• Wednesday, November 29, 2023
businessday logo

BusinessDay

Agenda for Ogun State’s new cabinet

Abiodun woos foreign investors to Ogun

On August 3, 2023, the Ogun House of Assembly confirmed the nomination of eight commissioner-nominees who were earlier screened based on the adoption of the report of the Committee of the Whole House chaired by the Speaker, Olakunle Oluomo.

On September 12, the House further confirmed the nomination of nine more commissioner-nominees as part of the individuals who will constitute the second-term team in Governor Dapo Abiodun’s cabinet. Those confirmed in the second instalment included a former two-term member of the Assembly and a former Commissioner for Culture and Tourism, Hon. Adijat Adeleye-Oladapo; Mr. Sofela Adebola Emmanuel; Hon. Ilori-Oduntan Olufemi; Engr. Oluwagbenga Dairo; Hon. Bolu Owootomo; Mr. Oladimeji Oresanya; Hon. Balogun Ademola; Engr. Taiwo Oludotun and Mr. Fagbayi Sesan.

Read also: Ogun tribunal: The day after the verdict

On October 9, the House screened three additional commissioner-nominees sent to it by Governor Abiodun in what seemed like the final tranche of nominations. The three commissioner-nominees screened this time were Mr Olatunji Odunlami, former Commissioner in the Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development; Mr Wasiu Isiaka, former Senior Special Assistant to the governor on Ogun Internally Generated Revenue, and Mrs Funmi Efuwape, immediate-past Commissioner in the Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development.

It brings to 20 ( one was dropped at the screening ) the number of commissioner-nominees screened and confirmed by the state legislature as submitted by Prince Abiodun. Also, one of the earliest observations both insiders and bystanders would notice in the governor’s incoming cabinet is the retaining of the core base of those who assisted him in bringing his vision to life during his first term as governor. The idiom, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” comes to mind in the way His Excellency has gone about his choice team.

It also means that, characteristically, the governor was not ready to play politics with the consolidation of the gains of the previous four years in the state.

With post-election litigations over and the governor’s re-election duly affirmed by the Ogun State Governorship Election Tribunal on September 30, snd the formal inauguration on Friday, 13th October, high expectations of the people of the state, majorly because of the standard set by Gov Abiodun in his first term, demand that the commissioners-designate hit the ground running immediately after their swearing-in.

Already, it is to their advantage that they had keyed into the governor’s vision, and they should make that advantage count by rolling their sleeves and getting the job done. Many have attested to the fact that Gov Abiodun has increased the appetite of the Ogun people towards good governance. Thus, the tremendous success of his first term has become the yardstick for measuring growth and development in the state.

The governor himself has said, “We will continue with the same vision of providing focused and purposeful governance. We will push our frontiers as the industrial, educational, and religious capital of Nigeria. We are fast becoming the food basket in the southwest, so we have a lot to be thankful for. Please let us keep our eyes on the ball.” This is a huge commitment to which the people will not only hold him but also scrutinise the collective effort of his team’s ability to deliver.

Read also: How ‘Omo-Onile’ menace in Lagos, Ogun is worsening builders’ woes

Also, while hosting members of the Ogun State Community Development Council and the State Cooperatives Federated Limited who were on a felicitation visit to him on his victory at the polls, the governor reiterated his administration’s position to continue to ensure that it fulfills all its campaign promises to the people, just as it did in his first term.

Crucially, the commissioners-designate should be up to speed with the developmental policies of the administration to consolidate the ISEYA Mantra, because even before they are assigned portfolios, the governor has been recording some giant strides through the use of his Public Private Partnership (PPP) framework that yielded so much result in the previous term and is expected to further boost the confidence of stakeholders in the ability of government to deliver.

Since his reelection, Prince Abiodun has been meeting with both local and international private sector actors and has even commissioned economic projects such as the 150 million standard cubic feet Ibefun Natural Gas City Gate. He had a strategic economic meeting with the biggest conglomerate owned by the Egyptian Government, National Service Project Organization, with the North African organisation expressing its readiness to invest in the agricultural sector of the state.

There are also huge projects from the first term that the cabinet must assist the governor to deliver. One such is the Tongeji Island Project, which would host a $3 billion crude oil refinery in a PPP arrangement with some international oil conglomerates. The project has the potential to deliver a 400,000-liters-per-day refinery to boost the energy supply and provide over 10,000 direct jobs while boosting the state’s internally generated revenue. Also, there is the Kajola Dry Port, cited at the Kajola Free Trade Zone, aimed at making cargo shipping to the state seamless and creating job opportunities for the people of the state.

These projects and many others are going to be Prince Abiodun’s legacy projects and strategic financial reforms, as well as a renewed commitment to quality service delivery are required to ensure the kind of seamless financial policy implementation needed to bring them into fruition for the overall socio-economic development of Ogun State.

It is known that the state’s 2023 Budget relies heavily on and is being financed significantly by the internally generated revenue from the Ogun State Internal Revenue Service, Bureau of Lands & Survey, other ministries, departments, and agencies, as well as other funding sources which include statutory allocation, excess crude, value added tax and capital receipts.
To be able to complete these very important projects, therefore, the state will have to further expand its revenue base by exploring new opportunities in the informal sector through accurate data gathering and necessary enforcement while blocking envisaged leakages.

Read also: Former LG chairman in Ogun docked for accusing Abiodun of fund diversion

It is in line with this huge task ahead that Gov Abiodun said the 2023 budget is a holistic constitution of the people’s needs and judicious application of the limited resources to areas that bear on the welfare of the citizenry. “This budget is reflective of what the people of Ogun State want. I can assure you that on our part, we will ensure the implementation of the budget. Through this budget, our people will enjoy the full dividends of democracy,” he said.

For emphasis, no fewer than 203 inputs (representing 95 per cent of demands) made at the citizens’ town hall meetings held across the four divisions of the state were incorporated into the budget proposal for 2023. There are other reasons why the governor said that delivering on the provisions of the 2023 budget is crucial to the growth and development of the state. Therein, the state government has given utmost priority to capital project investments in education, health, housing, agriculture, and infrastructure sectors for the growth and development of the state and the well-being of its inhabitants.

In 2022, the government delivered on its promise of embarking on the construction of Agro-Cargo International Airport at Ilishan-Remo in which the first phase was commissioned in the first quarter of 2023, while the other phases had reached advanced stages of completion. Other major projects are also receiving adequate attention across all sectors in order to ensure accelerated growth and even development across the three Senatorial Districts of the state.

It is obvious that embarking on the delivery of these promises and the completion of such significant major projects require strategic partnerships and collaboration. Ogun, therefore, needs an enabling environment for industrial growth, manpower development, and creativity to thrive. That is why the administration of Prince Abiodun introduced measures to attract foreign and local investments.

Read also: Ogun stimulates economy around cargo airport

Prince Abiodun, therefore, needs the support of his new cabinet members to ensure that policies and programmes in their various portfolios are geared towards promoting efficiency and effectiveness in fund allocation and utilisation. They should constantly remind themselves that the ultimate goal is “Building our future together.”

 

.SOMORIN, former Chief Press Secretary to Governor Dapo Abiodun, writes from Abeokuta