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Dare Odufowokan: Ogun – Many gains of a governor’s foresight

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The year 2023 is ending on a blissful note for Ogun State. For the first time in a long time, the Gateway state has taken its pride of place among the comity of states in Nigeria. To put it mildly, Ogun State under the governance of Prince Dapo Abiodun is proving its mettle and attaining its potentials at a pace unimagined a couple of years ago.

The governor is not only carrying out infrastructural developments across the state but also reaching out to organisations and individuals with the capacity and interest to take advantage of these infrastructure by investing in Ogun state. Through his famed ISEYA agenda, Abiodun has not only laid the foundation for the new Ogun state, he has also started building on it and taking Ogun state towards its dream future.

And some ot the results of his relentless hard work are already here with us. According to a recent report, apart from Nigeria’s economic capital, Lagos, Ogun State is the country’s most economically viable state as at today. The report by Economic Confidential, a subsidiary of PR Nigeria, while affirming Ogun State’s status as the topmost investment destination in Nigeria today after Lagos, confirmed that Ogun State under Governor Abiodun has outraced other states of the federation, including Rivers State, along with Kaduna, Kwara, Oyo and Edo states, which joined Lagos and Ogun on the list of economically viable states as at the year under review.

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According to figures sourced from the Nigerian Bureau of Statistics (NBS) and the Federal Account Allocation Committee (FAAC), Lagos received the sum of N370, 921, 413, 425.62 from the Federation Account and generated N651,145, 633.085 as internally generated revenue while Ogun received N113,404, 027,439.22 from the Federation Account and generated N120,548, 157,140.78 internally. On the other hand, Rivers State received N363.4bn from the Federation Account and generated N172bn; Kaduna received N155bn and generated N58bn; Kwara received N99bn and generated N35.7bn; Oyo received N181bn and generated N62bn, while Edo received N147bn in federal allocation and generated N47.4bn. These results which were made known during the presentation of the Annual States Viability Index Report in Abuja last week, showed that the total Internally Generated Revenue of N1.5trn from the seven viable states is almost twice the total IGR of the other 29 states which, when added together, is about N650bn.

The report also established that Bayelsa, Akwa Ibom, Katsina and three other states, failed to generate up to 10% of the total allocations received from the Federal Government for and were declared insolvent states. The others are Kebbi, Taraba and Yobe states. Unlike the Governor Abiodun-driven Ogun State, the poorly performing states were unable to attract investments that would have improved their IGR fortunes. This, and many other realizations, are enough reasons for Ogun State to celebrate the giant economic strides of the current administration amidst a global economic struggle.

When he took over the mantle of leadership in 2019, Governor Abiodun made it clear that Ogun state was not where it ought to be. He promised to saddle himself with the task of taking the state to where it should be. And he set about doing that immediately. “Our vision summarises the kernel of our Agenda: To give Ogun State focused and qualitative governance and to create the enabling environment for a public private sector partnership, which is fundamental to the creation of an enduring economic development and individual prosperity of the people of Ogun,” the governor had declared on May 29, 2019.

Today, the state is reaping from the foresight of the governor. While presenting the 2024 budget to the state assembly, Governor Abiodun mentioned some of the many efforts of his administration to prepare Ogun for the future. According to him, our dear state is taking advantage of its proximity to Lagos State in more ways than one. To support the government’s investment drive, Governor Abiodun has equally invested heavily on infrastructure development.

“Our administration has brought development to every ward in the 20 Local Government Areas of the State. We have constructed,
reconstructed, and rehabilitated over 500 kilometers of roads. The 45KM Sagamu Interchange-Siun-Abeokuta Expressway, now renamed the Muhammadu Buhari Expressway; the 14KM Ijebu Ode-Epe Mojoda expressway; the 19KM Atan-Lusada-Agbara tolled expressway which is near completion, and other road projects spread across all four zones of the State, have been newly constructed, rehabilitated, or
reconstructed.

