|Chief Dayo Adeneye, Ogun State Commissioner for Information & Strategy with his Principal, Gov. Amosun at a Public Event|
Otunba Dayo Adeneye is the Honorable Commissioner for Information & Strategy, Ogun State—South West Nigeria. The ex-Media baron cum On-Air Personality extra-ordinary has been in the saddle with his colleagues, working tirelessly with their boss, His Excellency, Senator Ibikunle Amosun (FCA, CON) in his golden effort to make Ogun State a model state before 2019. Governor Amosun who clocked 59 years on Wednesday January 25th, 2017 is one fastidous public servant who never rest on his oars as he leads his team from one project/innovation to another under his 5 Point Agenda initiative. And since Chief Adeneye took over as the Chief Spokesman of the state sometimes in 2015, it has been work, work, work and hard work. Penultimate weekend, the effervescent media guru turn politician gave your Africa’s Number 1 Celebrity Encounter blog, Asabeafrika a 30 minutes interview during a chanced encounter in Lagos. We asked him many things about Ogun State, his principal and the ongoing projects and success recorded so far across the state. He didn’t turn down any of our question as he replied all verbatim. He told us what makes his Principal, Governor Amosun thick as a political leader and a State Chief Executive Officer. Enjoy the excerpts.
|His Excellency, Senator Ibikunle Amosun (FCA, CON) Governor of Ogun State|
Sir, 2016 has been a very interesting year, economically. As the Chief Spokesman of Ogun State, what do you see the New Year 2017 offering the populace in terms of progress and development?
|The Map of Ogun State|
To God Almighty be the glory for grace to see another year. That being said, agreeably 2016 was a tough year everywhere. Economically, it was a tough year across the country, on the continent and across the world especially with mild recession here and there. We hope that 2017 will be much better as we aim to re-bound, recover and deliver the dividends of democracy by empowering our people, creating employments and find other ways to help cushion the effect of this recession. 2017 will definitely be a better year.
|Chief Dayo Adeneye, Ogun State Commissioner for Information & Strategy|
Your state is one of the states that have initiated lofty urban renewal projects in the last 5 years but 2016 seemingly slowed some of those projects down, especially the fly over bridges across the state. What will be the fate of these projects in 2017?
Despite the times, we still managed to get quite a lot done in 2016. The first two quarters of the year, you will recall that we were very, very, very busy. Yes, due to the mild recession and paucity of funds which affected national economy generally, there was a little bit of slow down on some capital projects in the state. But in other areas, we are just as active as you can think of. In Ogun State, we cherish standard. Remember that we have our 5 cardinal programs which are education, efficient health care delivery, infrastructural development, Agricultural development that leads to industrialization. So, these cardinal programs serve as the model for us. For instance, in education, we launched a couple of our model schools and also had summer camp in them. In 2016, Olabisi Onabanjo University was adjudged as the best state owned university. The Ogun State Ministry ofHealth was recognized and won several awards for some of our health initiatives namely ‘Gbomoro’ and ‘Araya’. That earned us the attention of the Federal Ministry of Health providing the basis to scale it up.
The Federal Ministry of Health wanted to see what we were doing right in Ogun State so that they can syndicate
the idea in other states of the federation. So, I can say we didn’t fold our
arm and go to sleep, saying ‘oh, because there is a lull in the economy, we won’t
do anything’. We have been thinking outside the box. We have been looking for
ways to continue to grow our IGR, and we thank God because of the innovations
that this administration had put in place since 2011 like our
which is an avenue to encourage and invite investors from across the globe to
the economic potentials of Ogun State,
investors have so far kept pouring in. We are getting partners from Germany,France and other international corporations that want to partner
with us to help us to continue to develop Ogun
State and we look forward to more of that in 2017.
|The Commissioner, Chief Dayo Adeneye taking a look into a program of event with his Principal at a Public Outing|
|Ogun State hosts an Investors' Forum from time to time|
Your state looks more like a state on a straight competition with Lagos in terms of rapid industrialization. Despite your humble IGR status, the state seems to have done well in terms of driving investors in. What is the secret of this dynamism?
|The Governor and The Strategy Commissioner during an outing|
I don’t think we are in competition with anybody; let me state that first and foremost. Yes, our neighbors are important to us. Lagos remains a commercial capital of Nigeria but Ogun state with over 500 industries established and over 111 situated in the state in the last five years, and most of them have invested between two hundred million dollars to two billion dollars. So, that is a lot of investment that is a lot of money. Those industries that are situated in Ogun State employ our people, they pay taxes. So, they add value to our employment generation scheme and wealth creation as well. We are not competing with any state, we continue to think up ways to increase economic development and generate employment for our citizens. Because of some of these structures for instance, we invested massively on security. Nobody will come anywhere without assurance, I am sure you yourself, you won’t want to visit any particular location whether it is Abeokuta or Sagamu, where you feel unsafe. So, we have invested massively in security. Our government re-jigged the security apparatus and the security architecture of Ogun state in 2011 when we came in. So, we pride ourselves in being a very secured state. We also have the human resources, what we call ‘the people’s power’ to work and power these industries. So, in a nutshell,we have the human resources these companies need. We have the available lands. All these factors have positioned Ogun in a very good position to attract all these investors.
