By Yemisi Akinmameji & Kemi Olatunde
Even though the present administration in Ondo State led by Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, SAN, came into power since February, many political observers held on to the view that the administration was incomplete without the constitution of a full executive committee comprising essentially the governor, his deputy, the secretary to the State government and commissioners.
Bearing this in mind, the governor kick started the process of nominating men and women of proven character who would serve as commissioners in his cabinet to the Ondo State House of Assembly last month.
Consequently, the lawmakers swung into action and ensured that all the 18 commissioner nominees passed through a thorough scrutiny by the House’s committee on screening.
Having being certified fit to lead by the legislature, the governor, at a colourful ceremony, last Wednesday swore in the new commissioners, selected from across the 18 local government areas of Ondo State.
The occasion which took place at the International Event Centre, also known as The Dome, featured the swearing-in of Special Advisers to the governor.
Expectedly, the venue of the event was overflowing with party faithful, family members, friends and well wishers of the new political appointees.
Eminent personalities such as the wife of the State governor, Arabirin Betty Anyanwu-Akeredolu were also at the epoch making occasion to add pageantry to it.
Other dignitaries who graced the ceremony are: Deputy Governor, Hon Agboola Ajayi and Speaker, Ondo State House of Assembly, Rt Hon. David Oleyelogun.
Personalities like the State APC Acting Chairman, Engr Ade Adetimehin, Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Hon. Ifedayo Abegunde, Chief of Staff to the Governor, Chief Olugbenga Ale and President, Ondo State Customary Court of Appeal, Justice Folashade Aguda-Taiwo marked their presence at the swearing-in ceremony.
Chairman, Ondo State Council of Obas and Olukare of Ikare, Oba Akadiri Momoh, Member, House of Representatives, Hon Bode Ayorinde, former Military Governor, Admiral Akin Aduwo, Chairmen of local governments, members of the Ondo State House of Assembly and Chieftains of the All Progressives Congress (APC) were also at the event.
Speaking, Akeredolu enjoined all to gird their loins for the great task ahead as the picture is not good and promised to provide the needed leadership to move the state forward.
“We promised to make life more abundant for our people. We will continue to strive to keep that vow within the available resources. We can turn things around positively.
“We only need men and women imbued with the necessary patriotic zeal and determination to do things differently. I enjoin us to make our appointments impactful on the generality of the people in the State. We must approach issues touching on their lives with seriousness,” he said.
The Governor also congratulated the Commissioners and urged them to use the unique opportunity to make a difference in the lives of the people.
He admonished members of the families and friends of the political appointees to desist from mounting undue pressure on them as they were called upon to work for the collective glory of the state.
“This, to me, is a sacred social contract between them and posterity. They must be assisted to fulfill their destinies.
“Our people must be made to own the process of governance. If development is about the people, we should be able to assess the quality of our intervention in their lives,” he said.
The Governor who expressed the unshaken belief that an environment with a developed infrastructure is that which is ready for progress, stated that his administration has been able to intervene to bridge the very wide gap in infrastructural deficit.
Akeredolu enjoined members of the State Executive Council to hit the ground running in their respective ministries noting that their appointments must be seen as a call to service at this critical juncture in the life of the state.
His words: “As our Administration renews its pledge to the people to be accountable at all times, there is the urgent need for rededication by all those who serve the public.
“We must encourage broad and massive participation of our people in the business of government.”
He added that government and governance should not be stultifying abstractions, distant and disconnected from the service to which these modern concepts evolved to proffer.
“Those who lay claims to legitimacy of representation, as deriving from the people, must always keep their focus on this time-tested objective.
“Governance should not be reduced to a circus show; specious, ostentatious and profligate exhibition of inanities. Any decision or action of acclaimed representatives of the people must be an answer to identifiable socio-economic challenge.
Akeredolu stated that elected and appointed public officials must subject their individual preferences to the collective will, adding that performance must be measured in terms of its positive impact on the people.
“If development is about the people, all decisions and actions must be for the realisation of this lofty objective. Any opportunity offered for service must be understood in this context.
“Nobody must consider his or her choice, out of numerous other equally eminent candidates, as an invitation to primitive self-aggrandisement.
