So now that Ondo state has a full term - widely acceptable - government, I figure, I'd like to keep tabs on the going ons and going outs, out there. in the sunshine state.
So now that Ondo state has a full term - widely acceptable - government, I figure, I'd like to keep tabs on the going ons and going outs, out there. in the sunshine state.
And let's wake up to the sun (shining on this thread of course) with this beautifully worded SPek-SCial assistant's prose :
Akure and the Mimiko project
Akure is an old town no doubt. Hundreds of old buildings in such places as Iro, Oke Aro, Arakale, Idi Agba Titun, Oke Aro and many like them tell the story of a town that has been there for a long time.
Akure is an old town no doubt. Hundreds of old buildings in such places as Iro, Oke Aro, Arakale, Idi Agba Titun, Oke Aro and many like them tell the story of a town that has been there for a long time. Small, made of mud blocks and showing signs of use and in a few cases dilapidation, these parts of town reflect the side of Akure that many would want changed. But that is not all there is to Akure.
Akure is also a modern town. It is the capital city of Ondo State; Dr Olusegun Mimiko’s Ondo State. It is accessible from Osun State through Ilesha, reachable from Edo State through Owo, linked to Kwara and Kogi States via Akokoland. More than these, it has its share of economic activities as exemplified by the presence of banks in their tens.
In the tens of hotels dotting Akure, the new and imposing structures in Alagbaka, Alagbaka Extension, Ijapo Estate, Oba Ile Estate and indeed other new settlements and satellites locations adjoining Akure, modernity in a quiet and sublime way is eating away at the ancient character of Akure.
And that is the least expected of a state capital. Sadly however, the road network in Akure is still far from modern. It is not in the absence of tarred roads that this fatal flaw is most reflected. It is also not in the fact that some efforts have not been made by past governments to correct some of the obvious anomalies in the structure and layout of this city of promise.
The flaw is that the major road in and out of the town, which is also the major commercial centre of the town, has been abused and defiled over the years. The problem with Akure is that Oba Adesida Road, the road from Cathedral to Fiwasaye Junction has become the commercial hub of the town. Worse, this road has become an all-comers road: open to irregular and illegal development; street trading of the most blatant type and abuse of all known rules in signage and extension. In fact, Oba Adesida Road in Akure has become the face of Ondo State that has been battered by years of abuse by all.
Not too long ago, the Oja Oba Market was redeveloped albeit in some hazy deals involving the then government, the Local Government and some private concern. Instead of chancing on the opportunity however to address the cosmopolitan dimension to the Oba Adesida Road conundrum, the effort merely compounded it. The old Market was extended closer to the road; there were no new arrangements for traders and patrons of the market to park their cars.
On the other hand, the Central Mosque on the other side of the road kept expanding and the once narrow road became narrower. Before our very eyes, Oba Adesida Road became the Oshodi, (remember old Oshodi?) of Akure. Everyday from 7.00am to 7.00pm, this part of Akure becomes a beehive of activities for man, machines and all in between.
Traders capitalise on the traffic gridlock that has become a perennial reality to trade first on the median and then on any available space on the road. What followed is that all roads connecting Oba Adesida to Arakale Road, another thoroughly abused motorway, have become markets for those who care little about the aesthetic of the town and the free flow of vehicular traffic.
In the unending melee occasioning the ensuing racket, fraudsters, pick pockets and others of unsavoury disposition have cashed in on the man-made problems that is Oba Adesida Road. Indeed the face of Akure has become an ugly face barely worthy of its status.
Now, there seems to be an attempt to change all that. It is coming in the form of the urban renewal initiative of the Olusegun Mimiko government of Ondo State. Feelers from Akure this early in the year are that the plans are beyond the proclamations of old; the media hype of the immediate past. Now, Akure is in for a facelift.
It is becoming obvious now that when Governor Mimiko created the Ministry of Urban Development, the first thing he had in mind was to make a true capital city out of Akure. The Housing Estates initiated along Oba Ile and Oda Roads were designed to take pressure off the city centre and then create avenue for the re-development of the clogged and over-developed city centre.
But that is just one part of what is obviously a bigger plan. The major part lies in getting the band of sellers that have taken over the major roads to organised, modern and healthy environments where they can be free to carry out their legitimate trades without continuously assaulting the elegance of Akure and its potentials to draw in new guests and investment.
The way out was simple yet difficult. Simple in the sense that there are several markets scattered around Akure which have either been abandoned because they were not made conducive for humans, or because sellers just feel they were too far from where it is all happening. Difficult however because the illegal users seem to have grown accustomed to the disorder that they created out of Oba Adesida Road and are not ready to let go easily.
As a way out, Governor Mimiko identified some of the existing neighbourhood markets and mapped out new ones. In a space of four months, he has reconstructed several of them. In two locations, new modern markets were constructed from ‘scratch’. Modern facilities like stores, toilets, security posts and lock-up facilities have been provided.
Before this, a thorough headcount of shop owners, illegal occupants of road medians, and street traders along Oba Adesida and the adjoining streets have been done and ‘particulars’ of the targets well documented.
Now that the markets are ready, activities of the Mimiko government has been revved up on Akure. On local Radio and TV, street traders are being asked to prepare their final exits from the highway. Owners of illegal extension are being advised to pull them down. Those who have turned all available space on the road to advert spaces and locations for illegal sign and bill boards are being told to call it a day. The essence of it all is to give ample opportunity to those who will be affected to minimise their losses and embrace the palliatives on offer.
Above all these, a contract for the reconstruction of the Oba Adesida Road with Asphalt overlay has been awarded. As the Governor Olusegun Mimiko team attempts to displace the old order in Akure, it is also bent on emplacing a new and modern order where the good of the greater majority will be the concern of all; an order that will turn Akure into a neat, orderly and beautiful place for both its residents and many who will soon make Ondo their destination for leisure and business.
• Akure is indeed set for the Mimiko intervention.
Akinsola is the Senior Special Assistant to Governor Mimiko on Print Media
If there is anything that should worry, It is the reality that,
the spek-shial wife of the executif gofano of the state,
is all over the place now / lately / consinstently /
sounding / posing / showing / more and more of the
Maryam Babangida Syndrome.
Wish someone would remind her, she is first a wife, and no more ?
Hear her here http://www.vanguardngr.com/2010/01/1...en-healthcare/
Someone needs to get a proper shower, and a clean faced, face to face memory upgrade.Quote:
Mimiko’s wife to focus on cancer, women healthcare
Jan 14, 2010
By Dayo Johnson
AKURE—WIFE of Ondo State Governor, Mrs. Olukemi Mimiko yesterday unfolded her pet project which would focus on breast, cervical cancer and women health care.
Mrs. Mimiko said in Akure that women would be empowered to respond to the pandemic and be able to contribute to the economic situation at home. According to her, “if a woman is not healthy she would not work and contribute to the economy of the society.
Mrs. Mimiko pointed out that as a mother, she wanted to go to them and feel what they are feeling and be able to find solution to their problem.
“I want to appeal to our women to take their health seriously as this is an integral part of their lives. Let me also say here that health is important and central to the well being of the people”, she said
The wife of the governor, however, urged the women to be intimated with their body system to detect whatever ailment that may occur and to seek immediate medical attention.
She said her pet project would centre on the health of the women in the state and assured them that their wealth would also receive attention
The youth according to her, would not be left out saying, “we will go to schools and have family meetings with them and talk to them to let them know that we care and love them.
We will get their heart and be able to bridge the gap, thereby helping a lot of them to take good decision”.
