Abiodun: When actions are above words

By Kunle Somorin

Ogun State governor, Dapo Abiodun, last week, made a statement about the way he chose to celebrate his 64th birthday and the first year of his second term in office. Casting off the usual owambe for which his people are known, he elected to share the dividends of democracy to underscore his conviction about action above words and that the renewed mandate thrust on him will be dedicated to consolidating the gains of the first four years.

Already, his quiet diplomacy with Abuja is yielding result as the quest of his quest to mainstream the state into the oil-producing hegemons. “We decided that we are going to resume exploration in the different Basins; we decided to come to Ogun State to reassure the people that we have very high potential of discoveries here. Ogun has always been part of the Dahomey Basin and our presence underscore the seriousness the federal government attaches to the exploration activities that we want to carry out in Ogun State,” said the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources (Oil), Heineken Lokpobiri who led other stakeholders in the oil industry, the Managing Director, SHELL Petroleum Development Company Ltd, Mr. Osagie Okubor; Chief Executive, Nigeria Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission, Engr. Gbenga Komolafe and the Group Chief Executive Officer, NNPC Ltd, Mr Mele Kyari “to tell the people of the federal government’s commitment to ensuring that we continue our campaign and exploration activities”.

Lush Arena

For me, putting actions above words in governance denotes focused and purposeful leadership, emphasizing the importance of tangible results and impactful decisions over mere rhetoric and empty promises. In governance, while dialogue and communication, may be crucial elements of leadership and mobilizing people, especially for a pauperized electorate, service above words, actions and policies implemented by government officials are truly the essence of democracy and they shape the lives, living and livelihoods of the people they serve. Adopting these principles dictates the need for leaders to move beyond mere lip service and actively work towards achieving positive outcomes for their constituents. This requires a proactive and results-driven approach to addressing pressing issues, enacting necessary reforms, and fostering sustainable development. By prioritizing action over empty rhetoric, leaders can build trust and credibility with their citizens, demonstrating their commitment to delivering real, measurable improvements in the quality of life for all.

More than the prospect of oil exploration, the way and manner Dapo Abiodun when without noise he commissioned roads across four local government areas and two senatorial districts in the State in a continuation of his pro-rural implementation of road infrastructure to mark the twin-event of his birthday and fifth year in office is heartwarming.  While it is undeniable that his government’s soar-away success on road construction by over 600 kilometres, earned him his electoral success in March last year, the commissioning of newly constructed roads set him apart from his peers as a man stingy with words but full of actions in terms of delivering the dividends of democracy.

More significant is his choice of rural roads the new roads in rural communities. It not only serves to ensure inclusiveness of the rural folks in the distribution of social amenities, it supports the agro and industrial activities in the areas of providing improved connectivity and addressing long standing challenges. Ogijo links Ogun to Nigeria’s economic capital Lagos in the East, while Owode-Yewa links up to Idiroko and the rest of the West Africa sub-region. The commissioning of the Sagamu-Iperu-Ode-Sapade road also speaks volume about how he has opened and connected the people of Remoland to not only Lagos and Ibadan but the rest of the country and reduced travel time.

Not done with rural road Governor Abiodun also in the spirit of the season announced that new road projects have been approved in six councils, including Ijebu East, Ogun Waterside, Yewa South, Ikenne, Ijebu North, and Odogbolu as part of his plan to ensure an all-inclusive transformation and infrastructure development across the state. These projects are a testament to Abiodun’s focus on infrastructure as a key economic enabler and his efforts to address the infrastructural deficit in Ogun State. The road developments are expected to open up the region for more economic opportunities and improve the quality of life for the residents.

Turning Ogun State to a construction site in this period of economic adversity reflects Abiodun’s commitment to improving public infrastructure that cuts across housing, information technology, agriculture, education, and health, and resolve to bring economic prosperity closer to people at the grassroots. That he has been actively involved in developing road infrastructure projects to enhance the state’s connectivity and economic growth is no news but that he remembered the long-suffering of the marginalized Yewa people is salutary.

Although over 600 kilometres of roads had been constructed and rehabilitated across the local government in the previous term, the governor turned to the rural communities of Ogijo, Ilaro – Iwoye – Owode and Iperu across four local government areas of Ikenne, Sagamu, Yewa South to ensure that the benefit from his programmes aimed at effectively addressing critical infrastructure, such as poverty, inequality, environmental degradation, and public health crises, demonstrating his government’s commitment to creating a better future for citizens and equal access to public utilities.

