By Bankole Taiwo, Abeokuta
Ogun State government said its inclusive and participatory policies has been extended to the grassroots. This, the Governor said, was done through the involvement of traditional rulers and community leaders in deciding the siting of projects in their respective areas.
Abiodun stated this in Monday while receiving in his Oke Mosan office, students of Course 44 of the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies, Kuru, Jos, who are on a study tour of the State.
The Governor, represented by his deputy, Engr. (Mrs.) Noimot Salako-Oyedele, said his administration was holding the people at the grassroots in high esteem, hence the need to seek for their inputs before taking action on issues that have direct impact on them.
“On assumption of office, this administration did the assessment of infrastructure deficit and we realised that we had over N9 billion worth of roads that had to be reconstructed, which was way more than what any government has at its disposal. So, we started to prioritise and systematically go through and started developing the roads.
“In doing this, we made sure we consulted the traditional rulers, community leaders, youth and politicians in the areas to find out which road is the most strategic, as we cannot do everything at once.
“And this speaks to your theme, ‘Strengthening Local Governance in Nigeria: Challenges, Options and Opportunities.’ We also put in place Town Hall meeting where regular meetings are held in all the three Senatorial Districts. This is where we engage all stakeholders including market men and women, trade unions, youth groups, artisans, community leaders and of course the traditional rulers,” the Governor explained.
He said over 400 Healthcare facilities including Primary Healthcare Centres, which were in various stages of disrepair, had been repaired and provided with required equipment to meet the basic healthcare needs of the people at the grassroots.
The Governor, who appreciated the students for choosing the state, pointed out that, “Your visit to the state is a testimony that things are happening here that people who are the policy makers in the country, people who are think-tank in various disciplines feel that we need to go to Ogun State, study what is going on there, pick the good and the one that can be improved upon and share the recommendations an observations with other states of the country.”
Abiodun noted that the ongoing development strides in the state was as a result of purposeful and focused leadership whose mission is to ensure that Ogun becomes a reference point and investors preference.
He added that all parameters that would help the state achieve this have inbeen encapsulated in the Infrastructure, Social wellbeing, Education, Youth Employment and Development and Agriculture (ISEYA) mantra.
“The State Government believes that the five items when developed will have an overall improvement in the standard of living of the people of the State,” he stated.
The influx of people from other parts of the state, according to the Governor was not without its problems, saying it has however increased the human capital, adding that road construction and housing projects were government’s strategy of generating employment to the large population and ensure good road network and affordable houses for the people.
Speaking earlier, the leader of the team and Director General of the Institute, Prof. Ayo Omotayo, said the participants who are from different states of the federation, were in the state as independent assessors to look at government programmes and achievements in relationship with the local government, a view to passing unbiased assessment and giving recommendations that would further help the state in its developmental agenda.
Omotayo advocated for a greater roles for the traditional rulers in local government administration, maintaining that the National Institute is out to serve the people and get the country to where it is supposed to be.