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Akeredolu’s footprints in Ondo

By Maria Famakinwa

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Though Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu is dead, the achievements recorded under his leadership at repositioning the State continue to speak. He was an outstanding governor who implemented wide-ranging infrastructural and socio-economic programmes that have transformed Ondo State. He has undoubtedly left indelible footprints on the sands of time. He immortalized his name through the successes recorded in security, infrastructure, agriculture, health, education sectors and workers welfare, among others.

  His  indelible imprint in securing the lives and properties of his people speaks volume in the formation of Amotekun.

On  January 9, 2020, the Southwest Governors Forum, chaired by the late Governor, founded the security network which they code named Southwest security outfit to combat  insecurity in the southwestern region.

In a country where state and regional policing has been termed unconstitutional, Akeredolu stood his ground and championed the establishment of Amotekun to address the security challenges in the six  South-West states.

The exploits of Amotekun Corps, since inception, cannot beover/emphasised, as it has brought succor to the good people of Ondo and other SouthWest states in the area of security.

Ondo State Amotekun, in less than four years of its creation, boasts of apprehending over 7,000 criminals across the state, with at least 1,500 charged to court for various offences.

According to the pioneer State Commander, Akogun Adetunji Adeleye, this has led to a decrease in crime rate by more than 95 percent and peaceful co-existence between farmers and herders.

The security agency has also been working together with other law/enforcement agencies to flush criminals out of their hideouts. a classic case was the combined effort of Ondo State Amotekun, the police, military, vigilantes, local hunters, and Agbekoya, which led to the arrest of over 21 suspects linked with the killing of three Yoruba monarchs and the abduction of some school pupils and their teachers in Ekiti State recently.

Infrastructure

On infrastructure, the late Governor also changed many road outlooks across the state  Speaking last year February on the gains of his administration late Governor Akeredolu said: “A little above 100km of road construction are ongoing across the state. Our infrastructural drive has been phenomenal. In the last six years, over 294.11km roads have been completed while a little above 100km are ongoing across the state. Our determination to leave the state better than we met it and bridge the infrastructural gap has yielded impressive results.

“Despite the giant stride recorded on road construction in our first term, we didn’t rest on our oars as we are still dotting the landscape and initiating new road projects. For instance, we have commenced work on Igoba township road. Similarly, work is about to start on Ajagba – Iju Osun – Akotogbo road. The Agadagba – Pereama road is completed and awaiting commissioning, same as Igbobini – Igbotu township road. We have also concluded arrangements to commence work on the Agerige road.

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“In pursuance of our commitment to the REDEEMED agenda of our administration and our desire to leave a good legacy, we commenced the construction of a betting Governor’s Lodge in our second term. Today, the Lodge is near completion and it is our hope that the laudable project will be commissioned in few months’ time.

“In the last six years, we have made bold footprints in the infrastructural sector. Another landmark testimony of our commitment to infrastructural development is the 250-bed hospital we are building in each of the Ondo and Akure complexes of the University of Medical Sciences Teaching Hospital.”

Agriculture

Another sector of life in Ondo State where Rotimi Akeredolu’s administration  recorded commendable achievements is in the area of agriculture. The administration had hit the ground running shortly after it was inaugurated.

His government reactivated afforestation projects in the state, especially the 10,000 hectares of the state afforestation projects sited at Omotoso in Okitipupa Local Government area. The project, a public-private partnership with Wedgewood, a Chinese company is worth N20 billion, had employed more than 1,000 youths in the state.

The administration of Akeredolu had so far undertaken the disbursement of over N210 million to farmers’ Co-operative societies in the state under the FADAMA Scheme. This was also in addition to the distribution of 1,000 metric tons of fertilizers to farmers. Importantly, Akeredolu’s administration had also mobilized 35,000 farmers in Ondo State to date under the Anchor Borrowers Scheme. Amongst the government’s feats in the agricultural sector is the acquisition of two ethanol plants for cassava processing and commencement of the production of lawyer’s wig.