“This Administration will not permit it. Any conduct which seeks to perpetuate the misery of the people will be discouraged actively.
“No appointment is “juicy”. Every ministry, agency and established public office is important. This Administration shall extend equal attention to all offices. It would be a mistake, with grave consequences, for anyone to act in a manner which negates decency and decorum”, the Governor said.
After giving his charge to the new members of the State Executive Council, Akeredolu reeled out the portfolios of the news commissioners thus: Rt. Hon Taofiq Abdulsalam (Works and Infrastructure).
Mr. Rasheed Badmus (Natural Resources) and Prince Solagbade Amodeni (Physical Planning and Urban Development).
Also, Otunba Adegboyega Adefarati (Agriculture), Mr Saka Yusuf Ogunleye (Youth and Sports Development), Hon. Omowumi Olatunji-Edet (Women Affairs and Social Development), Mr. Donald Ojogo (Lands and Housing) and Mr. Yemi Olowolabi (Information and Orientation).
Others are: Dr Wahab Adegbenro (Health), Mr Funso Esan (Environment), Mr Wale Akinterinwa (Finance), Pastor Emmanuel Igbasan (Economic Planning and Budget), Alhaji Olurimisi Ismaila (Culture and Tourism) and Mr. Femi Agagu, (Education, Science and Technology).
They also include Prof Bayonile Ademodi (Regional Integration and Special Duties), Hon. Lola Fagbemi (Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs), Otunba Timilehin Adelegbe, (Commerce, Industries and Cooperatives) and Kola Olawoye Esq, (Justice).
Shortly before assigning portfolios to the commissioners, the Governor read the portfolios of the ten Special Advisers who are also part of the State Cabinet as follows:
Mrs Bunmi Ademosu (Public Inter Government Relations), Mr. Alaba Isijola (Union Matters), Mr Boye Oyewumi (Investment and Development), Engineer Raheem Aminu (Lands, Works and Infrastructure) and Hon. Olatunji Fabiyi (Political Matters).
Others are: Dr Olawumi Ilawole (Education), Engineer Tunji Ariyo (Public Utilities), Tobi Ogunleye Esq. (Transport), Dr. Jibayo Adeyeye (Health) and Rt. Hon. Victor Olabimtan (Rural and Community Development).
On their part, the new Commissioners expressed their readiness to support the State Governor, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, SAN, to implement his developmental agenda and lead the State to prosperity.
In separate interviews with some of the Commissioners, they promised to work with the Governor to ensure the actualisation of his good vision for the people and the state at large.
They specifically appreciated the Governor for the opportunity given to them to serve, assuring that they would not let him down in the discharge of any responsibility that may be assigned to them.
Hon. Mrs. Omowumi Olatunji-Edet, Barrister Olawoye Adekola and Mr Wale Akinterinwa assured the people of the state of their best in terms of quality service delivery.
The Commissioners promised to make the interest of the people of the state number one in their planning and programmes so that the people can positively feel and enjoy the dividends of democracy under the Akeredolu-led government in the state.
Mr. Femi Agagu promised, on behalf of himself and colleagues, to join hands with the Governor whom he described as a great leader, to take the state to the promised land.
He said they were not afraid to serve their state as they are fully prepared to discharge their duties effectively.
Speaking with The Hope in an interview shortly after the swearing-in, the Information Commissioner, Mr Yemi Olowolabi said that they will make personal sacrifices cutting down their expenditures and expectations to give the best service to the people.
According to him, members of the Executive Council were carefully selected comprising men and women of proven integrity and outstanding reputation who are prepared and well grounded in their various fields.
Also, Prince Solagbade Amodeni observed that his antecedents as former Commissioner in the State will boost his performance saying “Experience will count for me by the grace of God.” he said.
The Governor has performed his constitutional role by putting in place a State Executive Council. He has played his role well by ensuring that men of ‘proven integrity’ make his Executive Council and by giving the good counsel that the commissioners should make service their priority.
The new commissioners have also given their words. And it is expected that they live out their promises as men and women of proven integrity.
For political observers who claim that government would be easier to run with the Executive Council properly put in place, thank God for answered prayers.
To the people of the Sunshine State, heed the wise counsel of the Governor and watch as government swings into full fledged action and delivers the dividends of democracy.