She called on parents to talk and listen more to their children and wards instead of giving out orders adding that children should be allowed to contribute to the running of the homes thereby making them feel loved.
“When children do not have a say in the house, peer pressure set in and this could be disastrous. Parent should create more time for them than wasting it away on unnecessary things” she noted.
Mrs. Mimiko said “fathers should take the boys out while the mothers should take the girls out or vice-versa. Befriend your children, and this would save a lot of them from the social vices rampaging the society these days”.
She commended the First Lady and wife of the Former Military President, late Mrs. Mariam Babangida for drawing attention to the potentials of women in the country saying that whatever is happening to women in the political arena today is the handiwork of Mrs. Mariam Babangida.
The Wife of the governor called on women who have the heart to care to take up the challenge of politics and impact on the lives of others adding that women who have the calling should not hesitate to come and turn around the face of politics in the country.
Another carnage... Another shock horror. Another loss, of hope in the midst of so much promise.
13 Die In Ondo Accident
Written by Gbenga Sodeinde, Akure
Monday, 18 January 2010 20:24
No fewer than 13 persons have been confirmed dead in a ghastly motor accident that occurred at about 8 am yesterday at Oka area on the outskirt of Ondo town in Ondo State, why several others got injured.
Eye witness account has it that the accident occurred when a truck with the registration number XW 969 APP, which was coming from Ore end of the road collided with an 18-seater bus with registration number XK 444 AKR, which was said to have loaded from Akure town and was heading towards Lagos.
The driver of the bus was reported to have overtook other vehicles which were moving on the same lane with it, before it swerved to the other lane where the truck which was loaded with building materials was coming from and had a head-on collision with it in the process.
When LEADERSHIP visited the scene of the incident, the wreckage of the two vehicles was still on the spot, while several residents of the town who trooped to have a glimpse of the incident were seen discussing the accident in groups and relatives of the victims crying and wailing.
Some of the victims who were rushed to the Akure Speacilist Hospital were still in danger list, while one of the victims was said to have been referred to Ife University Teaching Hospital for treatment because of the severity of the injury the victim was said to have sustained.
The Divisional Police Officer in-charge of Enu-owa Divisional Police Station, Mr. Oyibo Shuaibu Suleiman, confirmed the report of the incident.
He added that the remains of the dead passengers which include five adult females, four males and three children have been deposited at the Ondo Specialist Hospital morgue, while those who sustained injuries were taken to the emergency ward of the same hospital.
The PPRO, however, disclosed that the driver of the truck was arrested and detained.
Meawhile, some N1.5B to be invested in what seems adegbemile-house all over again....
Daily Independent (Lagos)
Nigeria: ODSG Unveils N1.5 Billion Events Centre
17 January 2010
Lagos — In its determined drive to boost tourism and attract more investors to the state, the Ondo State Government last Monday performed the ground breaking ceremony of a N1.5 billion International Cultural and Events Centre (The Dome) at Alagbaka, Akure.The project, which is expected to be completed in five months, sits atop a 34-hectare land space.
The Ondo State Governor, Dr.Olusegun Mimiko, stated this in an address he delivered at the ceremony.
According to him, the need for the construction of the centre became imperative as a result of the unsuitability of the banquet hall inherited from the past administration in addition to its proximity to an office complex, which disrupts office duties. He added that the conceptualisation of the centre was also informed by its small size.
Mimiko pointed out, that there was an acute need for a much bigger hall, than the existing ones with limited capacity. He said that from the perspective of commercially exploring dominant trend these days for ultra-modern events packaging, the Dome should be a veritable source of revenue to international, federal agencies, professional bodies, non-governmental organisations, private concerns, among others.
The governor said that apart from the Dome's appealing aesthetics, it would be constructed with the latest in building technology called 'valmex mehatop F fabric', and it is expected to sit 2500 people, have a spacious car park and boast a general ambience redolent of the new Ondo State.
In his remarks, the Chairman of Dream Media Network Limited, consultant to the project, Mr.Modupe Adetokunbo, said that by the time it is completed, first time visitors to the state would have no other choice but to come again and again to behold the masterpiece, adding that the location of the Dome would certainly bring about enormous economic activity to the residents of the area and beyond.
According to him, the Dome will have fabric wall instead of the conventional brick. He was quick to add, that a major attraction of the project would be the complimentary facilities that would be put in place.
'These' he continued would include a five-star hotel, a massive car park a head room of about five feet in height, which is equal to a five-storey building, thereby making the Dome one of the best in the world.
The TPT helmsman said that 'Our frame structure and super-durable fabric come with 14 years warranty. They maintain their unique appearance even under extreme climate conditions and over long periods".
He further said that Freedomes structures and fabrics meet very restrictive safety regulations in terms of wind, rain, high temperatures and fire resistance.
Explaining further, Tokunbo said that the chosen fabric - Valmex Mehatop F is a heavy-duty membrane made of multi-layer composite material that can last for many years.
Some of the characteristics of this fabric include: Resistance against high temperatures and weather impact water and dirt resistance and as a result, lower degree of contamination, reduced penetration of fungi and pest into the membrane, proved cleaning characteristics.
He said that s the proven PVDF paint on the outside and has two layers of acrylic paint on the inside.
According to him, it is often used to partially cover large permanent structures such as football stadiums, adding that Freedome will have plywood flooring for pedestrian use of 815m2 total area.
He also said that the Dome would last for 50 years no matter the harsh weather condition that it might be subjected to, adding that this in itself, makes the Dome a very unique edifice
Adetokunbo said that four companies from Canada, Germany, Poland and China will be involved in the construction of the Dome.
He submitted that for such a massive project, the issue of maintenance was germane to the sustainability of the Dome; therefore, its maintenance would be outsourced.
According to him, the initial maintenance would be undertaken by foreigners who after some time, would hand over the maintenance to indigenes after having been trained by the foreigners.
He pointed out, that this development would definitely empower the locals and thereby enhance their economic potential.
Building a school for the sake of the buildings ? :eek.
Mimiko plans N354.7m model school
From Tunde Raheem, Akure
Friday, January 22, 2009
Photo: Sun Publishing
More Stories on This Section
Worried by the poor state of infrastructural facilities in public and secondary schools in Ondo State, Governor Segun Mimiko yesterday flagged off construction of the “Caring Heart Mega Primary School ” in Akure, the state capital.
It is specially designed to compete favourably with standard private schools in the country.
The model primary school will also accommodate 1000 pupils on completion, have a computer room, music room, art gallery, demonstration farm and sports centre.
Performing the ground breaking event, Dr. Mimiko said his administration decided to construct modern day school buildings in the state because public school system was gradually going into a state of irrelevance.
He noted that one of the policy thrusts of the present government in the state was the provision of free and qualitative education for the citizenry, especially children of primary school age, through massive investment in the restoration of existing structures in schools.
The Governor added that the project, which will gulp N354.7 million, was designed to rectify the imbalance from the source and enable children of the less privileged to have access to qualitative education just like children of the elite.
He said: “In the education sector, our administration policy is informed by extant realities that are being projected into the foreseeable future.
“As it is, only a very small percentage of public school graduates ever make it to good tertiary institutions with the result that education, supposedly free in conception, becomes in reality, heavily skewed in favour of the rich, who can afford the commercial fees of the private schools.
“Our intervention to forestall this ugly trend employs a holistic approach that recognizes and proffers solutions to the fundamental dysfunction and archaism in expecting today’s public schools to be competitive in this age of cutting–edge technology.”
