By Adegboyega Bashir (Ade Bash)
One of the commendable governance styles of Prince (Dr.) Dapo Abiodun, the Executive Governor of Ogun State, is his bottom-up and all-inclusive government approach, which has become a model for elected office holders who are passionate about impacting all strata of their constituency with good governance, to copy.
Abiodun’s commitment to bottom-up and all-inclusive government was glaring from the start. While delivering his inaugural speech titled, ‘Building Our Future Together: A Task For All’, at his swearing – in ceremony on May 29, 2019, he disclosed that his development agenda for Ogun State was a product of broad consultation with stakeholders.
According to him, he consulted widely with eminent sons and daughters of Ogun State; technocrats, professionals across sectors and multilateral institutions, members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and other major political parties in the state, including co-contestants for the governorship seat.
“This collaborative and inclusive approach, the first of its kind in the state, will continue to underpin the conduct of government affairs. My strong belief is that our state will benefit from the collective wisdom, knowledge and passion of varied citizens that are in abundance across the different regions of our state, political parties and groups,” he said.
Governor Abiodun is also deliberate by strategically making local government administration one of the pillars to deliver on his electoral promises to the good people of the state. “Our commitment to the empowerment of local government councils to effectively and efficiently discharge their constitutionally granted mandate is total. Apart from the constitutional arrangement that places this tier of government close to the people, it is also in the self-enlightened interest of a state government that is focused on good governance, like ours, to so do.
“Our development agenda will be deepened and fast-tracked if our local government councils are truly governments and not just mere appendices of the state government or salary payment centres. My administration will evolve a new but constitutionally backed arrangement that will make our local government councils responsive and responsible to the yearnings of the people,” Abiodun said.
True to that promise, the administration has taken good steps to set the stage for grassroots participation in the administration of the state. The steps include the composition and inauguration of transitional committees for the 20 LGAs to take over immediately the elected chairmen and councillors complete their tenure in October 2020.
While inaugurating the transitional committees at the beginning of the year, Prince Abiodun underlined the premium placed on local government administration by challenging the LG administrators to govern the councils prudently, show positive results in terms of real development and good governance. He added that they would be required to render account of their stewardship upon the expiration of their tenure.
He said, “Your appointment is transitory; you don’t have the luxury of time to wander. So, settle down immediately, work hard, get results and turn dreams into reality. I enjoin you all to always strive to complement the efforts of the state government by improving the welfare of our people and translating our people-oriented policies.”
“You are to apply the funds at your disposal with prudence and undertake developmental projects that will touch the lives of our people very positively. By doing this, your leadership can quickly make its mark in infrastructure development such road construction, primary education, health care, sanitation and refuse collection in markets, enhanced revenue generation amongst others.” He advised.
While enjoining traditional rulers, community leaders and the people to support the new LGA leadership “ in opening a fresh chapter for good governance at the grassroots”, he added, “By doing this, the tenure of the transitional committees will not only be a credit to the state’s development plan but the successful implementation of the building-our-future-together agenda.”
With fresh council elections only months away, Governor Abiodun, without any doubt has given hope to the people by putting local government administration at the forefront of his agenda, as majority of them often complained of government being far from them before now. As it stands, the people of Ogun State, especially the larger population living in rural communities will have a better feel of governance with the elected chairmen and councillors.
By their constitutional placement as the tier of government closest to the masses, the Abiodun-led administration is empowering local councils to be able to perform their core functions by providing basic primary amenities for the people of Ogun State as well as complementing the state government in the provision of critical infrastructures that can trigger real development.
This is why we welcome courageous young minds like Lanre Oyegbola – Sodipo, a visionary with fresh ideas, creativity, energy, requisite work experience, network and connection to the masses, who has indicated interest in running for the chairmanship seat of Abeokuta North Local Government in the upcoming elections in Ogun State.
Oyegbola – Sodipo, a member of the All Progressives Congress (APC), has a well – articulated vision in line with the APC manifesto and development agenda of Governor Abiodun, whose emphasis is on the overall quality of life and the creation of wealth for the ordinary man in Ogun State.
If voted as the Chairman of Abeokuta North LGA, the brilliant aspirant is passionate about meeting the expectations of the people. His focal points include but not limited to the wealth and capacity building for the teeming youths, qualitative primary healthcare and education for the vulnerable, improved mining, agriculture and optimisation of technology to enhance the overall quality of life.
One the strategies mapped by Oyegbola-Sodipo is to stimulate a wider participation of the people especially the youths and small business owners in any part of the agricultural value chain. According to him, more than 70% of the population in Abeokuta North LGA lives in rural communities, so his administration, through skill acquisition and capacity building while leveraging on technology, will improve farming techniques, create access to larger markets, reduce post-harvest losses and boost prosperity among the people. He also plans to encourage urban-rural migration amongst the youths by making agriculture more attractive and the rural areas more liveable.
Oyegbola-Sodipo also intends to partner with the state government to standardize the activities of artisans mining granite and other minerals, such that upgrade in processes and procedures will attract investment and increase revenue flow into the state and local government coffers.
To ensure qualitative healthcare delivery at the basic and primary level, he will upgrade existing facilities, encourage volunteering through social work programmes and micro-insurance, and launch the Abeokuta North Health Improvement Program (ANHIP), a series of government-led interventions aimed at increasing access to efficient, effective and sustainable quality health services.
The Abeokuta North Health Improvement Program (ANHIP), is centred on improving the health status and well-being of the people of Abeokuta North. This will involve renovating primary health centres, training and retraining of staff, provision of reliable power supply and water, provision of essential drugs and technological support to aid treatment of patients and improve data capture.
His plan for the education sector includes hosting the Abeokuta North Education Summit (ANES), a platform for key stakeholders in the local government to discuss the challenges of the sector and proffer solutions within the first 90 days of assuming office. Other initiatives include improving the quality, skill sets and welfare of teachers and non-academic staff, attracting good talents, introducing rewards and incentives for motivation, upgrade of existing and provision of new infrastructure through collaborative strategies on funding and investment.
Encapsulating his vision, the chairmanship aspirant declared: “The goal of our government shall be to harness the advantage of our natural placement to convert the potentials of our population towards increased prosperity. This is the core pillar that anchors all our actions. This is not only our commitment to the people and but shall also be our unbroken covenant to our people.”
I am convinced that the leadership of the APC will be proud to have a focused young leader like Lanre Oyegbola-Sodipo as the party’s chairmanship candidate. Certainly, the people of Abeokuta North Local Government will be happier to elect him as the man at the helm of their LG affairs in the upcoming historic council elections being prepared for by OGSIEC.
Adegboyega Bashir (Ade Bash) writes from Abeokuta, Ogun State.