‘Amosun didn’t neglect border towns’
The five cardinal programmes
Governor Ibikunle Amosun has impacted a number of areas in Ogun State positively since he became governor in 2011. Across the state, you will notice the massive infrastructural investment. Various industries have sprouted up in the state. This month we have over 300, which have now made Ogun the industrial hub, not just in Nigeria but also in West Africa.
The Amosun-led administration focused on five areas, which we call ‘The Five Cardinal Programmes’, like affordable qualitative education, efficient healthcare delivery, increased agricultural production leading to industrialization, affordable housing and urban renewal, rural and infrastructural development creating employment.
We have done so well in those areas. Just a couple of months ago during ‘Ogun at 40’, we commissioned over 40 legacy projects. 13 world-class model schools, hospital units, numerous roads, flyover bridges and so on. We are very proud of what we have done so far.
Alleged neglect of Border Towns
I don’t think that is a fair allegation. People say that but I must say that we’ve approached development from a number of places like infrastructural development. We had to open our roads for industries to generate Internally Generated Revenue (IGR). If we don’t open our roads, the industries are not going to stay because they need to move their goods and services. Most of the people who live in the border towns are my friends. They live in border towns but work in neighbouring states. They pay their tax; do shopping and other things in those states. It is only when they return to their various homes in Ogun that they remember the roads are bad. I always ask my friends who live in the border towns what they have invested in Ogun State. As a matter of fact, our next phase of work is targeted at those border towns.
Even the wastes they generate have to be picked up by Ogun State. You want good roads; electricity but you don’t pay your tax to Ogun State. You have to contribute your quota and help the government to serve you better.
Payment of salaries and pensions
Ogun State has been able to pay salaries to workers up to date. I am not saying this to defend the government, but stating a fact that Ogun is one of the few states that have been able to keep up with salaries as when due. How many States has been able to do that? We feel the pulse of our dear workers and hope to continue doing our best.
On pensions we have to approach this with fairness. Amosun’s government met on ground backlog of pension areas. Government cannot give what it doesn’t have. Before, this administration came in, the previous administration was receiving 10 to 11 billion naira Federal Allocation but we are getting five to six billion naira and it has further depleted to 1 billion naira.
Ogun State has the highest salary wage bill in this country. We are also one of the few States that pay above the minimum wage. The total number of public and civil servants and political appointees is less than 50,000. The population of Ogun State is a little under 8 million. If we collect N1 billion and pay almost N9 billion every month, that means we need additional N8 billion to be able to pay salaries. When 50,000 people are consuming almost N9 billion, what is left?
Promise delivery from Amosun
I will not say a 100 per cent but this government has done tremendously well and the records are there. As a result of this, he has received many awards. Recently, he won four awards. He was given Governor of the year for being able to pay salaries and take care of its workers and infrastructural development.
In 2011, Ogun State was rated 29, in terms of ease of doing business by the World Bank but three years later the World Bank rated Ogun among the top five. We have thriving industries, GDP in terms of products produced in Nigeria, employment generation and other great achievements. Due to employment generation, our IGR has gone up and that is why people are able to pay taxes. We have been able to pay salaries because this administration has invested massively in infrastructure. This government has been able to provide affordable healthcare and other things. We are a work in progress and still pressing on.
Amosun’s achievements in the area of communication
We have made great impact and trying our possible best to see to it that the Amosun’s Administration work. We serve as a link between the government and the governed. We disseminate information on a timely and needful basis. We are looking to revamp our media arm – OGBC and OGTV to meet with the digitalization age, which we hope to achieve in 2017. OGTV is already part digital. We are on standard transmission as we speak. Our staff is being trained on digital broadcasting.