The taste of the pudding is in the eating, says an adage. This statement aptly applies in Ogun State where Governor Ibikunle Amosun is into a fresh start. It is a new start, a new beginning for Amosun, who came into office four years ago with a promise that he would work for the people. Just like yesterday, a full term of four years is over. It has been four years of trials and triumph, pains and gains, challenges and consolidation. To cap it all, it has been four years of new things not only in Ogun State but also across the country and indeed the continent of Africa.
There were trials in putting up structures for the take-off of the urban renewal project of the Amosun administration but the triumph today is that we have a whole gamut of a successfully executed project that includes modern markers across the state to replace the unsightly traditional markets, the ones paved way for six lanes roads and elimination of street trading, well fixed roads complete with bus stop sheds and street lights, relocation of mechanics from the township and road sides to a facility that adds value to their trade, removal of the auto mart and construction of motor parks that compare with airports. There were pains in mobilizing funds for the MITROS programme.
The gains today speak volumes of a programme that has become a reference point in safe mother hood in Nigeria and indeed Africa because of its potentials to reverse the scourge of infant and maternal mortality in the continent. Empowering the various segments of the society; including the youths, women artisans, among others, posed great challenges. But today, the Amosun administration is consolidating on the three to four agricultural villages in the state that absorbed young unemployed graduates. The other strand of the consolidation of the agricultural villages is that it promotes food security like the one in Oke-Mosan secretariat in “Oja Irorun”.
For women, the administration is consolidating their empowerment courtesy of micro-credit facilities. There have been challenges in the education sector, which had been simply gone into dilapidation. The good news is that the governor is driving the sector with the vigour that makes the future bright. After all the children who are the beneficiaries of the revolution in the education sector are the future of the state, the leaders of tomorrow. Ultra modern structures in the guise of model and mega schools which is up to 26 in numbers have emerged across the state to replace the old structure. In place is an inspectorate agency that promotes quality.
The teachers are well motivated. They are among public servants in the state that earn the highest minimum wage in the country, among other incentives. Pupils and students are conveyed to and fro school free in shuttle buses, specially provided by government.
Last April, the people returned the governor for a fresh term that begins on May 29. The re-election was a statement by the people that they had absolute trust in him. The re-election was a statement that Amosun was a brand for good governance. Those in the minority who did not share this perspective challenged him in the election. He was mobilized against from within and outside the state. But Amosun had God the father on his side.
Unlike many politicians in this clime, who acquire power merely for the sake of it, Amosun did not come into office unprepared. He believes that power ought to be acquired in trust for the vast majority of the people. At every turn, he demonstrates that being in government means being the servant of the people, working for them and reversing the status quo that promotes poverty in the land and oppresses the people. He had a blue print that emphasizes bottom-top model of development, that is, the people ought to decide the kind of development that suits their circumstance. This contrast with the status quo that imposes the bourgeoisie understanding of development on the people, to actualize his mission to rebuild the state, he has had challenge the state quo. And, in doing so, he walked through land mines to get to his destination today.
Amosun started as a chartered Accountant and his career started in 1984 as an Audit Trainee with Messrs. J.A.A. Adeniyi and Co (Chartered Accountant). He later joined Lanre Aremu and Co. (Chartered Accountant), where he rose to become a manager in 1989; He was also with XtraEdge Consulting as a Senior Consultant. In 1999, through industry and passion for professional excellence, he became an Associate member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN). In the same year, he established the highly successful Accounting Firm of Ibikunle Amosun and Co (Chartered Accountants). In 2003, he was inducted as a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (FCA) and the Institute of taxation (FITN). SIA as he is fondly called stepped into the political space with the singular aim of giving back to humanity what he has been endowed with by God. He was elected into Senate, the upper chamber of Nigeria’s National Assembly, in April 2003, representing Ogun Central Senatorial District. While on the Senate between 2003 and 2007, he served in the following capacities; chairman, senate committee on commerce, member senate committee on foreign Affairs, Member Senate Committee on privatization and Member Senate Committee on Security and Intelligence.
A consummate philanthropist, Amosun’s generosity and quest to uplift others transcend the award of scholarships.
Amosun lived up to his status as a Distinguished Senator by amplifying the voice of the maces. He moved several motions and sponsored many bills on issues that touched on the day-to-day lives of not only members of his immediate constituency, but also Ogun State and the nation in general. He was particularly instrumental to some of the landmark reforms of the era, especially in telecommunications, customs and exercise and other strategic sectors of the Nigerian Economy. Some of these bills include: Local content solid Minerals Development Bills 2005. Fire Service Commission (Establishment), Bills 2005 and Income Tax Relief Bill for Sport Development, 2005. Even, his leadership qualities and outstanding achievements have earned him recognition nationally and internationally.
Amosun’s role in elections earned him a seat at the upper chamber as a Senator; it was his first opportunity to actualize his dream of using the privileged position of being in power as Senator to affect the lives of the people positively. Since then, Amosun has not looked back in the pursuit of good governance. At the advent of the Fourth Republic, he was in the forefront of the election of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) government, led by Otunba Gbenga Daniel in Ogun State. But he then parted ways with the PDP, following what was clearly the negation of internal democracy in the party, which said his group being sidelined by the leadership ahead of the 2011 polls. Subsequently, he moved to the All Progressive Congress (APC) where he joined forces with the party’s strengthen to emerge as the party’s gubernatorial candidate which he was won on the landslide victory.
Though, before he was contested for elections, Amosun believes that provision of amenities and social development cannot be left to government alone. He therefore instituted a scholarship scheme in 1986 several years before venturing into politics, which he later institutionalized by setting up the Senator Ibikunle Amosun scholarship foundation (SIASF) on Thursday 7 July 2005. He has awarded scholarship to over 2,000 students of Ogun State origin in various institutions of higher learning. A consummate philanthropist, Amosun’s generosity and quest to uplift others transcend the award of scholarships. He has instituted various other subsisting empowerment initiatives for trade groups, artisans, communities, women and other vulnerable groups in the society. His Alma Maters-African Church Grammar School, Abeokuta and Ogun State Polytechnic (now Moshood Abiola Polytechnic), also in Abeokuta – have benefitted from his generous disposition to give back to the society. He built and commissioned the Administrative Block at African Church Grammar School, among other similar gestured.
The state has not only become one huge yard where all manners of construction jobs are either completed or ongoing, it is also a big clinic where all the segments of the populace in dire need of medical attention are attended to. Large scale employment opportunities are provided for the teeming youths while affordable and qualitative education is back. Commerce is on the upswing. These are only a tip of the iceberg of the achievements of Amosun. As the governor begins a new mandate in another few weeks, he is upbeat. His information and Strategy Commissioner Mr. Yusuph Olaniyonu, giving an insight into the next four years of the Amosun government in Ogun State said; “Mr. Governor worked for the people during the outgoing tenure. He will definitely work in double portion in the new term”.
Only an incurable pessimist won’t believe this
A Political Analyst
Federal Housing Estate