|Ogun is 40 Years Plus...|
Sir, talking about security, it will appear that Ogun got it right in the townships and urban areas. But in recent times, there have been series of kidnap activities in the water bed areas like the recent Nigeria-Turkish International School kidnap saga at River-View estate, Isheri and other nefarious activities by kidnappers and criminals in the outskirts of the state. Is there any security plan to halt all these?
|Chief Dayo Adeneye explaining a point to His Excellency, Senator Ibikunle Amosun (FCA, CON)|
Well, like I said earlier, security is something we don’t take lightly. But you will agree with me that security strategies are like war strategies, you enjoy the result with a great deal of secrecy. For security reasons we cannot tell you that ‘this and this is what we have in place’. It is not everything about security that you can divulge to the public but I can sincerely tell you that our security agencies from the Police to the Army, the Civil Defense Corps down to the DSS, are all up to the task and they are situated in various parts of the state to maintain peace, law and order. Also, late last year we passed the land grabbers/kidnapping and cultism law. So, anybody who comes to Ogun state now with the intention of committing crime be it kidnapping, armed robbery or participating in any unlawful activity will have themselves to blame. If you come into Ogun state now and you want to conduct business, if you are peaceful and law abiding, you have nothing to fear.
are the things that have endeared Ogun
State to visitors. I mean, as a state, we have the highest record of visitors’
patronage every month. I mean, which other state do you know in Nigeria that takes in two to three
million visitors every month? Within that Lagos-Ibadan
Expressway axis you know the number of churches we have there and each of
those churches takes in a million to two million people every month. So, we
receive two to three million visitors and we have to cater for them. Your
security regime must be tight to be able to do that and if they don’t feel
secured, they won’t come. So, believe me, our security agencies are up to the
|The Ogun State Commissioner for Information & Strategy, Chief Dayo Adeneye in his Office|
Tourism seems to be another goldmine of Ogun state. Attractive places like the Olumo Rock keeps drawing investment on tourism on a yearly basis how have you been able to upgrade your tourism potential in other areas?
|His Excellency, Senator Ibikunle Amosun with one of Ogun State's illustrious indigene and first Nobel Laurette Professor Wole Soyinka with Chief Dayo Adeneye, Ogun State Commissioner for Information & Strategy|
Well, we are a state of many firsts. Like my governor will say‘we are Ogun State’and we have what we call ‘the Ogun Standard’. Look, many giants of nation building come from Ogun state. Former Presidents, elder statesmen, the first professor of medicine, the first noble laureate, the first woman to drive a car or own a car in Africa, the list is endless. From the biggest musicians you can name, is it Fela Anikulapo Kuti?OrYusuf Olatunji or Chief Commander Ebenezer Obey, they are numerous. When you talk about the theater industry, names like that of the late Baba Hubert Ogunde. So, Ogun State is so rich especially in terms of our culture and our heritage. We were the first state to have access to western education; we were the first to have a semblance of what is called political government under the Egba Confederation of those days. We have that pedigree, we have that heritage, and it is nothing new to what we are doing now.
|Chief Dayo Adeneye at Work...|
The issue of road network is another prominent issue for discuss. Most of the roads in the urban areas are solid and okay. But the outskirts like Sango-Ota, Alagbole and other border towns seems to be begging for attention. What is your government going to do to achieve a holistic success in road network across Ogun in 2017?
Thank you, all have seen what is going on in Aiyetoro, in Sagamu and Ijebu-Ode and the question is ‘please, when are you going to help us pay attention to the border towns like Alagbole, Akute and Sango-Ota?’ You will see that already, when you talk about Sango-Ota, Ojodu towards that channel, you will see that work started in earnest sometimes back. But however, because of where we found ourselves in terms of funds as a result of general economic lull things slowed down. But thank God, we have been getting some positive response and positive reach-out from some financial institutions that want to partner with us to help us continue our projects. So, by the special grace of God, we are certain of maximum achievements in those areas soon. Look, there is none of our projects you will inspect at least, you will see 60 to 70% completion which shows great determination to complete. As a matter of fact, early last year, the minister of transportation, Honorable Rotimi Amaechi paid a visit to the state, he actually came twice to confirm projects done by the State on behalf of the Federal Government and as at when he left, they were able to verify over a hundred billion naira of investment that the state has incurred on behalf of the Federal Government.
|Ogun State is a Standard State|
There is a raging perception that Senator Ibikunle Amosun is probably the most powerful and influential politician in Yoruba land at the moment. In fact, some sections of the media tagged him as one of the most influential Governors in Nigeria after the likes of Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State. How do you react to this perception?