“Our Community Electrification Project has improved power supply in the 20 Local Government Areas, while the expansion of the Ogun State Electricity Distribution System will cover more areas especially the corridor from the Sagamu Interchange to Abeokuta (As a phase 1 Project). In our quest to make Ogun State a modern city with diverse transportation options, we have established the Ministry of Transportation and developed the Ogun State Urban Transport Policy and Strategic Multi-modal Transport Master Plan comprising air, sea, rail, and road. We have also recently launched our CNG-fueled mass transit bus system in partnership with the private sector to make bearable to cost of transportation for our citizens.

“An emblematic feature of our Multi-modal Transport Master Plan is the Gateway Agro-Cargo International Airport which is one of the crowning achievements of our clear vision. This world-class airport, covering 800 hectares of land, is designed to handle cargo, including agriculture related cargo, and passenger services,” the governor had revealed.

Beyond what Governor Abiodun revealed, many analysts, home and abroad, have attested to the wisdom in the construction of the airport. With a 4-kilometer runway, one of the biggest aprons in Africa and several other state-of-the-art facilities including the control tower, terminal and cargo builds, and a parking lot, the project is current adjudged as one of the fastest-built airports in Africa. It is also important to add here that the accompanying aerotropolis (airport city) spans 5000 hectares and has already attracted Federal Agencies and various businesses, including international logistics companies, a maintenance and repair operations facility, and agro-processing industries. Expectedly, numerous proposals on concessions are daily being received by the state government concerning the airport. The government recently announced that it will be signing a major concession deal with a private sector player that will pay the state a percentage of their revenue during the term of the agreement in addition to a concession fee. Talks are also on with a private aviation company to use the airport as a base for its commercial operations expected to start soon after regulatory approvals.

Arise IIP, a private company, has already signed an MOU with the government towards the development of an agro-processing zone covering
about 2000 Hectares as a Special Agro Processing Zone (SAPZ). According to projections, upon completion, the airport and its allied businesses in the aerotropolis, are expected to generate over 25,000 direct and indirect jobs. Furthermore, the Abiodun-led administration also invested in automating business processes to improve the
Ease of Doing Business Index in the State. Many processes including. initiating requests for permits, tax administration, and payments which were time-consuming can now be initiated online and completed online with luxurious ease.

Also, the issue of security is one that the Abiodun administration takes very seriously as it continues to strengthen the already established Security Trust Fund and regularly procuring relevant security gadgets, including drones, for security agencies in the state while also augmenting the allowances and living conditions of security personnel to enhance security and safety in the state. With so much done to improve the socio-economic fortunes of the state, not many people were surprised when Analysts Data Services and Resources also ranked Ogun State sixth out of 36 states and Abuja in its just released Socio-economic Scorecards of Nigerian states.

According to the reputable organisation, Ogun, under the leadership of Governor Abiodun came top in many of the sectors considered in the ranking. In the financial sector, Ogun came top with 65.6 per cent, followed by Kaduna with 62.4 per cent, while Oyo came third with 62 per cent. Also, Ogun came third in capital importation with 61.1 per cent. The State was only beaten by Lagos State, which came first with 68.7 per cent and FCT, with 67.8 per cent. Again, the Gateway State came third in Industrialisation and Business Competitiveness with 61.5 percent, behind Lagos State with 70.1 percent and Oyo State with 62.9 percent. Furthermore, the state came fifth in Citizens’ Livelihood & Welfare, with 53.7 per cent, while the state was placed fourth in ICT Infrastructure with 73.6 percent. In education, the state secured the fifth position with 60 per cent. Ogun State also scored high in Land, Housing and Sanitation where it placed fifth with 50.3 percent, and 11th in Energy and Environment (48.9 percent). Overall, Ogun ranked 6th with an overall score of 52.50 per cent, which is higher than the average score of 45.65 per cent for all states.

No doubt, these many laudable efforts being recognized and applauded by researchers have made Ogun State an investment-friendly destination and contributed to job creation and
revenue generation as part of a trickle-down effect on the economy. This and many other reasons explains the unending celebration of Governor Abiodun’s unusual foresight by experts and many other stakeholders within and outside the state.

Odufowokan contributed this piece through [email protected]_


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