ikorodu, Somolu and Kosofe Local Government Areas of today’s Lagos State.
In fact both the immediate past Governor and the newly sworn in Governor in Lagos State are both bona fide and authentic Ijebu sons and by implication Awujale’s children.
I don’t want to extend it beyond that but rumours have it that the former Olubadan of Ibadan has his origin from Ijebuland. I believe I have said enough for now.
I also want to thank my compatriots and members of this great Club, led by our indefatigable Chairman, Otunba Lekan Belo, for this great initiative, not just by organising this Reception but by supporting our Governor at a most critical occasion in the course of electioneering. This development excites me and falls in line with my own believe that at the end of the day, all homo sapiens are political animals, just that some are more active than others.
For me as a person, it was not a difficult decision for me to swing my support despite temporary partisan differences to His Excellency, Prince Dapo Abiodun, at a most critical time in the evolution of our political development. In any case, most people may not remember that our new Governor and I operated from the same political party and he supported me in 2003 election, so these may just be a typical ‘one good turn deserve another’ scenario. Congrats once again Your Excellency.
Since opportunities like these are very rare, where our Royalties are seated, please permit me to raise a few points which may guide your Excellency in moving our great State forward, especially since it has become clear to most people that the immediate past Governor did not read our comprehensive Handover notes in 2011. There is no doubt that his inability to read those notes have slowed down the economic growth and development of our dear state in the last 8 years.
Our past Governor constructed visible roads and bridges at exorbitant prices (I am informed that the average cost of those roads is approximately N1b per kilometre. The maximum cost I could remember during my time was N50m per kilometre. Yet I cannot see the difference in the quality of those roads that should warrant a cost at 20 times our going rate. I therefore think that in the interest of good governance, it might be inevitable to look into some of these anomalies), regrettably but even more regrettable is the fact that some of the bridges are misplaced priorities as there are no traffic to justify some of those dual carriage bridges and there may not be in the foreseeable future. I have seen a planned housing estate complete with road networks and Street lights without a single house and I have also seen a pedestrian bridge fully air conditioned, in a place where there is no human traffic and I have also seen the so-called Mega Schools costing the State some whopping N26b but most of them inhabitable and in the wrong location. The list is endless. If those same amount were utilised in doing internal roads and new roads even in the same locations, the economic impact would have been enormous in those locations. Enough for now.
Your Excellency, I was excited when I heard during the past week that you may have declared an educational emergency in our state, nothing could be more apt. But in moving forward, and in order that issues are placed in their proper perspectives permit me to bring to focus what we did in the educational sector in line with the road map already developed for future development.
With a population of over 65,000 still operating at the premises of Ago Iwoye secondary school, our State University in 2003 was not in an impressive state to put it mildly. And having in mind the intention of the founding fathers of the state to build a Multi campus university for the benefit of all the various sections of the state we did the following;
Established the Tai Solarin University of Education, the first in Nigeria and the second in Africa which the former Governor wanted to proscribe without any plausible reason. We thank Kabiyesi Awujale who at a stage offered that he would mobilize our people to own and fund the University in perpetuity rather that allow that great institution to be scrapped.
We established the College of Agricultural Sciences in Aiyetoro, Ogun West, a potential Agricultural Studies based University in the future whenever the State could afford it.
We established the College of Engineering, in Ibogun, Ogun Central, a potential University of Technology in the future whenever the state can afford it.
As far as Universities are concerned, we touched all the 3 Senatorial districts in the state.
On Polytechnics, we did the same:
Abraham Adesanya Polytechnic in Ijebu Igbo, Adegbenro ICT Polytechnic in Itori, Egbaland, Ayo Otegbola ICT Polytechnic in Igbesa in Yewaland and also the Kensington Adebutu ICT Polytechnic in Sapade in Remoland. All these were established from the scratch although some of them have been renamed by the outgoing governor again for reasons yet unclear.
So in this sector, we not only touched all the 3 Senatorial districts, we also touched all the 4 zones and thereby activating the dreams of our founding fathers.
Following that template, if the former Governor had desired to establish another University in Egbaland, he would simply have upgraded the College of Engineering which we established in Ibogun to a full fledged University of Technology in Egbaland and even upgrade the College of Agricultural Sciences in Aiyetoro to another University seamlessly or The Ayo Otegbola ICT Polytechnic in Igbesa as may be desired.
Your Excellency, it is clearly not too late to revisit these issues. I will be most delighted if the opportunity arises to represent those developmental agenda with necessary explanatory notes as it would appear not a lot has happened beyond the roads and the bridges since we left.