|Senator Ibikunle Amosun....The Standard Governor of Ogun State|
Well, let me just tell you that the man is very fastidious. Look, he has a vision of where he wants to take Ogun State to, and from 2011 he has shown that in terms of the delivery of the 5 cardinal programs that I mentioned earlier. And he would continue to tell you if you ever ask; that that is his main area of concentration. It is to develop Ogun State and to bring Ogun State to the forefront in the comity of states across Nigeria. He wants Ogun not to just be the industrial hub of Nigeria but of West Africa. He wants our products and our foods to be exported, not just put security for Ogun state but for Ogun to be developed. He wants Ogun to be the next Dubai. He wants any of our cities in Abeokuta, Ijebu-Ode or Sagamu to be just like any city you find in Europe. He remains committed to that and because he has gotten that right, yes, his name has been mentioned in places outside the state which is a plus for us. It is a plus for Ogun State helping to attract the right people in terms of our partners and investors to Ogun State.
|His Excellency, Senator Ibikunle Amosun with Justice Dahiru Musdapha (Rtd)|
On Wednesday January 25th, your principal added a Year and even though it was a low key event people still talked about it. A lot of people see Senator Ibikunle Amosun as one workaholic of a man who does not rest on his oars, a man always wearing his long cap for long projects. But as a close worker how would you define your boss?
|Gov. Amosun, Speaker Yakubu Dogara, Ex-Speaker Dimeji Bankole and Chief Alani Bankole|
His Excellency, Senator Ibikunle Amosun that most people do not know is a family man to the core. He is very dutiful, that we know; he is a hard worker. He barely sleeps as far as we know. He walks great distances and he works longer hours. But beside that, he is a very compassionate human being. He is a very funny individual. Most people don’t get to see the funny side of him. But even in Exco ( Executive Coucil Meetings) when he sees that we are looking tired, he might just say something witty and we will break out into laughter session, making us feel a bit relaxed. He is a good leader. A good leader knows when to ease off tension and be tough. He is one person that leads by example. He doesn’t say ‘you, one, two, three, go and do it’. He says ‘Let’s go and do it’. Whether it is 12am orit is 1am, whether we are going to take a look at a bridge in Sagamu or we are going to look at one bad road in Lafenwa or we are going to Aiyetoro to inspect an infrastructure or we are going to a school where something just happened, he leads. He is always at the forefront. It is ‘follow me, let’s go’. And when you have a leader like that, you can’t help but buy into his vision and follow it through. I will rather follow a leader that says ‘do as i do’ not ‘do as I say’. And that is very, very important aspect of his leadership trait.
How do you think his legacy can be kept in Ogun after his reign? Like Chief Alani Bankole said recently during his 75th birthday that Senator Amosun is the Governor who brought peace and development to Ogun State?
|Governor Ibikunle Amosun (FCA, CON) with Chief Alani Saurau Bankole|
Well, government is a continuum and there is no human being that is indispensable. His Excellency will always say he wants to leave a system driven government behind. He runs a system driven environment where it is not just an individual that matters but a system of governance in place. Look at what transpired in America recently, if we can imbibe that, I don’t think Ogun State has anything to worry about. I think most of the things he has put in place, the structures, the system of government and all that will stand the test of time. I think it will be tough for the next individual that comes in, to just come and up root anything. Of course, the citizens themselves, now that they have tasted the good side of development, are not just going to go to sleep and let allow any individual in whatever form, maybe governor or whatever to rob them of what they have gotten used to. That being said, I think we will be okay in Ogun State. Senator Amosun is living behind a dynamic system that will be too sophisticated for anyone without his pedigree to undo.
|Gov. Amosun, Speaker Yakubu Dogara & Chief Alani Bankole|
What should Ogun People expect from the government in 2017?
We have a lot scheduled to happen in 2017. Just like I said, we are not saying because of dwindling revenues or because there is a recession and we are just going to go to sleep and surrender. There is so much lined up for this year like I said, we are going to start with our rural roads, and we are going to go back to our projects, roads, streets, the bridges and many more. It is going to be a very busy year. We are going to further upscale our health care delivery and launch more of our model schools. We have 15 so far, we are going to do even more by the special grace of God. That being said, we are concerned about our youth. There is a lot of unemployment and underemployment, especially among our youths. And from recent statistics, the youth constitute about 60 to 70% of our population meaning we must pay special attention to them, and this administration has done that through its commitments to education. We are one of the few states that spend close to 30% of our annual budget on education. In this wish we are going to be having our youth summit in the next couple of weeks called the “Ogun Youth Summit” where we are going to gather our youths and we are going to talk with them, we are going to call in mentors, entrepreneurs and people who have succeeded in business, People who can talk to them and give them guidance as to how to think outside the box and finding a way for themselves giving the tough situation that we have found ourselves not just as a state but as a country. That will also avail us the opportunity to also listen to our youth, to engage them and let us also listen to what they want. If a Mark Zukerberg can leave America and come to Nigeria, just because of this same youth, to take a look at what they are doing for themselves in Yaba there, it behooves us as a government to also get them together and hear from them. Let us know what they are thinking, where they are going, because it is their turn. We are going to hand over the baton of governance someday soon to them but we must empower them and put them in the right place so that they can conveniently take off and run this country when we are getting to our old age. So, we are going to have our youth summit and that we hope will set the phase for the betterment of our youth (The Youth Summit took place last weekend)
|Deputy Speaker Lasun, Governor Amosun and Speaker Yakubu Dogara|