The administration had likewise distributed 450,000 cocoa seedlings and 25,000 Brazilian cashew seedlings to farmers in the state. These efforts showed Akeredolu’s dogged determination to return the state to its leadership position in cocoa farming in the country. It had also established a Mass Rice Production Project in Igbara-Oke, in Ifedore Local Government Area through the rice cultivation to the milling of 37,500 metric tonnes processing capacity.

Similarly, Ondo State, before Governor Akeredolu’s assumption of office, was strictly a civil service state, which could barely boast of any operating industry, but the story has changed now. The state can now boast of an industrial hub that houses 15 different companies. The industrial hub is a public-private partnership arrangement between the state government and Linyi City in the Shanghai Province of China.

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This initiative has given birth to what is today known as the Ore industrial park where 15 major companies have resumed production. The industrial park is an integral city that is offering quality service and an enabling business environment that is stimulated with ultra-modern facilities and infrastructure. The park is strategically positioned to become one of Nigeria’s premier economic industrial zones.

The industrial park came into existence after a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between the Ondo State government and the Linyi Municipal Republic during Akeredolu’s visit to China, where he signed six different Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) with the Linyi Municipal Republic in China. Some of the companies  at the industrial park are the Cassava/Ethanol Plant, Agrochemicals, Papermills factory, Medium Density Fiber Board, Plantation, Textile Industry, and We-wood.

Naturally, the plant is providing a window of employment opportunities for the youths in the state. More so, the required one million tons of cassava every year translates to more money for cassava farmers in the state, and the company is even prepared to assist cassava farmers in getting multiple harvests yearly.

The Ore Industrial Hub has already rewritten the history of the state industrially, setting it on the right footing. About 20,000 direct and indirect jobs are expected to get generated when the hub begins operations at full capacity. Besides the companies that are already operating at the industrial park, two other companies are set to begin operations; one will engage in milk production while the second one is setting up a motor assembly plant.

The assembly plant will be the first of its kind in the country as various parts of automobiles would be imported for the assemblage at the park. The industrial hub located at Omotoso on the Benin/Ore Expressway clearly portrays the hope of a better future for the state.

Health

The late Governor also recorded success in the area of health with the commissioning of  the State Contributory Health Commission’s  office to improve the citizens access to good and qualitative healthcare in June 2019. He disclosed that efforts were in top gear to continually employ qualified personnel for primary, secondary, and tertiary healthcare facilities, adding that shipments of several containers of hospital equipment worth billions of naira had been brought into the state from the United States.

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He said, “We employed and have continued to employ qualified personnel for our primary, secondary, and tertiary health care facilities. We equally brought in several containers of hospital equipment worth billions of naira from the United States.

“Again, we established Teaching Hospital Complexes in both Akure and Ondo city as well as established the Contributory Health Insurance Commission among other achievements that are well known to most of our health sector practitioners in the state.”

Civil Service

Upon assumption of office in February 2017, Governor Akeredolu assured workers across the State that the unpaid seven months salaries arrears owned by his predecessor would be paid. The late Governor did not only fulfill this promise  to workers but also paid pensioners and cleared the backlog of gratuities owed the forgotten retired staff of Owena Press Ltd. Not only this, pensioners in the State get their pension allowances as and when due as the civil servants in the State enjoy regular training and promotion as expected which help to motivate workers in the State.

Besides this, Governor Akeredolu approved the payment of the N35,000 palliative wage to workers in the State thus becoming one of the few governors who paid in full the approved wage to workers.

Education

The Ondo State Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, reiterated that education remained one of the top priorities of his administration, adding that he would not relent in ensuring that the sector was given the best.

Since the inception of his administration, no fewer than 600 schools were renovated to enhance the standard of learning of pupils in the Sunshine State.  Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo state said his government would continue to give priority to education in the state to ensure meaningful development in the state, saying his administration has expended huge investment on education in the last six years.

 According to the governor, education is the only way of escaping poverty, which alarmed his administration at inception with the deplorable condition of things in the University, especially in terms of roads, buildings and other essential facilities connected to a conducive learning environment.

 OAUSTECH, which used to offer courses only in the School of Science, has added courses in two additional schools: School of Engineering and Engineering Technology and the School of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources.

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