He urged public spirited organizations and well-meaning indigenes of the state to join his administration by contributing their quota to the development of basic education in the state.
T[B][U]housands apply for Civil Service jobs
Thousands apply for Civil Service jobsQuote:
By Ayodeji Moradeyo
January 25, 2010 04:39AM print email
At least 10,500 applications have been received for jobs in the Ondo State Civil Service to fill existing vacancies in ministries, the chairman of the state’s Civil Service Commission, Dare Adebiyi, said in Akure at the weekend.
He said out of the number of applications, only 1,500 people will be employed in the exercise.
The commission’s chairperson, who explained this when the state’s House of Assembly committee on Establishment and Staff Matters paid him a courtesy visit, said 4,029 applicants have already been short listed for interviews.
“The short listed applicants have recently participated in e-test conducted by the commission at the Federal University of Technology, Akure.”
Mr. Adebiyi said, “Only people who pass the interview would be given automatic employment by the state government.”
Applicants had besieged the offices of the state’s civil service commission to obtain the application forms.
However, some applicants complained that the forms were hoarded by officials of the commission. Applicants, who spoke with NEXT anonymously, said forms were sold on a “man-know-man basis”.
Others faulted the commission for not publicly announcing the sale of the forms.
and this http://thenationonlineng.net/web2/ar...ear/Page1.html
is supposedly an editorial abi ?
Hmmmmmmmmmmmm! I wonder what the editors of thenation would define as advertorial then.
Mimiko in the past one year
By Ine Igbafen Published 15/02/2010 Editorial Unrated
IN a few days it will be 365 days since Olusegun Mimiko, medical doctor by training and politician by calling, took over as Governor of Ondo State, South West Nigeria. Not many would have forgotten that he came in as Governor after more than 22 months of post election litigations. Not a few would remember that he contested and won the April 17 election in Ondo State but was denied access to the post until the Courts cut short the reign of the locusts in Ondo State.
Come February 23, it will be exactly a year since the final decision that put paid to the lack-lustre tenure of Dr Olusegun Agagu. And the next day will mark the first anniversary of the man many refer to as Iroko.
The news from Akure is that an elaborate ceremony is in the offing. Elaborate, feelers say, not in the sense of hollow rituals, paper achievements and senseless self praise, but in the area of commissioning finished projects and flagging-off new ones. The news about Mimiko’s Ondo State is that things are being done and in the right way.
It started quite early with the Ogbese portion of the Akure-Owo Highway. With the bad portion becoming a reason for human and vehicular chaos on regular basis, only the uncaring or the unfeeling would look away being in government position without acting. Obviously, Mimiko could not be said to be either. He awarded the contract to the consternation of the new opposition, who must have been sulking for their lack of foresight, or at least presence of mind while still holding sway.
Before our very eyes, the sore that was on that part of the road and many others along the Owo to the Osun State end of the road have benefited from the redemptive intervention of the Mimiko government. This as we have now been able to ascertain was just a tip of the iceberg.
Between February 24, 2009 and now, the Mimiko government has conceived, drawn the plan, laid the foundation and equipped a new and novel initiative aimed at specifically and in scalable terms arresting what was then an appalling record of maternal and child mortality and morbidity in the South West.
The huge and imposing Mother and Child Hospital in Akure, one of many to come, is to serve as, first an Hospital of first instance for mothers and children of age zero to five, and then as a referral facility for those from other health facilities. With State of the art equipment and capable human resources thrown into the works, the Mother and Child Hospital will deal a big blow to the infant mortality rate in Ondo State.
Yet it has also been complemented, we are told, by a state-wide ‘Abiye’ project that comes with several novel and modern accoutrements. The Abiye Project, according to legends, involves capturing the data of all pregnant women in the state for effective and informed monitoring. Each registered mother is then connected in practical terms and through the aid of a free, toll-free GSM to health care providers like nurses, midwives and doctors.
More than these, they also have access to tricycle ambulances to convey them should the need arise to health facilities where complex life-saving surgeries could be done. All these are to at no cost to the expectant mother or her family. With the success recorded thus far in the pilot local government of Ifedore, the Abiye project is to be replicated with needed modifications in all the 18Local Government Areas of the state. Only that this time it is with the assistant of the National Health Insurance Scheme and other institutional partners.
If the Abiye project drew from the old precept of caring for the pregnant in order to have surviving children, the 3is initiative of the Mimiko government and its application to community development is an ingenuous improvement on the communal spirit in us all. It is also a refreshing change in the intervention paradigm in governance.
The community development effort of the administration which in its first year has resulted into 80 projects in 80 communities across three local government areas of the state is an example of what community-driven intervention should be.
Government through well-trained personnel not only went through the communities to help them through the process of identifying their priority projects but went ahead to get them actualised.
Through with the quick-wins, as such projects are termed, the government of Olusegun Mimiko is also out to strengthen local institutions through modernisation and empowerment so that they could effect other community-determined but independent changes.
In the education sector, Governor Mimiko is building new primary schools that will each have at least a thousand pupils. The schools designed to have Computer Laboratories, Multi purpose sports facilities, internet access and the right ambience fro unencumbered learning are to provide equal if not better opportunities for those who could not afford the huge cost that comes with private primary education. To set the tone, he had earlier approved the 271/2 percent increase in teachers’ salaries in the state.
In Mimiko’s Ondo State, an International Cultural and Events Centre is to be constructed; a Gani Fawehinmi Diagnostic Centre is to be built; other modern and Child Hospitals are to be built, the Mare Festival in Idanre is to have an en-core with a bigger and more prestigious scope, and Akure, the State Capital, is undergoing unprecedented facelift that will lead to improved aesthetic, reduce traffic bottle necks and so become more attractive to business. Two New Markets have been built first to accommodate those who will be moved from illegal spots across the capital city and then to make shopping easier.
All these and many more, it must be said, happened in a year that Mimiko and his team had to run a budget prepared by the Dr Olusegun Agagu government. Also, these achievements came in a setting in which the opposition party has majority of the seats in the House of Assembly.
What it then portends is that in the years ahead and with his own budget in place, the possibilities for the Mimiko government are limitless. If therefore it is just to highlight the landmarks recorded in the last one year and roll out the lofty targets of the current fiscal year, Governor Olusegun Mimiko, his cabinet and the good people of Ondo State ought to be joined in celebrating a year of fresh breadth, of obvious joy and liberation from fear. These indeed were the truth about the last one year.
So, let the drums roll.
Nigeria: Mimiko Inaugurates N5 Billion Ore Mega Plaza Project
23 February 2010
Akure — GOVERNOR Olusegun Mimiko of Ondo State yesterday inaugurated the N5billion Ore Sunshine Mega City Plaza project to be situated on 153 hectares of land on the Ore-Sagamu expressway under a private-public sector joint partnership with the state.
Dr Mimiko said the project would have a 1,000 capacity trailer park, 200 shops, 200 warehouses, grain silos, 2,000 residential units of various types, auto garages/workshops, motels, hotels, an independent power plant and places of worship among others.
This was coming as the state government equally empowered over 5,000 market women across the 18 local government areas of the state with N100million micro credit loan.
The Ore Sunshine City is in line with the policy thrust of the Mimiko administration, a part of a holistic intervention to turn Ondo State into centre of economic activities in Nigeria and the West Africa Sub region.
Speaking at the ceremony, Dr Mimiko expressed the readiness of his administration to industrialize the state and also create mega cities.
According to him, the conceptualization of the project emanated from a deep reflection and analysis of the traffic bottlenecks being experienced in Ore.
