By Victor Olabimtan
Governor Rotimi Akeredolu, SAN, of Ondo State was sworn-in for the last term in office as Governor on February 24, 2021 after his historic second term election which he won in an incredible and landslide fashion.
And this second term, going by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the Electoral Act, will be his final and last term as the Governor of the Sunshine State, other things being equal, having exhausted the constitutional maximum limit to be in office .
Governor Akeredolu’s victory at the October 10, 2020 gubernatorial election was not only historic because no one seeking to govern Ondo State since 1999 till date has ever done it the way he did it, it was also unprecedented going by the huge margin with which he defeated his closest rival, Eyitayo Jegede, of the People’s Democratic Party(PDP).
That is to tell how hugely popular the Governor was, going into the polls and rightly so, the Governor, a former National President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), has won more fans and admirers into his expansive political fold since he was sworn-in for his second term in office.
The above is by the way. How has it been so far? The historic days have been filled with many firsts amidst the fists coming at the governor. But he keeps marching forward like the true courageous leader he is with his subordinates and political associates providing the needed assistance for him to thrive.
For a start, there’s no doubt that Nigeria has been going through some difficult challenges of recent, especially as it relates to the burgeoning insecurity that pervades the entire length and breadth of the country. It’s pertinent to note that Governor Rotimi Akeredolu has been taking the bull by the horns, even at the risk of jeopardizing his own political comfort, to seek solutions to the myriad security afflictions bedeviling Ondo State, the south-west, southern part of the country and the country at large.
When it seemed the possibility of having a regional security network in the southwest to complement the efforts of conventional security agencies in tackling insecurity in the region was becoming a mirage due to the existential forces against its establishment, Governor Rotimi Akeredolu stood firm and provided the needed courage for his Governor colleagues in the region. Today, courtesy of his relentless efforts, Amotekun is here to stay and doing wonders helping to give criminals, who were hitherto operating unhindered, a hot chase.
Of a significant note, also, is his intervention in providing leadership for southern governors on their recent ban on open grazing in the southern hemisphere of the country. That’s a milestone for the Governor especially when cognizance is taken of the fact that the Governor shares the same political party with the Federal Government which does not seem to be favourably disposed to the banning of open grazing for whatever reasons, both overt and covert.
Except for those who live on Mars, criminal herdsmen have been causing untold harm and all sorts of murderous atrocities in the south for years now. No rational or reasonable person will oppose any collective move to stop the criminal herders in their tracks before they make the entire southern belt of the country totally ungovernable. Governor Akeredolu has done well in this regard, leading from the front and providing the needed impetus. He is simply walking the talk by living up to the oath of office he took when he swore to defend the lives and property of his people.
On the ongoing Constitution Review exercise being carried out by the 9th National Assembly, Governor Akeredolu spoke his mind and presumably the minds of many citizens of the state. The most endearing one was his position on the issue of having a unicameral legislature as opposed to the current bicameral formation – Senate and House of Representatives. He also called for a part-time legislature. All these, in his considered opinion, are geared towards reducing the overhead cost of governance, which is extremely high in this part of the country.
Besides the security of lives and property of the people which is a fundamental necessity for building a stable and sustainable economy in a cohesive society, Governor Akeredolu has also consolidated on the appreciable gains recorded in his first term in office in the last 100 days in the areas of massive investment in critical infrastructures, health care development and social welfare, law and order, education sector and human capital development. For the first time after several years in the wilderness, about 1,200 teachers were recruited into the state universal basic education board and another 1,000 workers were recruited into the health sector. This is in addition to many renovations carried out on public schools across the 18 local government areas in the state.
It must also be stressed that in spite of the downturn in the revenue accruing to the state from the federation account, the Governor, through his frugal fiscal policies, has not done badly in the payment of statutory wages and salaries of civil servants depending on the availability of resources. It’s a given that salary payment and welfare of workers generally are a top priority of his administration. Little wonder the organized labour in the state is sympathetic towards his government.
Truth be told, Governor Akeredolu’s giant strides, ave completely debunked the stereotype that governors in their second term are not usually as effective as in their first term. Well, Akeredolu is an exception to this sometimes fallacious stereotype as he has continued to work for the people, and with the people of Ondo State.
The footprints, such as the rehabilitation of Ako Spring Water Supply, Kamomi Aketi Accelerated Water Supply Scheme, rehabilitation of Okeigbo water supply, groundbreaking of Fish Cabinet Dryer at Araromi seaside, Garri Processing Factory in Six LGAs, provision of 30KW Hybrid Mini-Grid Power Plant in Ugbonla in Ilaje LGA, Government House Mosque, groundbreaking of new Governor’s Lodge, rehabilitation of Idoani Water Supply Scheme, Piggery Village, disbursement of bursary and scholarship to eligible students of Ondo State origin in tertiary institutions, massive recruitment into the Amotekun Corps and purchase of additional 20 new patrol vehicles for them and its administrative headquarters building, Dr. Adetade Road, Akure, Araromi-Obu Township Road, Computerized Vehicle Inspection Office in Owo, Ijapo Estate Road, Akure, and many others, are there giving a befitting testament to his avowed commitment to work only for the people of the state.