By David Akinadewo
Charging the appointees to give their best to the state and make the government proud, Akeredolu said: “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/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. There will be zero tolerance for all acts considered unbecoming of patriotic indigenes of this State. We will simply NOT allow them”.
The Commissioners were told in clear terms that their appointment is to compliment the efforts of government in delivering the dividends of democracy to the people, which the Governor said is a serious business. He noted that: “There is no gain asserting the obvious; our Administration is not in any position for frivolities. All of us must gird our loins for the great task ahead. The picture is not good. Therefore, all acts with the potential of pushing us deeper into economic crisis must be jettisoned. We earnestly promise to provide the needed leadership”.
Despite the fact that his administration has been facing the challenge of paucity of fund, Akeredolu gave a scorecard of his government in the last six months, in the area of infrastructural development saying: “Imbued with the unshaken belief that an environment with a developed infrastructure is that which is ready for progress, we have been able to intervene to bridge the very wide gap in infrastructural deficit. Our Administration has constructed the following roads: Abusoro-Ijoka Road, 1.2km, Iwalewa Road, Akure, 1.5, Bajare/Okemayo Road & St. Joseph Road, Idanre, 3.0km, Jubilee-Ugbe Road, Ikare, 2.1km, 3 no Big Box Culverts at Oyinmo,Ishakunmi&Megida Rental Road, Ikare-Akoko.Oke Alafia Road, Supare – 1.5km, Ogbonomo Street, Igbadara Street, Ajegunle Street & Howlet Road, Ifon, 2.3km.Sabomi Road, Ese-Odo, 2.0km. Police Station Road, Ore, 2.0km. Road Network in Ondo State University of Science and Technology (OSUSTECH), Okitipupa. Gulf C Road, Ilara, completion of multi-storey Engineering Building at the Ministry of Works yard, Akure.
“It is also gratifying to inform the distinguished citizens of Ondo State that our Administration has re-energised and paid money to some contractors engaged by the last Administration to make them mobilize back to site and continue work on the following roads: the notorious Oke Alabojuto in Ikare-Akoko which has now been significantly reduced; three Ondo township roads projects classified as Group II, Phases I and II; Ikare-Ikaram-Ajowa Road; a contractor has been directed to move to site at that deadly Iwaro Oka Hill because of the avoidable accidents that occur too frequently on that axis.
“A section of Ondo Ore Road that had failed completely at Asewele has equally been fixed by our new Administration. In a like manner, a section on Ore Okitipupa Road that has equally collapsed is currently being worked on by the Direct Labour Unit of the Ministry of Works. The Street Light Project in Owo that had been abandoned by the contractor has been resuscitated by the new government by paying the contractor and the project has come upstream again. It is also necessary for us to make some clarifications regarding Akure Street Lights which service has become comatose. This is what we inherited. The generators providing the street lights have been breaking down too frequently due to old age. Our Government has already taken a bold step to replace the generators with new ones. Let me assure the people that the street light will become functional in a couple of weeks from now.
“Renovation of our schools will equally commence before long as contracts for the renovation of some of them have been awarded under the multilateral scheme with our government paying N500m counterpart fund and the Federal Government paying its matching grants”.
If all these and many more have been achieved by the Governor and his Deputy, then the Commissioners must promptly swing into action and make the ministries come alive again.
Out of the 18 Commissioners, two of them are seasoned journalists who have made their marks in the media profession namely: Yemi Olowolabi and Donald Ojogo. I have no doubt about their commitment to service because Olowolabi is in a familiar terrain. He is an experienced media practitioner with vast experience and skills in the print, broadcast and public service journalism. He had been the Chief Executive Officer, Red Carpet Communications Limited Lagos; the Media Consultant Technical AIDS Corps, Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Media Consultant Abuja Computerized Vehicle Testing Service, Abuja; and he is the Director-General, Public Information Officers Association of Nigeria. He had earlier worked as Senior Reporter/Senior Assistant Editor at Tell Communications Limited, Lagos from July 1991 to August 2004, where he exited to serve as the Chief Press Secretary to the late former governor of Ondo State, Dr Olusegun Agagu, between 2004 and 2009.
Ojogo on the other hand, joined The Guardian Newspapers, Lagos as Energy Reporter; held the post of State Correspondent of The Guardian Newspaper; State Correspondent of Defunct Newspaper, Senior Political Correspondent, Daily Independent Newspaper, Lagos; and Associate Editor (Abuja), the New Telegraph. He was appointed Media Adviser, Ese-Odo Local Government in 2001; Press Secretary to the late Governor of Ondo State, Dr Olusegun Agagu, 2007 to 2009; Senior Technical Adviser on Policy and Strategy, to the Minister of State, Agriculture and until this recent appointment, Donald was the Deputy Chief of Staff in the Office of the Deputy Governor of Ondo State.
The immediate past governor of Ondo State, Dr Olusegun Mimiko said at a forum in 2016, while he was trying to placate the civil servants on their imminent showdown with the state government over unpaid salaries, that he was aware that the ‘honeymoon’ of the Ondo state people with whoever is in the saddle is six months, but he was grateful they gave him six years before they started fighting his government. If this assertion is true, then the Commissioners must brace up for the task ahead, as their arrival would signal the counting of government achievements by the populace.
I equally join the Governor to congratulate the newly sworn in Commissioners, just like he concluded in his speech: “Once again, I congratulate you on this unique opportunity to make the difference in the lives of our people. I admonish members of families and friends of political appointees to desist from mounting undue pressure on them. They have been 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”.
Able Commissioners, now that you are all finally here, please note that the expectations of the people from government are high and performance is key to your relevance both in government and among your people. I wish you all the best.