The government, according to him, had therefore decided to turn the challenges to opportunities by resolving to build an effective and functional mega travel plaza with several facilities like parking lots, shopping malls, hospitals, five star hotel, warehouses, police station, banks, prayer grounds among others.
"With the strategic location of this project along Ore-Sagamu expressway on an expanse of 153 hectare and the quality of services to be provided, we are creating a world class industrial and commercial complex of unbeatable standard in the country.
"We are leveraging on the geography of Ore , which is in the middle of the east and the west and we expect that the first phase of this project will be completed in 15 months".
The governor explained that the project would be funded through the public-private partnership initiative since the development of the state could not be achieved with government as the sole player.
Dr Mimiko said the state had considered many interests and opted for a private estate developer to drive the vision of the sunshine city project, while government had provided the land that was suitably located within an existing trade area.
He added that the project was one of the star projects embarked upon by his administration to commemorate its first year in office, adding that the Ore Mega Travel Plaza would provide services to the entire Nigerian nation.
According to him, the project will boost economic growth and development in the town which served as a melting point for all ethnic groups in the country.
Dr Mimiko said the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, was partnering with the state government to execute its gas production project while deep sea ports would be created to enhance economic development of the state.
"The basic idea behind the project is to stimulate the economy of the state and provide employment opportunities for our teeming youths in Ondp State."
The Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development, Mr. Kunle Ashaolu, said the state government was committed to uplift the living standard of the people of the state.
According to him, upon completion, the project would assist in transforming Ore , which is the commercial nerve centre of the state into a modern emporium.
Mimiko: One year in the saddleQuote:
Apart from the acclaimed finesse which the Ondo state Governor, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko, had in the last one year injected into governance, his feats are also believed to be visible in project implementation, but the opposition maintained that he had not done much, writes SUNDAY ABORISADE.
On his assumption of office, Governor
Segun Mimiko, promised a new concept of governance “using existing communal structures to drive development.”
He said that he would through ”food security for each household and availability of agricultural produce for industries” end the situation where many people in the state feed only once in a day.
The governor, who identified unemployment as the major challenge confronting the state said that a digital card project which his administration initiated would engage 4,000 volunteers.
The governor said since he was aware of the difficulty experienced by people in benefitting from the ”so-called free health programme” of the Agagu-led administration, he would make healthcare truly free for pregnant women and children in age bracket of zero to five. He added that his government would provide free education from primary to senior secondary school levels.
He said, ”Education is key to breaking the yoke of poverty and ignorance. We, therefore, remain unequivocally committed to free and qualitative education for all our children up to the senior secondary school level.
”Our scholarship scheme shall be merit-driven, and bursary to our students in higher educational institutions across the country shall henceforth be paid on time to make such support system meaningful to the beneficiaries.” He added.
He noted that the greatest and the most important asset of the state would be the ”trust” of the people in his government.
The governor said his administration will intervene responsibly as a social obligation, in direct employment, subsidised social services like health and education, social housing, soft credit and other poverty reduction mechanisms.
Within one year of his administration, Mimiko had commenced the dualisation of some major highways within Akure and Ondo towns as part of the urban renewal efforts of his administration.
The roads project disclosed to cost the government N9bn included the dualisation of the 8.95km stretch of Road from Mobil junction to Oba Ile- Airport junction, the dualisation of the 9.75 stretch from Itanla junction - Ademulegun Round about - Surulere-Yaba- Akure Garage in Ondo town and the rehabilitation/asphalt overlay of the 9.3km Ilesha Expressway junction through Oyemekun/Adesida- Fiwasaye junction in Akure.
In his breakdown of the projects, the Commissioner for Works, Mr. Yele Omogunwa, said the rehabilitation of Oyemekun-Oba Adesida-Fiwasaye Girls‘ Grammar School junction was awarded to Fountain Construction Company at the cost of N1.7bn.
At completion, he said the road would have a dual carriageway of 9.2 width on either side, walkway of 2.4 metres, central median of 1.2, side drain of 1.0m on the extreme, with the construction/extension of culverts, asphaltic concrete surfacing and functional street lights.
Aside from facilitating a smoother and free flow of vehicles, the project, he explained would further beautify and upgrade the city to the expected status of a capital city. The contractor has 12 months to complete the work.
The dualisation of Mobil Junction-Oba-Ile township-Airport junction, covering a total length of 8.95km would become a realigned dual carriage way of 9.2m width on each side with a 2.4m walkway on sides, central median of 1.2, side drain of 1.0 on extremes with provision/extension of culvert, functional street lights and asphaltic surfacing.
Omogunwa further added that the roads when completed would ease traffic movement in Akure metropolis thereby reducing wastage of time in traffic hold ups. He said accidents would also be reduced for most of them were caused by the disrepair state of the roads.
In order to make sure that the on-going projects awarded by the immediate past government were not abandoned, the commissioner said N.84bn has been paid on interim certificate raised and that the process of paying additional N1bn was on-going.
Also, in preparation for its beautification project, the state government had given quit notice to traders along the major roads in the state capital just as all the shanties and illegal structures around the Government Reserved Areas had been demolished.
Some illegal structures and shops under the high tension wire along the Agagu and Ondo Roads had been destroyed, while the illegal shops and attachments at Oda Road were also pulled down by the bulldozers hired by the Ministry of Urban and Physical Development. Plank sellers around the areas were also relocated to other parts of the town for their business activities.
The government through the Commissioners for Information and Urban and Physical Developments, Messrs Ranti Akerele and Ibikunle Asaolu, said the demolition and relocation were parts of sacrifices to make the state capital attractive to investors.
Akerele said, ”there cannot be omelets without breaking of eggs; the demolition was to pave way for the implementation of master plan of the GRA.”
In the area of healthcare, Mimiko, in his first year in office, had established surgery camps to tackle eyes problems and through this programme, no fewer than 1,200 people who could have gone blind have been helped to regain their sights at no cost to the beneficiaries.
In order to forestall congestion at the State Specialist Hospital, Akure and also to reduce maternal mortality, Mimiko had inaugurated his Abiye Programme which led to the construction of a mega ”Mother and Child Hospital” in Akure with a pledge to replicate it in other council areas in the state.
The hospital which has five wards was inaugurated alongside other 80 projects to mark the first anniversary of the administration. It was planned to provide free specialised medicare to pregnant women and children from birth to five years. The pilot scheme for the Abiye programme, (safe Motherhood) was inaugurated in the Ifedore local government, and it was designed to combat maternal mortality.
Akerele had explained that, ”under the project, a pregnant woman, right from the day she registers her pregnancy is attached to a team of medical personnel and a doctor for close monitoring.”
In the areas of poverty alleviation and empowerment, Mimiko had disbursed N100m soft loans to traders under his Special Market Women Improvement Loan Empowerment Scheme. Tagged ‘SMILES‘, no fewer than 200 groups of market women had secured soft loan under the scheme with only nine per cent interest rate without any form of collateral.
One aspect that the Mimiko administration had probably failed to meet the expectations of the people is in the area of employment generation. He had only succeeded in his youth development programme known as Volunteers Corp where 1,000 graduates and non-graduates have been absorbed.
The programme, attracted a remuneration of N12, 000 and N10,000 depending on the academic status of each beneficiary. An attempt to employ clerical officers in the ministry of education last month ended up in a scandal as no fewer than 2, 500 unemployed graduates who paid N200 each to procure forms wrote an examination to fill 24 vacant positions.
