By Kayode Akinmade
On February 17, The Sun newspaper will roll out the drums to bestow on Governor Dapo Abiodun its prestigious Governor of the Year award. In a letter signed by its Managing Director/Editor-In-Chief, Onuoha Ukeh, the newspaper management said that the award was in recognition of Governor Abiodun’s strides in Ogun State. The governor, it said, had turned Ogun State into a huge industrial center while also improving its revenue base . Besides, governor Dapo Abiodun has embarked on massive infrastructural renewal of the state with rural and federal roads reconstruction in different parts of the state using global best standards in projects implimentations..
Still riding on the crest of his outstanding performances in office these past four and a half years, Prince Dapo Abiodun, a corporate icon and a political gladiator with midas touch will on March 4 this year wear the crown for the covetted Silverbird Television Man of the Year award. Earlier, the management of Silverbird Group had in a statement signed by Jacob Akinyemi-Johnson, Chief Creative Officer/Chairman Editorial Board, said Governor Abiodun had, since his assumption of office, contributed immensely to the advancement of the Nigerian society through his many laudable projects. “You were nominated because of the immense contributions you have made towards the advancement of the Nigerian society through laudable projects and schemes that you have embarked on and have subsequently impacted positively on the lives of Nigerians,” the letter said.
These awards certainly did not come by accident. Truth be told, Ogun state under Governor Abiodun has recorded so many firsts in human development indices and in terms of revenue generation. Only recently, during the presentation of the 2022 Annual States Viability Index Report in Abuja, the Economic Confidential, a subsidiary of PR Nigeria, showed that apart from Lagos, Nigeria’s economic capital, Ogun State is Nigeria’s most economically viable state. Pointing to the Gateway State’s status as Nigeria’s topmost investment destination after Lagos, the report showed that the Abiodun-led Ogun State out -performed Rivers State, which joined Lagos and Ogun on the list of economically viable states for the year 2022, along with Kaduna, Kwara, Oyo and Edo states. The report compiled from figures released by the Nigerian Bureau of Statistics (NBS) and the Federal Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) showed that while Lagos received the sum of N370, 921, 413, 425.62 from the Federation Account and generated N651,145, 633.085 as internally generated revenue, Ogun, on the other hand, received N113,404, 027,439.22 from the Federation Account and generated N120,548, 157,140.78 internally.
Indeed, it is a fact that since Abiodun’s assumption of office in 2019, the Gateway State has consistently ranked among the three topmost revenue-generating states in the country. Besides, the huge, unprecedented infrastructure outlay has made Ogun Nigeria’s top investment destination. And, what is more, the key deliverables in the state’s Budget 2024 will consolidate on the achievements.
That Ogun State now has one of the best airports in the country, not only for cargo but also for passenger traffic, is not fortuitous. By the first quarter of this year, the agro-cargo airport will be in operation. But the axis on which the airport is located is actually an aerotropolis (airport city) with a globally certified raw materials processing centre meant to enable farmers and importers get standardization for items scheduled for export. Already, the state government has held discussions with concessionaires that have shown interest in the project and are ready to defray all the investments of the Ogun State Government in the project. The money will be ploughed back into more investments in the cities and towns of Ogun State and after a period , the airport will revert to the state. The aerotropolis (airport city) is bringing in a lot of infrastructure into Ogun State. In terms of road infrastructure, there is no local government that the state government has not touched.
Besides, of late, the Abiodun government made funds available to all the chairmen of the local governments in the state for infrastructure development in their domains. The ease of doing business index in the state is high. And even though Ogun State has its own fair share of challenges in terms of crime given its proximity to Lagos, the efforts of the security agencies have reduced crime to the barest minimum. To a large extent, people in the state can sleep with their two eyes closed.
The governor has also promised that before the end of his tenure, the electricity outlay it is initiating will give stable power supply across the state. The Light Up Ogun State project is on course as Ogun becomes one of the first states to take advantage of the constitutional reform in electricity generation and distribution.
This is besides the resuscitation of water supply in Abeokuta, the state capital, and around the state. Given the continuous deluge of people-oriented projects, it was no wonder that in 2021, in recognition of his efforts to ensure rapid industrialisation, enhance the ease of doing business and make Ogun State Nigeria’s top investment destination, the Federal Government honoured Prince Dapo Abiodun with the Distinguished Award for Industrial Revolution.
The award, more or less, coincided with the confirmation by the National Bureau of Statistics that Ogun State, with its N100.9bn revenue profile in 2021, was one of the states with the highest internally generated revenue nationwide. Besides, in a letter dated 15th August, 2022 and signed by the Executive Director of NPHCDA, Dr Faisal Shuaib, Governor Abiodun was acknowledged for his “commitment and support towards improving the performance of Routine Immunization and other PH services in Ogun State and Nigeria in general.”
This, let us note, was quite apart from his investiture by Forbes Magazine as the winner of the 2022 Forbes Best of Africa Governor in Industrial Revolution. On that occasion, the governor said: “It is such an honour and incredibly humbling to be among the winners of the prestigious Forbes Awards for the year 2022, where I was named Forbes Best of Africa Governor in Industrial Revolution. It is yet another acknowledgement of our success in creating an enabling environment for investment, and providing democratic governance in line with our vision, not only in Ogun State, but also in Nigeria and in Africa as a whole.”
Actually, when you look at what has been coming out from Ogun State, the deep appreciation that the Ogun people have for the hard work and commitment of the governor and his administration becomes so easy to understand. The governor is so passionate about making Ogun State Nigeria’s investment and good governance capital. Looking at the plaudits from far and near, there is no doubt that the past awards and those to be received shortly have been so richly deserved.To be sure, most of these awards and laurels are open confirmation and attestation to the earlier recognition by the Federal government of Nigeria, when Prince Dapo Abiodun was presented with the best Governor for Industrial Revolution of Ogun state by former President Muhammadu Buhari.The state governor truly earns his eppaullets as Ogun state is fast becoming an iconic industrial hub in Nigeria. The state has become investors destination of choice going by the up- surge and astronomical rise in the numbers of foreign and local investors wanting to set up their companies’s operational base in the state.
Akinmade contributes this piece through firstname.lastname@example.org