By Remigius Akinbinu
Continued from last week
The Akure city beautification project is also phenomenal. Even though the past administrations did their best in this regard, they cannot match the reach, class and quality of this one. Most places that used to be rough and dirty habitats of thugs and criminals have been turned to modern parks with lush green fields, flowers and trees; and at night, never before has the city of Akure been effectively illuminated with street lights.
Each passing day, new things are happening and the face of the capital city is changing accordingly. Even the cab drivers received great attention from the governor in the moulds of ultra modern Motor Park and cabs and buses given to many of them at cheaper rates and interest free loans.
Little wonder that with the flurry of activities, so much has shifted to the state that it moved from the 13th spot in 2009,when Mimiko took over to the sixth largest economy in the 2012 economic ranking of Nigerian states.
The achievement of the state’s first ever Shopping mall by PPP, establishment of the state independent traffic-control unit ,the provision for modern motor parks and beautiful bus stops on major roads of the capital have not only eased the city’s transport worries but is also changed its world view to that of a fast developing millennium city.
In terms of roads and infrastructure, perhaps, the most phenomenal of all his projects is the dualization of the old Arakale road. It is amazing that as important and strategic as this road is, it never occurred to previous governors to embark on it, or may be they were scared of the intricacies involved.
Very courageous of the governor to have even attempted it. And even exceptional was the way he compensated those whose houses were demolished without any clear cut remonstrance or complaints from them. Nevertheless, Mimiko’s government also became the first to embark upon the dualization of roads outside the state capital with the completed and close to completion works in Owo, Ondo and Igbokoda, while not forgetting the 27 kilometers-Ugbe-Iboropa-Ise road in Akoko, the 28 kilometre-Ajagba-Iyansan road in Irele.
The following are some of the other completed infrastructure Education Quality Assurance Building, Civil Service Commission building, Public Service Training Institute, Ilara Mokin, Orange FM building ,Event Centre Ijapo, State Pry Health Care building ,ORIREWA (vaccine storage center) building ,M&C Akure, Phase 1&2, M&C Ondo, Trauma centre, Ondo, Gani Fawehinmi Diagnostic Building, Democracy Park Akure, New Civil Engineering building (4storey),New Governor’s House building, Sunshine Housing Estate, Ilekun Housing Estate ,Igbotako General Hospital ,51 Mega schools, 34 new structures at AAU, New structures at OSUSTECH, 16 new structures at Rugipo, New Administrative buildings at the stadia in Akure and Ondo. Four Agric Villages, the semi automated Abattoir at Igoba, 27 modern bus stops in Akure,9 new roundabouts in Akure,Owo & Ondo, 55 neighbourhood markets across the state and the NEPA ultra modern Shopping complex, Akure.
The State’s civil service also received a big boost with the first comprehensive renovation of the State secretariat in twenty five years, while the lingering feud between the government and the civil servants arising out of the new national minimum wage has been successfully doused as Ondo state emerged with the highest minimum wage in the country.
Twice in his administration, the State has won the National Productivity Merit Award which it never won before. To uplift the State judiciary, the government successfully completed the comprehensive renovation of all the High Courts and Magistrate courts in the State and carried out a successful review of the State laws for the first time since 1976. The governor was also instrumental in bringing the Court of Appeal to Akure. This is by no means a small achievement when one consider the stress we used to go through travelling to Benin for appeal cases. He established Nigeria’s first Prison High court, the state customary court of Appeal ,eighteen new magistrate courts and two new High courts in Idanre and Ifedore Local Government areas.
Talking sports, it is amazing how the fortunes of the Sunshine Stars Football Club has changed since Governor Mimiko came to power. Never in the history of the football in the state has any team from the State clinched a second spot in the Nigeria Premier League, won the bronze in the FA Cup ,got to the Semi-final of an African Cup and qualified for CAF Champions League where it reached the semi-finals . Also, in 2012, the second club side sponsored by the state government, Rising Stars also won promotion into the NPL while the female team Sunshine Queens emerged National champions by winning the 2015 Federations Cup, a feat never before achieved by any state in this South west part of the country.
At the 17th edition of The National Sports festival held in Port Harcourt last year, the state also clinched an unprecedented 4th position leaving on it’s trail all other South western state’s. Also worth mentioning here is the Federation of International Swimming Federation- graded- Eight-lane-Olympic Swimming pool that was completed by the Mimiko government within it’s first eighteen months, the synthetic pitch a d flood lights of the Akure stadium and the reconstruction of the Ondo stadium among others. It is remarkable to note here that it was since 1977 that the swimming pool project has been in the pipeline with succeeding administrations sidelining it, yet the state is one of the leading states in the sport that has produced many national champions.
The governor has also performed impressively in the Education, Housing and Tourism Sector. What, with the innovation of the Quality Assurance agency, the Free School Bus shuttle that is now operative in at least 15 Lgas, the transformation of AAUA , OSUSTECH and RUGIPO ,the mega schools, the renovation of the unity secondary schools and other schools.
Also, the Governor’s novel community development ministry has seen the government completing over 600 projects rural communities in the state.
On the personal note, the governor cuts the picture of a healthy, morally upright God-fearing and charismatic leader who frequently ensures physical inspection of projects while still creating enough time to attend to social activities.
The average Ondo state resident sees in him an entirely different Governor from what he was used to, he sees an energetic ,hardworking, no-nonsense, kindhearted and sincere individual who is resolutely committed to lifting the state to enviable heights.
The people of Ondo state have seen a great deliverance of the dividends of democracy in the past seven years and I do not have any doubt in my mind that they would continue to vote in the direction of the Governor and good governance even beyond 2017 when His Excellency would have gloriously completed his two terms.