Mimiko had also doled out N1.4b to 1,551 retired primary school teachers and local government workers being the arrears of their pensions and gratuities for many years.Being a largely agrarian state, government said he was committed to making Ondo relevant industrially by using its main agricultural cash crop; cocoa as the catalyst to drive its industrialisation.
Worried by the poor enrolment of pupils at the Ondo state public schools as a result of public stigmatising of pupils there as children of the poor, Mimiko, had inaugurated the construction of a modern prototype Model Public Primary and Secondary Schools in the state.
Tagged, ”Caring Heart Mega Model Schools”, the model primary and secondary schools will be built in each of the 18 Local Government Areas of the State.
Mimiko clarified that the N10.8bn needed to build all the secondary schools would be provided in form of a loan by a United States financial institution that had signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the State Government. He explained that the American based firm would provide 65 per cent of the fund, while the state would contribute 35 per cent of the money.
He also added that the 65 per cent of the fund that would be provided by the American firm would be paid back by the state government at an interest rate of two per cent, in seven years.
But the Chairman of the State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party, Chief Tayo Dairo, told our correspondent that Mimiko had not lived up to the expectations of the people.
He described Mimiko’s administration as an aberration, which would not be able to meet the aspirations of the people. Dairo recalled that in 2003, Mimiko assembled over 300 individuals in various areas of endeavours to chart a way forward for the development of the state and was a part of all that led to Agagu‘s Road Map to Progress.
He said, ”We had good health policy for this state, where we said there will be a Basic Health Centre per ward, Comprehensive Health Centre and General Hospital per local government and Specialist Hospital per Senatorial District.
”He is now building a mother and child hospital where free health would be given. Before he came into power, child and mother had been having free health in all nooks and crannies of the state.
”Initially he said the ‘Mother and Child Hospital‘ will be built in every local government area. It has now changed to one in every Senatorial District.
”Since he came into power, no school project has been completed.
Before he came, Dr. Olusegun Agagu had put over 400 of that in place. We had 198 Basic Health Centres in each of the wards. He is not addressing that.”
Dairo maintained that Mimiko cannot match up with Agagu‘s achievements in the area of road rehabilitation and construction.
However, Mimiko in a recent interview admitted that his administration faced a lot of challenges which it did not envisaged initially, but that the challenges had been surmounted.
For instance, he said, ”We have no handing over notes. In the corporate world, that is called hostile takeover. We expected some of the reactions from the people we took over from, but be that as it may, we had our focus. While we tackle the challenges, we never allowed ourselves to be distracted.”
The One year in office of Mimiko was not without sad moments. Three persons including two journalists and the driver of the Governor‘s Press Crew bus died in October last year when the governor was on his way to Lagos for official engagement after returning from the Militants‘ Disarmament Programme at Arogbo in the Ese-Odo Local Government Area of the state.
Beside, the former Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy affairs, Chief Oye Alademehin, died of heart cancer last December, while the Commissioner for Finance, Mr. Wale Akinterinwa, also resigned his appointment and membership of the state executive council two days after.
and more murder,
In Nigeria, In Ondo state....
Gunmen kill middle-aged man in Akure
By Ayodeji Moradeyo
March 5, 2010 12:09AM print email
Barely 24 hours after a gang of armed robbers unleashed terror on Akure, the Ondo State capital, killing one person, a middle-aged man was shot dead in Ala area of Akure on Thursday by suspected assassins.
The gruesome murder, which happened around 1.30 pm, occurred few kilometers from the Ala Police Division.
The man, identified as Cyril Adengbenro, Managing Director of Cicon Oil, was dragged out of a Toyota Avenis car before he was reportedly shot by the assassins. Security sources said the killers trailed the victim from Lagos, before he was finally blocked at Akure metropolis and killed.
A witness, who spoke with NEXT, said the assassins smashed the glass beside the driver’s side before dragging the man out of the car.
“After shooting their target, the men waited for few minutes to confirm that he was dead before driving away,” the witness said.
The body of the man was later taken to the State Specialist Hospital, while his car was driven to the Ala police station.
The public relations officer of the state’s police command, Adeniran Aremu, confirmed the incident. He, however, said the command does not have enough information about the killer and the deceased as at the time of filing in the report.
“The command was already after the assailants, with a view to getting to the root of the matter,” he said.
Last Tuesday, Dayo Ogunmolasuyi, a man in his early 40s, was also reportedly murdered by people suspected to be assassins. Mr. Ogunmolasuyi, a cocoa merchant based in Owo, was killed after he had collected a substantial amount of money from a commercial bank in Akure. He was shot at a close range at the first gate of Ijapo Housing Estate by six men who rode on motorbikes. The killers later escaped on their motorbikes, riding through Fiwasaye Road.
Nigeria: Mimikonomics - A Policy of Impulse And Waste?
23 March 2010
Lagos — In the absence of a budget or roadmap or blueprint to guide the activities of the Governor Olusegun Mimiko-led Labour Government of Ondo State, the helmsman seems to have resorted to fire brigade approach to governance.
The late Papa Adekunle Ajasin and Chief Adebayo Adefarati settled for the four cardinal programmes of Awolowo's Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN) and its successor, Alliance for Democracy (AD) . Evangelist Bamidele Olumilua's leftist Social Democratic Party (SDP) also conveniently adopted same programmes. Former Governor Olusegun Agagu, beyond adopting the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) manifesto, undertook the elaborate preparation of his ROADMAP TO PROGRESS for his first term and reviewed same for his second term.
Governor Mimiko and his people have embarked on 12-point agenda, which, to me, may neither be a useful guide to them for implementation nor to the public for monitoring. Mimiko should not run his government by impulse by reacting to issues and situations as they emerge. He should know that the pattern and sequence of events requiring government attention should follow order and should be priorities. Neglecting this is certainly not suitable for the purpose of project planning and execution.
The Governor should not out of his burning desire to have something to show for his days in government, be in a tight corner and left with no option than respond to situations as they arise. While this is suitable for rapid response to natural disasters like thunderstorms and flooding where relief materials have to be distributed to victims at short notice, it cannot replace the time-tested scheduling of government's programmes which follow due process, legislative screening, budgetary allocation and funding.
One can therefore condone the donation of unbudgetted funds for the restoration of electricity supply and distribution of sundry sums of money and building materials to landlords and tenants whose houses were damaged, roofs blown off and property destroyed as was successfully done around Akinjo Street at Okejebu, Akure.
In times past, such emergency projects were funded from contingency funds as approved by the State House of Assembly in the budget or through supplementary budgets. It is such unforeseen expenses and those connected with negotiated and unexpected wage increases that often necessitate the preparation of supplementary budgets which a law abiding governor can submit for the consideration of the legislature sometimes in arrears or retrospectively .
Since February 24, 2009 when Mimiko came on board, every project undertaken by government has been on impulse or by donation. Right on the podium on inauguration day, he assured that he would meet the people in their homes and institute the production of data capturing all purpose I.D. cards within his first 100 days without counting the cost. The I.D card project was to be quickly followed by well-publicised public housing projects to be located in the state capital.
Today, the housing sites have been deserted because Ondo state remains a conservative civil service state where private housing is hardly bankable and previous governments had limited their intervention to the provision of houses for public sector civil service, the political and business elite with regular cash income.
Also, Governor Mimiko proceeded to announce his plan to evacuate the cars displayed for sale along Oba Adesida and Oyemekun roads and relocate them in a new proposed motor mart which was said to have been designed complete with all facilities and located adjacent to the NNPC megastation in Akure, the state capital. To date, the site is overgrown with bush and abandoned obviously for lack of planning.
