For the people of Oyo State, the expectation of the All Peoples Congress (APC) governorship candidate, Chief Adebayo Adelabu’s governorship is rife.
Two reasons are there for the fervent lookout. In the first place, the people are curious about the shape of continuity that has eluded the state for 60 years since the first republic but which by Providence Governor Abiola Ajimobi was able to engender as he won historic reelection in 2015.
And on the other hand, the people could not just wait to experience the multidimensional prosperity the Adelabu government would usher considering his indefatigable posture that has been the talk of the town across the state and the country. The Adelabu score card has been like the opium of the people as it conjures high expectation akin to ecstasy among the people.
As this newsmagazine once observed, the people in the state have bypassed the 2019 governorship election to live the Adelabu governorship which to them is a done-deal. Certain features are clear about the Adelabu government. One, it is going to be a government on a run. It will be highly mobile, moving at the topmost speed.
Two, it is going to be truly a government for the people and will not be discriminatory in anyway. And three, for once it is going to be a government whose faithfulness will go beyond words of mouth. The big question now is that is the people’s optimism in order. It is definitely.
Economic expansion and inclusion is going to be apt strategy of the next Adelabu governorship in Oyo state with which the administration will precipitate widespread prosperity and restart a sustainable economic agenda similar to what obtained in the First Republic.
Already, he has come to terms with the reality that there is wide gap between the standard of living among our people and their European or American counterparts. He is determined to bridge the gap by investing in the economy. His perspective here is twofold: to aggressively increase the quantum of economic output of the state and democratize the opportunity for the people to participate in the economy.
His intention essentially therefore is to put all factors of production at peak performance which is the only way to get more goods and services available to the people. That is one area previous governments have missed it. This way, the Adelabu governorship is going to be the first in Nigeria to call attention to state gross domestic product (GDP) and make it part of our national narrative.
The beggarly posture of the state governors, their dependence on statutory allocations and perhaps also, the dearth of ideas on the part of the governors for harnessing the economic potentials have limited incomes available to the states to statutory allocations and IGR.
The Adelabu governorship will not be comfortable with that. Hence with or without restructuring, the people should be on the lookout, for a major economic reengineering that will return the state to the prosperity of the first republic that allowed the West to be the biggest regional economy in Nigeria.
Considering the fact that Adelabu’s core competence is the economy, he knows what to do, not only to revamp the economy of the state, but also enlist a scenario where Oyo emerges as the second largest economy after that of Nigeria in the West African sub region, a situation similar to what obtains in the US where the US is the world’s largest economy with the State of California following closely as the second largest economy in the world.
This is very practicable and the Adelabu governorship will achieve that notwithstanding the towering posture of Lagos State whose bulk of resources are direct taxes and charges and the oil producing states whose economies are buoyed solely by the derivation fund.
Adelabu is aware that in terms of potential, Oyo boosts of much more capacity for economic boom than Lagos considering the vast arable, cultivatable land, the immense mineral deposits and minimal water resources which experts agreed can be simulated and turned into money spinner in terms of waterways, fishing and tourism attraction, which Adelabu himself confessed he is passionate about.
It is interesting to note that every zone in the state has a river or a stream. As experts have agreed, the fact the state is prone to flash floods suggests the fact that the water banks and the bed can be expanded and deepened respectively and made economically viable.
The Adelabu governorship is aware that with the proper agricultural management, Oyo State has no business being poor, hence it is committed to genuine revival of agriculture through the resuscitation of the Marketing Boards and the development of the vast value chain through agro based industry will be the major driver of his economic expansion programme.
This is because agriculture, which has the capacity for mass employment giving its value chain, remains the pivot for the economic development of the state more so as it can get the end users of agricultural produce to actually finance the farmers and encourage them.
However the only way the state could drive agriculture again is for state government to resuscitate the Marketing Boards which would in turn provide the needed interface between government and farmers for genuine revival of agriculture in the region.
Having known the problems agriculture portends, the Adelabu governorship is aware of the need to bring technology to boost the sector and get the government and the private sector to participate in it.
This is going to entail a careful combination of individual farmers, whether small scale subsistent farmers or the large scale mechanized farmers and investors who are going to invest in the processing and logistic value chain, the synergies that will make the state attain its potential in food production.
The other side of his economic revamp plan will be to key into the industrial blueprint the Ajimobi administration has in place. There is already an industrial hub to which hundreds of foreign investors will soon arrive with their investments which will boost GDP and offer employment.
The administration is going to bank on opening up the rural hinterland for economic integration. The target here is to link the economic integration of the locality to the mineral resources available to it. If the Igbeti marble could have attracted national attention since 1980, it goes to show how much wave the state can make if its diverse mineral resources can be aggregated, having entered into clear understanding with the federal government.
Oyo State is perhaps the state with widest array of mineral resources with the highest quality. Resources from the state have been diversely exhibited across states in the federation and adjudged topmost in quality. This is one sector the Adelabu governorship is not going to look away from. It will go the whole PR hog to secure federal government cooperation for this endeavour.
His plan to encourage a 24 hour economic life in the state through an active night life is another move to maximize the state economic output and generate another round of working hours.
Knowing that the state can get people to improve their natural power by good education, the education sector is another area the Adelabu governorship will make the state do critical investment so that the state can reenact its historical advantage in the education sector and sustain its competitive edge.
He is aware that since first republic, education has been at the heart of government bargain with the people. In seeking to reposition education to drive development, he is resolved to deploy boldness of resolution, disciplined planning and brilliance of strategy to go the whole hug to consider uncommon options.
