Ondo @48: Make Ondo a model – Gbonigi, Arogbofa, others urge
By Jubril Bada & Bukola Olamona
Eminent personalities in Ondo State have challenged the political class to build on the good legacies of some former governors of the state notably that of late Pa Adekunle AJasin and make it a model for other States in Africa.
They maintained that Ondo state can achieve greatness and actualize her founding fathers dreams.
However, they posited that the political leaders must have the fear of God and pursue collective interest rather than personal interest to achieve this.
Retired Bishop of Akure Anglican Diocese, Bolanle Gbonigi,elder statesman, Basorun Seinde Arogbofa and the State Chairman of Afenifere, Chief Korede Duyile declared this while reminiscing on the occasion of “Ondo State @ 48”, in separate interviews with The Hope.
Ondo State was created on February 3, 1976, by the military administration of General Murtala Muhammed, having been carved out from the old Western Region.
According to them, although the state had left where it was when it was newly created, it is yet to get to where it should be in terms of development.
They stressed that government should continue to be at alert to ensure that the vision and mission of the founding fathers are not derailed, but remains the guiding principle of the political leaders.
The eminent personalities also challenged the political class to build on the good legacy of the former governor of the state, late Pa Adekunle AJasin, saying if this is genuinely done, the state will be a model in Nigeria and also in Africa.
Bishop Gbonigi who appreciated God for keeping the people of the state together in peace, also charged leaders to shun corruption, and always protect the interests of the citizens rather than parochial interest.
The retired Bishop noted that much still needed to be done to take the state to greater heights and achieve the dreams of its founding fathers.
“We are still alive together, and Satan has tried to divide us. But the God who is our creator, King, Lord has been with us. We thank God that we are still together and God will continue to be with us.
“It has not been easy at all but everything is easy with God. God has been providing for us. His provisions provided water for us to drink, food to eat and good clothes to wear. Let’s forsake sins and return to God. Don’t let us want things for ourselves alone but for others. Don’t let us seek things for ourselves alone, but seek things for all of us together”, he added.
Also, Basorun Arogbofa who called on those at helm of affairs not to allow personal aggrandisement to destroy the fabric of the system, further advised them to work more on critical areas of governance including education, road infrastructure, Health, job creation, Agriculture among other critical sectors.
He said it should be more of quality than quantity, adding that if things are not taken seriously, especially education, ignorance will set in.
According to him, good roads would also help in the agriculture sector as this would facilitate easy transportation of farm produce to the market and boost food production.
On his part, another elder statesman and former Commissioner for Education in the state, Chief Femi Aluko who said the leadership has tried their best also called on the people of the state who he called followers to ensure that those leading them success, just as he charged leaders to always be contented like late Pa Adekunle AJasin, who he said was contented with what he has while in office.
Also speaking, the state chairman of Afenifere, Chief Korede Duyile, explained that economically, the leaders have not done enough in the area of industry as some industries created and financed by government during former Governor in the Old Ondo State, Chief Adekunle Ajasin, were now moribund.
“In term of economy, we have not done enough. For example in the industrial aspect, we have not been where we should be at all. From 1979 to 1983, some improvements and industrial projects were made but where are they today”, he added.
The former Education Commissioner who noted that little has been achieved in the education sector of the state said the three government universities with numbers of private universities and other institutions still need improvement and expansion through financial commitment to the level that will affect the life of ordinary citizens.
Duyile further added that Ondo State as a top state in cocoa production in the South-West needs more improvement in cocoa output, and investment in other agriculture related projects for self-reliance in food production.
Self-reliance in food production, he pointed is essential as the state should not rely on foods from northern part of the country.
Most importantly, Duyile said there is problem of security as people could no longer sleep with their eyes closed or travel for the fear of insecurity.
While commending late Governor Akeredolu-led administration for initiating South West Security Network codenamed “Amotekun” in the state, the elder statesman said this has gone a long way to reduce insecurity.
The security network ,which, he said is yielding positive results under the administration of Governor Lucky Aiyedatiwa needs more government support for its personnel to secure permission in carrying arms for effective service delivery.
While calling for the need to prioritize social amenities, he said life will be more meaningful to ordinary citizens if social amenities can be available as it used to be when the state was newly created.
He, therefore, called for the need to improve the Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) of the state, and the restructuring of the country for each state to have control over their resources for maximum use for development