Without any forestry management policy document to guide the Ministry of Forestry's enthusiasm for action, there is no way to catch any poacher. We need a properly articulated forestry policy and the Ministry through its helmsman, should sum up enough courage to adopt the blueprint left behind by the Agagu administration.
The management of our forests requires a thorough analysis and properly-articulated policy regarding the presence of unauthorised tree crop farmers and criminal activities of Indian hemp cultivators within them.
This should be addressed instead of somebody busy running around recreating INEC's political wards and redefining our traditional communities and holding Town Hall meetings to be entertained by the children of our downtrodden citizens. The Governor's donation of N10,000 to market women in the three senatorial districts, is paltry because we all know how much business can be prosecuted by this money.
As if to undermine his so called Town Hall meetings, he has demonstrated mindless parochialism and established that virtually all his actions so far are premeditated to discredit his predecessor. Believing that the hood makes the monk, within weeks of his inauguration, Governor Mimiko issued a proclamation upgrading the Igbotako Comprehensive Health Centre to a General Hospital by renovating it and posting medical officers there. This action, to me, is spiteful moreso coming from an ex-Agagu Secretary to the State Government (SSG), who had an input into the preparation of his ROADMAP which provided for only one General Hospital per Local Government area.
At which TOWN HALL meeting did the people of Ondo request the advertised dualisation of the Ondo township bye pass component of the Ore-Ondo-Akure federal road? When Governor Mimiko undertook his very first TOWN HALL meeting at Owo, Kabiyesi, the Olowo of Owo , Oba Victor Folagbade Olateru-Olagbegi, made a case for and demanded the dualisation of the main road traversing the town and the Emure-Ile to Iyere stretch of the Akure-Benin federal highway to relieve the traffic bottlenecks in both stretches. As if his projects are tied around people, Governor Mimiko told the Olowo to route his request through the two commissioners from Owo and the likes of Otunba Oyewole Fasawe and others. He has commenced the process of awarding the contract for the dualisation of the road from Fiwasaiye through Oba-Ile to the Akure Airport.
This is perhaps Governor Mimiko's way of appreciating the unwavering support he had from Chief Olu Falae since the ongoing dualisation of the Fiwasaiye- Flagship link road to Ilesha -Owo federal highway awarded by the Agagu administration makes economic and practical nonsense of the new venture.
Governor Mimiko has proposed building 'Mother and Child' hospitals across the state beginning with three in Akure. Work is ongoing on only one of the sites at Oke Aro, Akure. The others remain on the drawing board and there is neither a programme of execution or means of cross checking the projects. In the obvious absence of sound professional Urban and Regional Planning advice, Governor Mimiko has embarked on the execution of Neighbourhood markets despite the fact that several such markets are dotted in parts of the state capital.
Also, 300 stalls are being erected at a cost of N150 million or N500,000 per stall. It is even more ridiculous that the reason for locating the market at Eru Oba within the precincts of the Deji's palace, a location that will generate further traffic into both Arakale and Oba Adesida roads will negate the government's intention to ease traffic on both roads!
Still claiming not to know the financial status of the state, the state government veered into the rehabilitation of federal roads at colossal amounts. This must be viewed against the fact that the Federal Government has insisted that it would not refund money for such undertakings and Mimiko's claim that he would have to commit all the resources of the state for 10 years to complete Agagu's projects. Thus his Ministry of Works claims to be spending a whopping N118.6 million on a less than 100 meter stretch of the federal road at Ogbese. The state government has pledged to invest state funds on the redesign and reconstruction (not rehabilitation) of the Owo-Ikare as well as the Akure Ilesha roads. The foregoing catalogue of profligate and extra budgetary expenses of Dr. Mimiko do not include the now regular donation of buses and other vehicles to some NGOs and schools which ought to have undergone the scrutiny of the State House of Assembly during the budgetary process. Against this background, all the stakeholders in the ONDO STATE project should be at alert in order to checkmate unnecessary spending of our hard-earned resources and to avoid any reckless driving of a vehicle that will not bring us to a good destination.
Ademefun wrote in from Akure
Copyright © 2010 Daily Champion. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com).
Thats all I can say..........
Published 3/28/2010 4:06:00 PM
Ondo to engage foreign doctors to beef up medical services
Ondo State Government said it has concluded plans to import foreign medical doctors to address the problems of inadequate medical personnel at its hospitals across the state.
The Commissioner for Information, Mr. Ranti Akerele, stated this on Friday while briefing journalists on steps being taken by the current administration in the state to tackle the challenges confronting it in the medical sector.
Akerele noted with concern that the Governor, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko, had in the last one year introduced certain innovations that could make access to affordable health care facilities easier for the citizenry.
He however, lamented that the problem of inadequate personnel to handle the facilities provided at the multi-billion investments in the medical sector was giving the government a serious concern.
Ondo Assembly sacks principal officers
April 8, 2010 06:38PM print email
The Speaker of Ondo State House of Assembly, Taofiq Abdulsalam, his deputy, Mayowa Akinfolarin, and other principal officers of the House were on Thursday impeached by the House.
Samuel Adesina, a PDP legislator representing Odigbo Constituency II, was elected as the new speaker.
Legislators said the impeachment was to check the alleged ``inaptitude'' of the former principal officers of the House and ``balance the political situation of the state''.
The impeachment was carried out during the Assembly's plenary that was briefly presided over by Fidelis Akinwolemiwa, (LP, Ondo East Constituency).
The former Speaker and deputy had stayed away from the sessions, apparently to forestall any threat to law and order, while the premises were cordoned off by armed policemen.
Mr. Adesina is the third Speaker of the sixth Assembly, which began with Bakkita Bello, (PDP, Akoko North-West II) who was impeached in 2009.
Jimoh Ibrahim joins Ondo gov race •Meets OBJ, Agagu
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Written by Bola Badmus
Barring any unforeseen circumstance, a business magnate, Mr. Jimoh Ibrahim, will cross over to the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) from his current party, All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP), to contest the 2013 gubernatorial poll in Ondo State, with a big rally said to have been planned to receive him into the party before the end of the month.
Already, sources confirmed to Sunday Tribune that Ibrahim, who contested the 2007 gubernatorial election in the state on the platform of ANPP, has met in Otta, with former president, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, the immediate past governor of the state, take off any moment from now, is said to have continued with series of consultation towards getting popular endorsement for his political dream in the PDP.
Sunday Tribune learnt that the national leadership of PDP, led by Prince Vincent Ogbulafor, is said to have concluded arrangements to hold a rally in Akure to welcome the lawyer turned businessman into PDP before the end of the month with Acting President Goodluck Jonathan, billed to lead the reception team to welcome him.
According to findings, sitting and former governors of PDP, ministers, chairmen of federal and state board of parastatals and other chieftains are billed to attend the rally, which is said to have been planned to show that the PDP is prepared to reclaim Ondo State from the Dr. Olusegun Mimiko led Labour Party (LP).
Sources confided in ST that the party in the state is said to have welcomed the idea of having Mr. Ibrahim joining the PDP, with the belief that he is a sellable candidate any day, having acquired a credible track record in his chosen field and particularly in business.
Besides, it is believed that if the business magnate joins the PDP, his entry is going to change the political calculations in Ondo State and may be strong enough to give Governor Mimiko or anybody a good fight in the coming election.
The reasoning is that Ibrahim has more than enough financial muscle to deploy in the election, besides his status and recognition within and outside the country, a quality already being seen as helpful in assisting the state to develop fast if eventually he is elected governor on the platform of the PDP, in 2013.
