By Abiola Ajimobi
It is with great joy and honour that I appear in this hallowed chamber to address another generation of our newly-elected State Legislators who have the mandates of our respective constituencies to constitute the 8th Oyo State House of Assembly and as partners ready to work further in delivering the democratic dividends to the good people of Oyo State. I congratulate you all honourable members-elect on your victory at the recently concluded polls.
I also seize this opportunity to reiterate my great admiration for the gallant and indomitable people of Oyo State including yourselves who defied all known distractions to break the mythical or contrived yoke of 39 years of “no Governor ever secured a second term at the Agodi Government House”. Our audacity to be different was not borne out of pride, but an insatiable quest to rewrite the course of history, a choice for quality, vision and good governance.
Distinguished honourable members-elect, permit me to reflect that in the past four years we have put in place honest efforts to prevent the spread of a retrogressive political system to our generation, and, today, I, stand on the threshold of the historic legislative chambers to bequeath a legacy of hope, peace, security, welfare, progress and development.
Honourable members-elect, distinguished ladies and gentlemen; the act of governance is a collective responsibility. Governance fulfils its purpose when the deliverables come on time, making their lives meaningful and worth living. Our vision is to make Oyo State a place where everyone could be what he positively desires and, in my unrelenting pursuit of this vision, I would certainly rely much on your legislative prowess and unlimited cooperation to actually epitomize and further trigger the change which our party preaches. This stance is no mere rhetoric. Indeed, in our first term in office, we have redefined the art of governance in Oyo State with catalogues of achievements.
I am not oblivious of the fact that three political parties – All Progressives Congress with 18 members, Labour Party 6 members and, Accord Party with 8 members have been elected to kick-start this 32-member 8th Assembly. It gladdens my heart to be part of this historic and unique occasion, more so being the first Executive Governor to inaugurate two successive Legislative Assemblies by virtue of the golden opportunity given to me by the good people of Oyo State.
During our first term in Office, we seriously pursued the tripod policy of Restoration, Transformation and Repositioning based on the identification of the State’s hierarchy of needs, which has engendered a high level of development witnessed in the State. Our commitment to peace and security has made the State to be very much secured contrary to the unpleasant, bitter and agonizing experiences of violence, murder, brigandage and other crime related vices which permeated the State before the advent of this administration. Consequently, the State has attracted investors including several foreign organisations and development partners resulting in the creation of many job opportunities.
The urban renewal policy has also greatly enhanced the aesthetic value of most of our cities. Infrastructural development was vigorously pursued and spread throughout the state. This has brought a multiplier effect on the economic landscape with an unimaginable and unprecedented 670% investment inflow into the State. The agricultural sector was given a boost with the supply of mechanized machineries and farm implements to guarantee food security.
The education sector was not left out. It was given a facelift with the implementation of tuition free education at basic and secondary levels, while tuition fees in our tertiary institutions were slashed when we came in 2011 to promote access to higher education by all and sundry. The number of tertiary institutions has been increased with the establishment of Oke-Ogun Polytechnic, Saki, Ibarapa Polytechnic, Eruwa and Oyo State College of Education, Lanlate; while the schools of Nursing and Technology, both of which were over five decades in existence, were upgraded to Colleges of recognized diploma status.
In appreciation of our achievements during our first term in Office, the people of Oyo State have given us their mandate for a second term. I, therefore, seize this opportunity to re-affirm that our government is poised to improve upon our earlier performance. We shall not disappoint our people, we shall do better. In our current term, may I highlight a number of our policy thrusts:
With the cities in the state being transformed into urbanized status, and Ibadan the capital gradually becoming a mega city as a result of population growth, it is envisaged that serious challenges will be experienced if we do not adequately plan ahead. It is therefore imperative to revolutionize mass transportation by exploring complimentary transportation system such as light rail. The preliminary stage has already taken-off.
Human capital development founded on quality education shall be one of our key purviews. Whilst intensifying the completion of the six model colleges to upgrade our infrastructure facilities to an acceptable global standard, we shall also require your support and understanding to encourage greater involvement of willing and interested stakeholders that are keen in collaborating in the Public/Private ownership and management of schools. In the same vein, this government shall also encourage the contribution by sponsors, including parents, in the financial responsibilities hitherto totally shouldered by government. These among others, shall go a long way to checkmate poor quality of performance of students in public examinations.
More emphasis shall be placed on Primary Health Care. Additionally, this administration shall further promote Health Insurance Scheme in the State an initiative that will capture both workers in private and public sectors, as well as members of the public that are self-employed who may voluntarily decide to join the scheme.
Further to our environmental developmental pursuit a more global approach to solid waste management will be adopted, even with the conversion of waste to energy as a major focus. The private sector participation is welcome on this.
In order to further consolidate our earlier investment in this sector, with the provision of mechanized facilities, we shall resuscitate and upgrade our existing farm settlements to produce more food, attract further revenue and value addition. We shall collaborate with local and international organizations and institutions to facilitate this.
(F) SOCIAL WELFARE
While recognizing the impact of our youth engagement policy via the 20,000 jobs created in the YES-O scheme, more focus will be placed on youth empowerment, provision of soft loans to enhance self employment and the development of entrepreneurial skills.
(G) RESTRUCTURING OF MDAs
It is critically imperative at this stage of our national development to further promote a merit-driven and enhanced service delivery culture. It is equally incumbent on government to reduce the cost of governance considerably. To this effect, this administration shall restructure the Ministries, Departments and Agencies.
In the last four years, the progressive government of our party (APC) adopted spatial development strategy whereby all zones of the state were targeted for basic social and physical infrastructure. As I did promise in my inaugural speech on 29th May, 2015; we shall definitely widen the scope of infrastructure development. With the assistance of the Federal Government, we shall reanimate the Inland Dry Port at Erunmu. At the same time, Industrial Parks will be established in designated centres to boost industrial activities. The State Government will pursue the upgrading in partnership with the Federal Government, the Ibadan Airport to a cargo airport status to further promote economic activities in the South-West Zone of Nigeria.
(I) INTERNALLY GENERATED REVENUE (I.G.R.)
In our bid to enhance the fiscal status of the State, a complete reengineering is desirable for our revenue base in view of the current realities. The current laissez faire attitude to revenue generation is undesirable. The Board of Internal Revenue will be repositioned for optimal performance. We shall also embark immediately on Land Reform programmes. Certificates of Occupancy (Co f O) shall be processed in record time while all abandoned and under-utilized government properties shall be redeveloped and remodelled to boost revenue generation.
Finally, Honourable members-elect, distinguished ladies and gentlemen, our desire to embark on the foregoing among others is borne out of our ardent desire to make life more abundant for the good people of Oyo State and for the State to attain the desired global status that she deserves. On this note the need for the Executive and the Legislature to cooperate and collaborate cannot be overemphasized. As affirmed by the late Political Scientist, Prof. Omo Omoruyi:
‘the deleterious consequence of a legislative arm of government pitched in battle against the executive and the paralysis such a battle causes both for the function of government and the overall development the state and its people must dictate rationality in behaviour on both sides of the legislature-executive divide’.
Long live Oyo State House of Assembly!
Long live Oyo State!!
Long live the Federal Republic of Nigeria!!!