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The Vanguard Feather In Akeredolu’s Cap

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By Ojo Oyewamide

Last Saturday was another day of glory for Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu. He was recognised as the “Governor of the Year” by the Vanguard Media Group, publishers of the Vanguard Newspapers. The feather was added to his cap at the Vanguard Personality Awards 2021. The event was held at the Convention Centre, Eko Hotel & Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos. It was a moment of joy and admiration when Governor Akeredolu and his wife, Arabinrin Betty Anyanwu-Akeredolu, stepped forward to receive the honour.

The award is a celebration of sterling performance and prudent management of resources. The Akeredolu government has recorded a remarkable performance in the area of infrastructural development, and it was this feat that attracted the attention of the Vanguard, according to the Newspaper’s deputy editor, Mr. Adekunle Adekoya. It was the opinion of the media group that the achievement couldn’t have been possible if the dwindling allocation and scarce resources of the state were not well-managed by the government.

The award was scheduled to be conferred on Governor Akeredolu on March 20, 2020. But the event didn’t hold. This was because of the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic. To contain the spread of the disease, the federal government directed that all events that would bring several people together should be cancelled. The 2020 edition of the Vanguard Personality Awards had to be put off in compliance with the directive. On Saturday, however, the 2020 and 2021 editions of the event were merged, resulting to the combination of winners of the awards in both years.

The event is an annual programme of the media establishment. It started in 2007/2008 as Vanguard Bankers’ Awards. It was later rebranded as Vanguard Personality of the Year Awards. The performances of key public figures and players in the private sector are put on the scale by the Newspaper’s Board of Editors. Those who are discovered to have performed outstandingly are honoured by the media group. The prime objective of the event is to encourage more performance.

Governor Akeredolu sees the award as a further call to render more outstanding services to the people of Ondo state. It is a well-deserved honour, considering the achievements of his government. The governor, in his speech, dedicated the award to the people. He seized the occasion to highlight some of the key projects of his administration. He mentioned the flyover at the Ore intercession. The project is an answer to the age-long incessant carnages and gridlocks at the Ore portion of the Benin-Shagamu Expressway. Since it was built and opened for use, it has saved a lot of lives, limbs and time.

One other project executed by the government that has prevented wastage of lives is the dualization of the Oke-Alabojuto road in Ikare-Akoko. Today, Governor Akeredolu said, there are no fewer than 44 construction sites in all the three senatorial districts in the state. The administration has constructed and completed over 300 kilometers of roads. About 220 kilometers are ongoing.

To boost the education sector, about 800 primary schools have been renovated, rebuilt or constructed with modern facilities. These modern facilities include solar power, toilets, perimeter fencing, computer facilities, furniture items for both students and teachers. The Akeredolu government has, in the last one year, paid the WAEC fees of students in public secondary schools. It also paid about N100 million as bursary to students in tertiary institutions.

The health sector is not left out. The status of the University of Medical Sciences, Ondo, has been upgraded by the government. Two new teaching hospital complexes in Ondo and Akure were established for the university. The number of Mother-and-Child Hospitals has been increased from two to nine. “Our 500 bed hospital facility under construction at the Teaching Hospital Complexes, Akure and Ondo City is another reference point,” the governor said.

The Akeredolu government has also made a significant impact in the areas of industrialization and security. The Ondo-Linyi Industrial Hub is the initiative of the government. The investment inflow of the hub is estimated to be over N20 billion. It is hosting a number of foreign businesses which have helped in providing employment opportunities. Efforts of the government to tap the abundant bitumen deposits in the state are yielding fruits. It has not left any stone unturned to ensure that the Port Ondo comes into reality. The state security outfit, Amotekun Corps, has done marvelously well in addressing the challenge of insecurity.

While presenting the nomination letter to Governor Akeredolu last year, the deputy editor of Vanguard Newspaper said: “In the south western part of the country, we noticed Arakunrin. We know the profile of Ondo State. It is in the public domain. Despite the dwindling allocation and scarce resources, the governor has been able to spread projects across the state. He added: “What we are trying to achieve is to showcase the prudent management of scarce resources.”

Governor Akeredolu has been thoughtfully managing the resources of the state. This is a function of his unusual sense of patriotism. And it is the reason why his government has been able to record a number of outstanding achievements. Recently, the federal government ranked the state first in Public Sector Accounting Procedures. The Sunshine state led other 35 states of the federation. The ranking is a heart-warming commentary on the transparency that characterises the management of the resources of the state.

One can say that his administration wouldn’t have recorded all the remarkable feats without the courage and candour of the governor. He combines the two virtues and enriches his government with them. He doesn’t play politics with issues that affect the state and her people. He doesn’t tell the people what they want to hear but what is the truth. He means what he says and says what he means. To him, governance is not a popularity contest. This is what explains his uncommon sincerity with the people of the state. His position on every critical issue is always known. He doesn’t sit on the fence or run with the hare and hunt with the hound.

*** Oyewamide is Senior Special Assistant to Governor Akeredolu on Media and Publicity

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