Ibrahim, it is recalled, is a key player in ANPP, having occupied critical positions at various times.
He was Deputy Chairman, Caretaker Committee of the party and its former National Legal Adviser. He was member, financial committee of the ANPP and member, Presidential Selection Committee.
Bitumen: A people's wealth caged by politricks, policy and administrative incompetence
Sat, 27 Mar 2010 23:26:00 -0400 - Champion News
Almost 50 years after independence, and a century after a German Scientist discovered bitumen deposits in present day Ondo state, the dream of tapping its full socio-economic and industrial benefits has remained a mirage.
With endless politics, the sorry state of the facilities, and the shut down of the office of the Bitumen Implementation Committee in Akure, the Ondo State capital, it was evident that the multi-billion dollar project has hit the rocks.
In search of a clue to why this monumental project which Nigeria is the second largest producer after Venezuela with Ondo, as the hub, but spans Edo, Ogun, Ondo, Lagos States is wasting away, it was all a tale of frustration, deceit, endless promises, and as in drama, the story is a suspense.
Traversing the entire communities that make up the treasure land, this reporter for a week, combed the entire Odigbo and Okitipupa local government areas of Ondo state where this gold- mine resides. From Agbabu village, passing through Ilubinrin down to Oloda, Ode-Irele, Idogun, Sogbon, Eri- osin, Akinfosile in Igbotako community, back to Iju-Oke, Epo-dudu, Ajegunle, Odomode and the host of others, sadness was written on the faces of the people. It was lamentation on how politics was and still being played on the fortune in their backyard.
Investigation revealed that Nigeria's bitumen belt is said to sit atop 42 billion barrels of crude oil equivalent, the exploitation of which can free the country from the negative national and international vagaries of oil-based mono-cultural export economy.
A recent survey from the office of the Bitumen Project Implementation Committee (BPIC), a body set up by the Federal Government, revealed that as far back as 2001, the deposit could earn the country N1.5 billion daily, or N545 billion annually from petroleum derivables of the mineral alone.That was at a time, the country was said to have been losing a large chunk of foreign exchange to importation of Asphalt, the most common derivative of bitumen.
Laying more emphases on what the country will benefit if the deposit is exploited, the former Secretary of BPIC, Alhaji Goni Sheikh said that apart from raw materials for local industry, bitumen exploration would open a flood gate for employment opportunity.
Derivatives of bitumen include, Methane and Ethane (natural gas) Propane and Butane (liquefied petroleum) and Asphalt (for road construction).Buttressing the assertion that the nation is losing billions of naira annually for failure to exploit the God-given treasure, the former Chairman of Nigeria Investment Promotion Council (NIPC) Chief Kola Daisi, in a paper presented at the first national bitumen summit in Akure, Ondo state on November,14, 2000, pointed out that about N18.25 billion was being lost yearly due to the delay in the exploitation of ‘this deposit. Whereas in his own submission, Prof.Julius Ihonvbere, the first Chairman of BPIC, put the cumulative loss at N133 billion or five per cent of the country's Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
Attempt was made in the past to see that the exploitation of the minerals deposit became a reality, but along the line, inconsistent government policy dashed the hope. However, at the dawn of civil rule in 1999, there was hope that the moribund project would after all, see the light of the day. This was hinged on the promise of the then Minister of Solid Minerals, Kanu Agabi, that the project was topmost on the Federal Government's list, and that Nigeria could not afford not to exploit the huge deposit to augment her dwindling oil fortunes.
According to him, full exploitation will take off by May 29; 2001.To further reinforced this assertion, the president Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, set up a nine- member BPIC to replace the inherited Committee. The new committees was named; Committee on the Implementation of the Bitumen Project (CIBP). In addition, the committee which had been operating in Lagos, moved down to Akure and established Bitumen base field at Ore in Odigbo local government of the state to facilitate all its field operations.
To Agabi,"this is the best time to have the best out of our bitumen deposit since we now have responsible people in government who will not siphon money accruing to the country abroad as we had under the military."
In his maiden inspection of bitumen sites in Ondo state, Obasanjo said the realisation of the dream would be ‘the ultimate dividend of democracy to Nigerians as a new frontier of economic growth is about to be explored to the benefit of our people."However, the stipulated time was not met due to a lot of administrative bottlenecks, government policy and slow pace of drilling of expected wells.
This forced Obasanjo to reiterate his promise on March 17, 2003 when he did the official commissioning of the project at Oloda village along Ode-Irele road where the deposit oozes out of the ground. He said his government was fully committed to promoting the exploration of the solid mineral deposits in Nigeria. According to him, this also tallies with the principal objective of New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) which is to forge sustainable economic development and to eradicate poverty throughout African continent.
The former president said that with the commercialisation, the nation's economy would reap many benefits such as creating thousands of jobs, boosting foreign exchange earnings, as well as promoting infrastructural rehabilitation, development and expansion "Hence forth, the economy of this area and that of Nigeria as a whole will grow in leaps and bounds because bitumen would play a significant role in the diversification of the nation's economy," Obasanjo had said.
Raising the hope of the people and the economic potentials that the exploitation would attract to the community, Obasanjo described bitumen as "truly-qualified as a dividend of democracy" assuring that a refinery as well as a sea-port that would facilitate the export of the commodity, would be built at Igbokoda, the headquarters of the nearby riverine Ilaje local council.
Obasanjo's promise this time around. was followed by a flurry of activities that included carrying out geophysical investigations such as seismic and other related surveys costing millions of dollars as well as preparation of an elaborate Environmental Baseline Studies (EBS) detailing pre-operation ecological data of water and air quality, flora, fauna, and other social and environmental factors to prepare for post operation ecological restoration.
Buttressing this fact, Sheikh, who is now a permanent secretary in the ministry of solid minerals, Abuja told this reporter then at his BPIC office Alagbaka, Akure that all hands were on deck to see the actualisation of the project.
Sheikh who was the former secretary of BICP said resources had been committed by government to the studies on the quality, quantity, type, size, chemical composition, air and topography of the mineral deposit environment, and that the studies also included weather, climate, density, demography, water and the general environment of the area.
He noted that the people in the community may not see physical development, but a lot had been done to make sure that all the studies carried out are of international standards so that any investor and bank that may want to grant loans, would have accurate and realistic data to work with. "We have sunk 30 wells. And collected about 150 samples. The result which has been taken to the Kaduna refinery will guide for further drilling.A lot of benefits and other related mineral resources would be found when the exploration finally comes to stay. Therefore, government did not make any empty promises but wants to avoid the past mistakes.
"Apart from raw materials for local industries, bitumen exploration will open a flood gate of employment opportunities. Fall out of bitumen includes Methane and Ethane (Natural gas) Propane and Butane (liquefied petroleum) and Asphalt (road construction)",he said.
At the initial take off, blocks were allocated to interested investors with Bitumen Exploration and Exploitation Company of Nigeria Limited (BEECON) and NISSANDS, a Canadian exploration firm, taking the lead. To seal the agreement, each firm paid signature fee of $1 million and also purchase form for the BPIC comprehensive data at $100,000.
The agreement further indicated that they should begin full operation"within the next six months of the agreement". Both companies went to the field with anticipation to commence operation as sheduled, but along the line, they met a brick wall.
According to government's policy, they should source for external loan from the international bank while the Federal Government will stand in as guarantor, but at the last minute, government backed out of the deal. Against this backdrop, NISSAND lost the opportunity of getting the needed loan as the technical partners were reluctant due to the crisis in the Niger Delta area.