No doubt some sections of the state have been more favoured in the distribution of amenities. The worst hit are the Yewa people in Ogun West Senatorial District. The people heaved a sigh of relief when Dapo Abiodun commissioned the Ilaro-Iwoye-Owode Road which had been in a deplorable condition since 1991. The governor said the road was chosen as part of the celebration to mark the five years of his administration, emphasizing that his focus on infrastructure was due to it being a key economic enabler that attract investors to the State.

While commissioning the long-neglected 27-kilometre Ilaro-Iwoye-Owode Road, an excited Olu of Ilaro and paramount ruler of Yewa, Oba Kehinde Olugbenle sang a new song. The first class monarch who last year lamented that the people of the area had not felt the impact of the government in the last 10 years, saying: “I was not always happy with the last government whenever I was invited to other places to come and inaugurate projects. While here, it is only turning of the sod for eight years. I will go and dance with them in other places, while nobody has come here to dance with me to inaugurate a project.” Oba Olugbenle, however, said the Dapo Abiodun administration had been listening to the yearnings of the Yewa people as the people rejoiced at the inauguration of the road project which attracted the crème-de-la-crème of the political and business classes, including, former Governor Olusegun Osoba and the chairman Senate Committee on Appropriation, Senator Adeola Olamilekan.

Governor Abiodun has more good news for the Yewa people. According to him, succour would soon come the way of motorists and commuters plying the Ado-Odo/Abeokuta expressway. I’m sure the governor meant the Ogun state side of the Lagos – Ota – Abeokuta expressway. His government’s award of the contract for the reconstruction of the 63km road was part of his administration’s efforts to address the infrastructural deficit in the state, and win him more plaudit. This is quite altruistic for the section that gave the All Progressives Congress, APC, maximum success in the last election and the fact that there is no third term for him as governor.

“We have just awarded the Ado-Odo/Abeokuta Road (sic). It will be the most expensive road this administration has reconstructed. It is 63 kilometres. That road is the second busiest road in the country and extremely important to the economy of Yewaland, Ogun Central, and the entire Ogun State. From our industrial capital of Ado-Odo/Ota, it allows you to evacuate goods and services through that road to the hinterland. Those in Ado-Odo/Ota will go on that road through Papalanto, link the interchange, and you are there on the Lagos-Ibadan expressway,” he stated.

Governor Abiodun said his administration has built affordable houses in Ilaro and constructed between eight to nine roads in Ogun West Senatorial District in fulfilment of his promise not to develop one part of the State to the detriment of others, assuring that his government is working towards making the axis the food basket and cotton headquarters of the country through a strategic agricultural programme.

Understanding the need to speak less and act more is good governance, perhaps if others emulate taciturnity and embrace actions like Prince Abiodun and work more on the development of road and rural infrastructure achieving inclusive and sustainable growth, empowering communities, fostering economic development, and paving the way for a more equitable society, Nigerians would have less reason to groan and insult the political class that is fast losing its honour and relevance. As the world moves towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, the focus on rural infrastructure will remain a key priority, with the potential to transform the lives of billions living in the developing world.

The principle of action above words serves as a reminder of the responsibilities and accountabilities of those in positions of authority. While political speeches and promises can generate enthusiasm and hope, it is the concrete steps taken by leaders to uphold the rule of law, promote social justice, and foster economic growth that truly reflects their dedication to the well-being of society. By translating words into action, government. Furthermore, action above words in governance encourages transparency, accountability, and ethical behaviour from public officials. By prioritizing tangible results and transformative policies, leaders can ensure that their actions are aligned with the needs and aspirations of the people they represent. Moreover, a commitment to action over rhetoric also necessitates the efficient utilization of resources, the prudent management of public funds, and the avoidance of empty gestures that serve as mere political posturing.

In conclusion, action above words in governance is a fundamental principle that underscores the critical importance of tangible results, proactive decision-making, and meaningful change in the realm of leadership and public administration. By prioritizing action over empty rhetoric, governments can chart a course towards a more just, equitable, and prosperous society, where the well-being and interests of the people take precedence over mere political grandstanding. Ultimately, it is through authentic, substantive action that governments can earn the trust and respect of their citizens and make a lasting, positive impact on the lives of the people they serve.

Somorin writes from Abeokuta

FOOTNOTE: You want to share story with us? You want to advertise with us? You need publicity for product, or service, or   event? Contact us on WhatsApp +2348073463653 or email [email protected]

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Back to top button