*Industrialisation and the The 3 Free Trade Zones;*
Apart from the Flowergate Industrial Estate which we established at the Sagamu Interchange, (where Armed Robbers used to waylay motorists to rob, we thank God it is clearly the fastest growing Industrial Estate in Nigeria with the likes of Nestles and The International Breweries probably the biggest Brewery in the world), our administration secured the 3 different Licences for 3 Free Trade Zones in each of the 3 Senatorial Districts: The Ogun Guangdong Free Trade in Ogun West is up and running but the Access Road is of immediate priority. The Kajola Transportation Free Trade Zones is at the heart of Egbaland within Ifo Local Government. The overall plan is to locate the Final Railway terminal from Iddo in Lagos to Kajola. This will open the entire zone to a massive industrialisation and massive warehousing complexes which clearly will create a new generation of Entrepreneurs for local landowners and grow the real estate. This is worth looking at, Your Excellency. The story of the third Free Trade Zone, The Olokola Free Trade zone with 3 major projects some of which might have been lost is quite familiar to you as a major player in the Oil and Gas Industry. That our people are quite disappointed at the sloppy manner in which the last administration handle this life changing project especially the loss of the Dangote Refinery, the biggest single refinery in the world to our neighbour with a potential of employing most of our hitherto jobless youths to say the least is painful.
Whereas it is too late to reverse the location of Dangote Refinery, The Deep Sea Port Project, The Fertiliser project and of course the OKLNG Project, again the biggest of its kind in the world can still be pursued with vigour in collaboration with the Federal Government and the Private sector.
Please note that before we left, we already had an approval to proceed with the Port from the Nigerian Ports Authority. It was in anticipation of the take off of these projects that we were encouraged to establish the Gateway Industrial & Petrochemical Institute known as GIPI in Oni, within Ogun Waterside LG.
Your Royal Majesty and Your Excellencies please permit me to touch a few issues that directly affect Ijebu Ode and Ogun East in particular especially since this reception is taking place historically here at the palace of The Awujale of Ijebuland.
Ijebu Ode made history when the Gateway International Stadium which we built to host the Gateway Games 2006 was selected by FIFA to host the Junior World Cup in 2008. Lo and behold, Ijebu Ode hosted the great names in soccer when great football countries like Argentina, Spain and even the United States of American brought their soccer teams to play right here in Ijebu Ode.
But today, that beautiful stadium which also has a games village and 3 numbers Tartan football pitch lie prostrate due to lack of maintenance. I recall that in order to forestall this ugly development, we actually approached one of our prominent Ijebu sons, Dr Michael Adenuga Jnr. to take over the stadium and maintain it in perpetuity. Dr Adenuga did not only accept but also agreed to take over the sponsorship of Gateway United Football Club.
In return and without his prompting, we decided to honour him by naming the stadium after him before we left. We are still at a loss to the Raison detre for the name change.
This was the model that was planned for the other stadia in Ilaro and Sagamu which we also built and the one in Abeokuta which we also modernised.
Your Excellency, we believe this issue can still be revisited so that the Stadium can be brought back to its original form which can then be the springboard into launching our jobless youths into international limelight through sports.
The Water Challenges and the Power problem especially in Ijebu Ode.
In resolving the water challenge in Ijebu Ode and its environs which we can use as a case study and apply same statewide, it should be appreciated that there are 4 major issues that affect water supply: the Water scheme, the pipe works, the Power situation and lastly reticulation metering. I am pleased to inform you that we virtually covered 3 out of the 4 steps during our tenure. Via a world bank assisted funding, we successfully rehabilitated Yemoji Water Scheme after some 30 years, in fact it was President Jonathan who recommissioned it during his visit in 2010 to the state. The close to 30 km of pipe which was leaking leading to more than 70% was also successfully replaced bringing the treated water to Ijebu Ode and its environs. This has also been done for Sagamu Water scheme , Arakanga, and others. For the reticulation and distribution, I am aware that the private sector are willing to collaborate with your administration in this area once they are challenged.
The last of the of 4 point solution brings me to Power which solution we found in our 42MW mini power stations distributed in 24 different locations statewide. This intervention was meant to permanently resolve the power problems associated with water challenges statewide. It was meant to provide power for all our water works including Ijebu Ode Yemoji Water Scheme, Sagamu Water scheme, Otta, Apoje, Ikangba, Papalanto, Adatan, Ibara, etc etc. As you might probably be aware, all the equipment for all the 24 locations have been procured and powerhouse construction in various stages were ongoing in at least 11 locations statewide.
About 22 selected Technical Civil servants were sent for inspection and factory training in China and we commissioned one of the station, the 7MW/11kV and I understand it was in use intensively for about 5 years before it was abandoned due to lack of maintenance.
I have no doubt that your Excellency being a major player in the power industry will definitely revisit this project.
The time is spent and we can continue on and on but let me in closing recommend to you the International Cargo Airport project for which the Nigerian Government via the Federal Aviation Authority of Nigeria, FAAN have given approval for the construction to commence. I am aware that the Private sector funding is in place and the Contractors are virtually ready to move to site.
I am aware that with these projects in place, our dear state will take its rightful place as the State to beat in all ramifications in the Federal republic.
All that is left is for me to once again congratulate and thank you for being our guest. To our revered King, the Awujale and paramount ruler of Ijebuland, I once again congratulate and pray that God in his infinite mercies continue to protect and grant you longer life and in Good health.
To all our Royal fathers, eminent sons and daughters of Ijebuland and our other guests, I thank you most sincerely for listening.
Otunba Engr Gbenga Daniel, FNSE, FAEng.
Governor, Ogun State 2003-2011
Awujales Palace, 9th June 2019