The aim here is to make the West the educational hub for West Africa in line with the Qatar model which made that country the center of learning in the Middle East.
Hence the Adelabu governorship will be giving bold thought to the return to classical free education policy as handed down by the founding fathers which coincidentally involved his own grandfather, Alhaji Adegoke Adelabu.
The fact that Adelabu brought in a critical dimension that free education is not only in the interest of the people but of the government as well is one reason the people trust him and crave his administration. He has made it clear that primary and secondary education will be free and that fees at the tertiary institutions such as the polytechnics, colleges of education and the universities shall be reviewed to reflect affordability and viability. What marks him out here is his open declaration that scholarship, bursary and student loans would no longer be mirage but accessible realities.
He is going to domesticate and strengthen the learnt now, pay later packages that make education accessible and pleasurable to students in foreign universities. It is there and then that the state can begin to examine how it could redefine education and deploy it to resolve the problem of graduate and youth unemployment in the state.
In this regard, the Adelabu governorship will be able to impress it on the state’s education planners to ensure that curricula emphasized entrepreneurial contents rather than the literacy function of reading and writing.
He is also bringing a whole revolution to redefining the teaching profession, teacher training and teachers’ social status. Education has become problematic when the least qualified in the joint matriculation examination are those admitted to the Colleges of Education and the Faculty of Education in the universities attracts the least cutoff point in the admission process.
All these predispose the teachers to poor psychology and lower their public esteem. The Adelabu governorship is coming up with a strategy where the best of candidates go for teaching. This will be achieved by redefining the status of teachers in Oyo State in such a way that teaching will be most lucrative in the state.
In the next admission season, the State Colleges of Education may insist on 200 cut off mark for its admission with the Adelabu governorship introducing certain incentives that will attract candidates to the institutions. The bottom line is that until we get our best to be teachers, the standard of education will continue to fall and it will be difficult to get education drive development.
Security is going to be another brilliant aspect of the Adelabu governorship. As they say, once beating, twice shy. Hence Oyo state cannot imagine going back to the era of wanton insecurity that hitherto pervaded the state in which death and destruction of property were commonplace.
This was probably the reason they shouted down one of the state governorship candidates who said he would suspend the state security levy introduced by the Ajimobi administration. The people put their trust in the Adelabu government to sustain the security strategy of the Ajimobi administration having being part of it in the first place.
Adelabu is the chairman of the state Security Trust Fund that is devoted to enhancing the operational capacity of the state security apparatus. It has continued to equip and put to operation hundreds of operational vehicles of the task force.
Already, security architecture in the state has moved from manual policing to outright technology. The introduction of the CCTV monitoring center has taken security in the state to the next level. There is no doubt that the Adelabu governorship will expand the surveillance across the state and eradicate, once and for, all incidences of violent crimes and breakdown of law and order in the state.
Social services will be the fourth leg the success of the Adelabu governorship will stand on. This consists of healthcare, recreation, transportation, youth, and the environment. Regarding healthcare, his position aptly captures the former US President Obama’s health programme the Obamacare whose thrust is the preventive/primary Medicare which comes generally free.
The health policy will capture the low and moderate-income families. If the policy is good for Americans at their level of social development, how much more is it for Oyo people? Again we see Adelabu bringing courage to bear upon policy as he goes down the memory lane to bring back the dispensaries and the maternity centers will complement the primary health centers (PHCs).
While the dispensaries, for instance, will bring healthcare close to the people at not more than 2-km distance, the maternity centers will enhance maternal healthcare and stem the maternal death rate.
The two institutions will nonetheless be technological outfits capable of appropriate medical delivery. Technology is one thread the Adelabu governorship intends to run through all cadres of its health facilities from the dispensary, maternity center, PHC, general hospital and the referral hospital run by the state-owned universities.
The transport sector is another area the people repose confidence in the Adelabu governorship for innovation and relief. While the federal government is busy linking states with standard gauge rail line, the Adelabu governorship will be connecting towns, the hinterland and the cities with narrow gauge, light train to move people, farm produce and other bulks from place to place.
The environment constitutes a major challenge to the state. The people are however happy that the Ajimobi administration has contained the devastation of the flashing floods the kind that ravaged the state in 2012. The people are not in doubt that the Adelabu governorship has leverage for pursuing a pragmatic environmental agenda.
Besides that, considering his global outlook, the Adelabu governorship will key into the world e. environment agenda. In spite of its intention to industrialize, the government will take note of the need for cleaner air.
Regarding the youths, the Oyo next Governor, as the people refer to him is aware that the absence of a clear policy on youths has stalled the capacity of the Nigerian youths to optimize their potential. This has put the largest and most critical segment of the nation’s population under duress. Realizing this, the Adelabu governorship has clearly analyzed that the youths need broad support for education, job training, medical coverage, teen-pregnancy protection and marriage counseling.
Consequently, plans are there to invest in deliberately crafted youth policies and programmes that will engage of the youths in innovative businesses through government-backed loan scheme and channel them into efficient and prosperous adulthood.
The 2019 governorship election in Oyo State is no longer a probability. The electorates have certainly made up their minds based on the veracity of the available facts before them. The people are aware that little or nothing is known about the other candidates but the searchlight has sufficiently beamed on Adelabu.
The more the searchlight beams on him, the more the voters have a full glimpse of him and make up their minds on him as their next governor.
Written by Olawuwo Adesina