While signing the Ogun State 2022 Appropriation Bill into law on December 29, 2021, Governor Dapo Abiodun, referenced the axiom of the late political sage and former Premier of Western Region, Chief Obafemi Awolowo that “after the rain comes sunshine; after darkness comes the glorious dawn.
There is no sorrow without its alloy of joy; there is no joy without its admixture of sorrow. Indeed, the people of Ogun have a legitimate reason to be optimistic about 2022.
The N350.7 billion 2022 Appropriation Bill was earlier presented to the State House of Assembly on November 30, 2021.
To underscore the synergy between the State Legislature and the Executive, the only adjustment made to the bill before being passed by the lawmakers was the reduction of the recurrent expenditure from the initial N172.997billion to N153.180billion, resulting in N19.816billion decrease, while capital expenditure was increased from N177.737billion to N197.554billion, giving an increment of N19.816billion.
Recall that the governor has in previous disclosures highlighted a clear template and deliberate action plan on how he intended to transform the state by implementing the “Building Our Future Together” agenda, hinged on the five developmental columns of I-S-E-Y-A: Infrastructure; Social Development and Wellbeing; Education; Youth Development, and; Agriculture and Food Security. The understanding of the governor, then and now, is that socio-economic development cannot occur without revenue mobilisation, massive infrastructural development and security.
In terms of investment opportunities, Prince Abiodun was keen on exploring the prospect presented by Ogun’s unique geographical location. To him, the state’s proximity to Lagos and its gateway status to the West African market through Benin Republic should propel the state into economic prosperity.
While Ogun has been buoyed by the sheer investment in road construction and rehabilitation under Abiodun, the governor is also ensuring that investment in infrastructure is not limited to road construction alone.
Technology, human capital and strong structural institutions are also areas receiving heavy investment as part of the socio-economic transformation value chain. It is worthy to note that, within Prince Abiodun’s first year in office, Ogun investment drive was already technology-driven, with tech and ICT hubs and incubation centres providing the necessary know-how to catalyse economic growth. The result of strategic investment in infrastructure as a panacea for businesses to choose the state as their preferred investing investment destination was there for all to see in 2021.
For instance, the Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC), in its 2021 second quarter report for investment announcement, put the estimated investment into Ogun State at $500 million, making the state the preferred investment destination representing 30 per cent of the total announcement in Q2. Lagos State, with $441.3 million worth of investment announcement representing 26 per cent, was second in the quarter under review.
The NIPC report showed that 14 projects were covered in the investment announcement in manufacturing, energy, information and communication, as well as real estate; areas evidently targeted in Abiodun’s I-S-E-Y-A agenda. Of course, road construction and rehabilitation constitutes the hallmark of the aggressiveness with which Governor Abiodun is going about infrastructure development.
Already, about 300km of roads have been constructed or rehabilitated so far, including the 42km Sagamu-Abeokuta Interchange and the 14km Ijebu Ode-Mojoda-Epe Road. Another 300km are at various stages of completion. Abiodun also promised 2,500 new housing units within four years and has delivered over 1,000 units, with another 1,000 ready for commissioning this year.
Transportation, healthcare delivery and social wellbeing are expected to receive big boosts as well. The implementation of the multi-modal transportation master plan will commence in 2022 with the launch of the bus mass system, while government will continue to rehabilitate and equip primary healthcare facilities, with the aim of ensuring functional health facilities in all 236 wards in the state.
“Oko’wo Dapo” is making a revitalised and revamped comeback in 2022 for the social wellbeing of traders, who constitute the backbone of micro and small enterprises in the state.
Having launched the biggest Information Communication Technology (ICT) hub described as an innovation focal point that provides ideal conditions for entrepreneurs to collaborate, flourish and accelerate the growth of their businesses, 2022 will witness investment in fibre optic cable to connect Ogun to the Internet Super Highway to enhance the Ogun Technopreneurship Programme (OTP) which has the crucial objective of nurturing high quality ideas in various industries to become tech-startups and Tech-SMEs.
Judging by the 2022 Budget of Restoration, healthcare, education and manpower will benefit from improved funding, provision of infrastructure and the prioritisation of welfare of personnel. There are reasons to be upbeat about the prospect of governance in 2022 in Ogun.
Even when the outbreak of COVID-19 disrupted economic and social activities in 2020 and better part of 2021, response in Ogun was swift and decisive. Although the pandemic created a setback, how the state responded and is responding to the situation led to a significant level of public confidence marked in the gradual return to normalcy experienced in the state.
Ogun has never been better positioned to stake its claim when it comes to collective prosperity and it is not hard to see why its government and good people are bullish about 2022.
Somorin is Chief Press Secretary to the Governor of Ogun State