By Temidayo Akinyele
The gig economy is empowerment. This new business paradigm empowers individuals to better shape their own destiny and leverage their existing assets to their benefit.” — John McAfee
Four years ago, Prince Dapo Abiodun came to office amidst massive hope and expectation from the people of Ogun State that here at last is a leader who would stop the slide and guide Ogun to progress, development and the realisation of her destiny. The mood all over the state, at the time he took over, was, incontestably, euphoric. And now, after almost four years, it is even grandly euphoric.
Since the dawn of this new era, Ogun State has not remained the same again as it has continued to witness progress in leaps and bounds, courtesy of the strategies, tactics and operations of the governor, whose passion for serving his people especially and humanity at large is primus inter pares.
Within a period of just four years, Abiodun has not only succeeded in bringing Ogun State to national and global consciousness, he has also managed to deploy deft diplomacy and gubernatorial activism to attract all the goods and gains that had eluded the famed state of scholars and industrialists for several decades. From relative obscurity (that the previous administration has plunged the state into) in state and national affairs, it is nostalgic to the true sons and daughters of Ogun State that their beloved state has attained global prominence as they often behold their governor standing shoulder to shoulder with all those who matter within and outside the country. Now Ogun is back on the radar and bagging awards of excellence!
As facts are known to be stubborn and good works unable to be hidden, the serial development in the economy of Ogun State has led to the recognition and conferment of numerous awards on both the state and Abiodun lately. Since awards are rewards for excellence, the state has moved from being on the shelf to having numerous awards on its shelf. And the most recent award is “Forbes Best of Africa’s Governor in the Industrial Revolution.”
The Forbes Award on Industrial Revolution is coming barely a year after President Muhammadu Buhari conferred on the governor “The Best Governor in Industrial Revolution in Nigeria.” In other words, that an award in the same category has come to the governor within and outside the walls of the country is a testament to his administrative brilliance and visibly commendable performance in Ogun State.
That Abiodun has attained another milestone is actually not an honour to him but a reminder that there is hope for Nigeria and a role model for the leaders, both current and future. As many colours make a rainbow, there are many values and virtues that make Abiodun tick. Do we talk of his infectious simplicity, his transparent honesty, his charismatic leadership, his legendary self-discipline, his moral probity, his remarkable dynamism, his admirable generosity, his administrative excellence, his native intelligence, his famed industry or unfaltering patriotism? His statement after receiving the award confirms the aforementioned, he remarked, “This is yet another acknowledgement of our success in creating an enabling environment for investment, and providing democratic governance in line with our vision, not only in Ogun State but also in Nigeria and in Africa as a whole. “Like they often say, the reward for hard work is more work, so we will continue to be relentless in the implementation of policies, programmes and reforms to sustain the actualisation of our vision, and increase our ranking on the global Ease of Doing Business index. “As the Chief Marketing Officer of Ogun State, I am inviting you to come and invest in the Gateway State, and you would find us ready, willing and worthy partners”.
Bagging a Forbes Award is no mean feat and it is bestowed on whom it evidently befits. Forbes Award is exclusively conferred on individuals and corporate organisations with a distinguishing touch of excellence in their various endeavours. It is an organisation that recognizes individuals with value of purpose, integrity and innovative business approach for the overall interest of humanity. To affirm the credibility of the award, the chairman of Foreign Investment Network, FIN, Olayinka Fayomi, organisers of the event, said that FIN in partnership with Forbes has for decades identified emerging economies in Africa seeking investors and have exposed those investment gaps to Forbes Billionaires and international investors. She added that: “Over the years, Foreign Investment Network has worked together with Forbes Best of Africa to attract quality Foreign Direct Investment, FDI, in Oil and Gas, Aviation, Agriculture, Health care, Education, Infrastructure to the continent of Africa.
Truly, Abiodun’s policies and programmes that are steeped in accelerated actions are revolutionary and productive. This is visible in the state’s economic performance cum industrial development which has facilitated inclusive growth and job creation in the state. For example: The phrase “Building Our Future Together” that is constantly used by his administration is situated in collective efforts as the highway to economic breakthrough and good governance. To successfully implement the aforesaid, the administration has been empowering people economically by creating different schemes of empowerment for different social classes— especially those who are involved in micro, small and medium enterprises as most of the people who fall in the aforementioned group do not have access to financial resources for the growth of their businesses from conventional financial institutions because of the stringent conditions attached to it. Consequently, the current administration in Ogun State created the Oko’wo Dapo scheme to empower the women and youths to increase their prosperity.
It is noteworthy that in the entire process of poverty alleviation, financial inclusiveness and creating economic prosperity, the majority of the people in SMEs do not need huge funds and resources for their enterprises. With available micro credits, the beneficiaries of Oko’wo Dapo have been able to run their micro and small businesses, earn a decent living, and provide food for themselves and their families.
The Abiodun administration is one that holds sacrosanct, the mandate of the electorate. And as his many handiworks speak, one good turn deserves another. If he could have cleared a massive mess he met with his first term, it simply means his second term would turn Ogun into the destination of investors in Nigeria— total development on all fronts.
Overall, one truth is clear: Dapo Abiodun takes no half-measures when it comes to proclaiming, projecting and transforming his state and the people of the state stand firm behind him. Indeed, the governor is a noiseless achiever.
• Akinyele writes via Temiakins4@gmail.com
Source: The Nation