Opinion

Ogun West: Senator Yayi And A New Deal One Year After

By Kayode Odunaro

Having won an unprecedented number of votes that almost doubled that of his closest rivals, Senator Solomon Adeola (APC Ogun West) was not in doubt as to the massive support he got in a highly transparent election. It was a victory foretold based on his antecedents as a legislator elsewhere and the ‘representation’ in form of projects and empowerment accomplished in the senatorial district even before he became the senator representing the district.

Not surprisingly the majority of constituents that voted for him have been gloating over the places based on the senator’s dedicated fulfilment of his electoral promises that remains unprecedented and unrivalled not only in the history of the district but indeed across the nation. The accomplishments of the grassroots politician go beyond the laudable physical projects and various empowerment facilitations, important as these are in an area that had suffered untold neglect and marginalization.

The senator has touched on the psyche of the people to give them a sense of belonging, not only in the state but in Nigeria. Through his good office, the senator, in an unprecedented feat brought over half of the 109-Member of the Senate led by the President of the Senate, Senator Godswill Akpabio to Ilaro, the headquarters of the district for a programme that afforded the senators opportunity to assess first hand the challenges of a marginalized district. The people of the district also rejoiced that such a powerful delegation became their august guests, an event unheard of in the history of the district. It was a prophetic Senator Akpabio that rooted for the district producing the governor of the state in 2027 to address the challenges he witnessed on his way by road from Lagos to the venue of the event with a promise to assist in the development process going forward.

Shortly after the visit and still with the year under consideration, Senator Adeola also brought Deputy Senate President, Senator Barau Jubrin and other senators to join him in his unprecedented three-day empowerment programme of scholarships/bursaries, financial grant for 5000 market women and empowerment of trained 15,000 women and youths with equipment and seed fund as well as empowerment of security agencies, health care facilities and educational institutions with vehicles.

It was an impressed Deputy Senate President that glowingly stated that the constituents of Senator Yayi can never question his representation in Abuja adding that what he witnessed in terms of equipment for trained constituents has gone beyond the word ‘Mega’ to what the Americans refers to as “super-duper” empowerment!

For any unbiased observer, Senator Adeola in one year has brought a new dawn to Ogun West that is appreciated by all including his erstwhile political traducers and cynics. In his core mandate as a legislator, he has sponsored a total of 10 bills, some of which had since passed the first and second reading stages in their move towards eventual passage. They include “The Nigeria Railway Corporation(Amendment) Bill 2023”, “ Federal College of Geological and Cement Studies, Iselu Yewa North, Ogun State(Establishment) 2023” , “Institute of Chartered Accountant of Nigeria Amendment Bill 2023”, “ Bill for An Act to Establish Federal University of Technology , Ilaro, 2023”, “Bill for an Act to Amend National Commission for Women Act CAP N23, LFN 2004”, “ Bill for an Act to Amend the Niger Delta Development Commission Act No.6,2000”, “Bill for An Act to Establish Certified Pension Institute of Nigeria , 2023”, National Institute of Border Studies, Imeko, Ogun State (Establishment) Bill 2024”, “National Energy Bill 2024” and “Agricultural Processing Zones(Establishment) Bill 2024”.

He has also sponsored motions that became resolutions of the Senate namely, “Motion on the Urgent Need to Suspend Restriction Order Places on Supply of Fuel to Border Communities”, Motion on the Urgent Need for Palliative Repairs and Total Reconstruction of Lagos-Ota- Abeokuta Express Road” and “ Motion of Urgent National Importance to Address the False Allegation Against the Senate and Presidency on the 2024 Appropriation Act by Senator Abdul Ningi”. Beyond these personal sponsorships, as the chairman of the Senate Committee on Appropriations, he has presided and midwifed the passage of budgets of the nation including the ongoing 2024 Budget which was passed in record short time to ensure the January-December budget cycle is sustained.

But it is in the area of infrastructure that visible and quantifiable positive changes have been recorded in a year of Senator Adeola as Ogun West senator. In one of his outing at Ilaro, the senator had pledged to make Ogun West a “small London” by the end of his 4-year as their senator. From the infrastructure he has so far attracted and completed for use through his facilitation of Federal Government and constituency projects, his constituents are sure that he is set to fulfill the pledge. So far, over 100 projects including roads, school buildings, Police Stations, Primary Health Care Centres, Intensive Care Units (ICU), Information, Communication and Technology (ICT) centres and town halls have been constructed and ready for use.

A breakdown of the infrastructure projects that cannot be listed individually here for brevity includes construction of 19 roads of various length with culverts, construction of 13 new 12 Classroom Blocks with staff rooms and libraries and construction of 7 ultra- modern town halls spread across the five LGAs of the senatorial district. Others are construction of 4 Primary Health Care Centres, now handed over to Federal Medical Centre, Abeokuta as outreach stations as well as construction of 3 Intensive Care Unit (ICU) centres in hospitals, construction of 3 modern Police Stations handed over to the Nigeria Police Force and construction and equipping of 3 ICT centres in different locations of the senatorial district. Also, as at the last count, Senator Adeola has facilitated the supply and installation of over fifty 500KVA Electric Transformers for various communities with their energization to bring light to some areas that have been in darkness for upwards of over a decade.

As stated earlier, it is in the area of direct empowerment of constituents that Senator Adeola stands out as a progressive development agent for his constituents. After training in various vocation and skills acquisitions lasting weeks in such areas as Fashion Designing, Leather Works, Interior Decoration and Event Planning, Fish Production, Confectioneries and Cake Making, Hair Dressing, Solar Energy and Agric-Value Chain among others, beneficiary numbering 15000 were giving equipment and seed fund to start their businesses. The equipment were worth over N2billion while start up grants of between N80,000 and N150,000 totaling over N1billion were disbursed. Similarly, 5000 market women were empowered with N50,000 each to boost their trades and end the ravages of loan sharks dependency. In addition, Senator Adeola facilitated scholarships and bursaries for 1532 undergraduates with university undergraduates getting N200,000, polytechnic undergraduates getting N180,000 and college of education getting N150,000.

Other institutional beneficiaries of the senator’s facilitations includes 5 hospitals that got modern ambulances in 5 LGAs, 3 Patrol Vans Nigeria Police Force Area Commands in the district, 5 Agro Mechanized Tractors for each LGAs, 2 Commuter Buses for School of Nursing, Ilaro and Ogun State Institute of Technology, Igbesa, 30 mini buses as empowerment for some constituents as well as Federal Polytechnic, Ilaro and OOU Campus , Aiyetoro, and 30 Tricycles for selected constituents. Indeed, Senator Barau, the DSP, was not patronizing when he dubbed Senator Adeola’s empowerment alone as “super-duper” in magnitude. The infrastructure provision facilitated so far can easily follows similar description.

As the senator continues what is unarguably effective representation unheard of in the district and elsewhere, an equal number of facilitations of projects are already ongoing at different stages, with a promise for more empowerment of constituents in their thousands as was done in the first year in office. Indeed, his popular slogan of “effective representation continues” rings true. In all event the senator is addressing most of the challenges he saw during his campaign and made promises to address. His one-year tally certain shows that his pledge of a “small London” is well on course for Ogun West before the end of 4 years.

kayodunaro@hotmail.com

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