Investigation revealed that some of the foreign partners eventually returned to their home countries due to the crises in the Niger Delta. They were afraid that if their resources were committed and the communities revolted against them as in the Niger Delta, they would have lost everything.
That informed why the Chairman of the Community Relations of BEECON, Chief Alex Akinyele cried out that the acts of violence in the Niger Delta did not encourage investors to mobilise to site to explore bitumen in the state, despite the distance between it and the restive Niger Delta area. The former Minister lamented " It is not easy to get technical partners because the event in the Niger Delta area are limitations to those who want to advance to us their money and their equipment. The last straw that eventually broke the carmel's back was the new policy of the Federal Government on Public Private Partnership (PPP) which negates the earlier promise of providing a back up as joint venture. This wind of change eventually brought to an end the lofty dream and hope of exploitation and exploration of the monumental deposit which the community had ignorantly nicknamed the "excreta of malevolent gods"
Today, nine years after Obasanjo's promise the reality is that nothing much has happened.
From the sorry state of facilities especially at the bitumen project field base at Ore in Odigbo local government area of the state, the stark reality that confronted this reporter was that the place which used to be a beehive of activities, is like a grave yard with the entrance gate padlocked.
Quarter 52, at Alagbaka Estate known as Feyide Building in Akure, which was named after the first Chairman of Bitumen Committee, late Chief Otokiti Feyide, which was the Secretariat, was desolate. The gate of the facility located in a highbrow area of the state capital was securely locked with nobody in sight but the sign of an abandoned property were visible in the cracked walls and over grown weeds that had taken over the compound.
In the same vein, the Test laboratory also in Alagbaka area of the town which was well equipped to provide necessary scientific evaluation of materials taken from the sites, and which was commissioned with funfair by the Minister of Solid Minerals in 2001, was in a sorry state..
Speaking to this reporter on why the project could not see the light of the day, Dr Demola Omojola of the Geography Department, University of Lagos, said government has no political will to exploit the resources.According to him, if the political will is there, all other things will follow, adding that what the government has done so far on the project was a mere peripheral aspect without actually getting deep into the politics, economic and social impact of the project on the people hosting it.
"From experience of oil in the Niger Delta and the attendant environmental consequences, where people's ways of lives were disrupted without providing for an alternative, where the communities were taken over by foreigners without adequate provision for how they will continue their livelihood, all these have cumulated to the crises of unrest we are experiencing in the areas till today," he said.
The university don stated that before any meaningful exploitation could be carried out in the areas government should as a matter of urgency, embark on detailed Environmental Assessment Analysis. Asides this, it should do detailed investment inventory so that the country will not experience what is going on in the Niger Delta area.
"The government is making noise through political statement without taking the necessary steps that will assist the exploitation and exploration of the massive deposit. As l am talking to you, there is no vegetation mapping at a detailed level, combined with inconsisted government policies.All these should be put in place before the resources could be exploited," he noted.
Dr Omojola. who agreed that the deposit is very massive and that Nigeria has one of the largest in the world, said though if finally exploited, it will bring a total change to the economy, and the people of the area will never remain the same. He cautioned that people should not be carried away with the economic advantage, but rather think about the environmental consequences of the exploitation.
He said that there should be a comprehensive enlightenment campaign and media sensitization of the people of the communities with bitumen are deposit, so that they will be involved from the beginning and incorporated in any activity going on in their backyard.
Similarly former Chairman of Odigbo local government, where the deposits are located, Prince Olu Falolu said that the communities were tired of endless promises. According to him, when he was the Chairman of the local government in 2004, there were promises from the Federal Government as if the exploitation would be done immediately, but up till today nothing has been done.
"As a matter of fact, the state government at some fora had invited dignitaries, businessmen and stakeholders who are interested to join hands with the Federal Government to hasten its exploration. They even gave a blanket ticket that companies can merge together to make sure that something tangible is done to assist the Federal Government in the Herculean task. Unfortunately, nothing came out of it," he said.
Speaking in the same vein, the traditional ruler of Agbabu in Odigbo kingdom, HRH, Oba Partick Ebunade Akinmulero, who recalled with nostalgia the visit of the former President Obasanjo, said the communities have been holding on to the promise of the former President, but nothing happened since his last visit.
According to him, everyday members of the communities are hoping that the deposit will not be another abandoned project. ‘My son, if you know how many people in government that have visited this place, you will think that the next day, the project would commence, but see us today, nothing is on ground to suggest that the Federal Government is ready to exploit the deposit. Some of the members of the Bitumen Implementation Committee who usually visit us are no longer coming. We learnt they have sacked most of their workers and the few ones left have returned to Abuja," he said.
He lamented that the dry season which is supposed to be time of bountiful fish harvest, usually witnesses the death of these fish due to the oozing of bitumen on the water, and as a result most of the fish are not healthy for consumption.
"We are anxious and pleading to the Federal Government not to abandon the project so that the community will be bailed out of its ecological problems and to save us from endless waiting and apprehension from the villagers who are daily praying to see that the exploitation of the monument happened in their life time," the monarch further said.
However, Ondo state has once again raised the hope of exploiting the deposit. The commissioner of information in the state, Mr. Ranti Akerele, in a recent media briefing said the state Governor, Dr Olusegun Mimiko, had just returned from a trip to Trinidad and Tobago where the state government would partner a firm to exploit the deposit. Apart from this, he disclosed that Mimiko embarked on the trip to understand the buoyant oil and gas industry of the tiny Caribbean country of 1.3 million people.
According to the commissioner, the state government decided to embark on the trip because of the success story of the Caribbean country in these two sectors acknowledged worldwide as a model worthy of emulation."Trinidad and Tobago have a lot of things in common with Ondo state. We have almost the same type of weather and like us, they have oil and gas and they are very rich in bitumen; they have been able to exploit the two sectors for the benefit of their people "he said.
He said that as the fifth largest producer of oil in Nigeria and as an entity that sits atop the second largest bitumen deposit in the world, Ondo state under the new dispensation of a forward-looking and progressive administration, "cannot afford to fold our arms and allow development to elude us."
Akerele's expression tallied with that of the ex-Minster of Mines and Steel Development, Mrs. Diezani Allison-Madueke, who recently said the Federal Government could not afford not to exploit the bitumen due to the enormous economic benefits that the nation would derive from it.
The Minister said when developed, Nigeria's bitumen could be upgraded into synthetic crude oil." We will also be able to reduce importation of bitumen and cut down costs of developing our road infrastructure network," she said, expressing the belief that exploitation of bitumen has the potential to attract local and foreign investments and contribute significantly to the nation's socio economic development
She said an expression of interest exercise has commenced with two blocks (A and C) put out initially for bidding and the third block (B) to be put at a later date and promised that the bidding process would be transparent, fair and subjected to due process in order to attract responsible and financially-capable investors who will expedite development of the bitumen blocks
She said Nigeria has a large reserve of bitumen, which she put at about 27 billion barrels of oil equivalent occurring as synthetic crude oil. Most commonly known as asphalt or tar, bitumen has historically been mixed with other materials for use as a sealant, adhesive, building mortar, incense and a whole variety of purposes.
Perhaps with the latest renewal of interest in the project, the hope of exploiting it for the betterment of Nigerians in no distant future Iand the suspense to reality.
Mimiko's emergence as governor surprises me – Obasanjo
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo on Saturday said the legal victory of the Ondo State Governor, Olusegun Mimiko, of the Labour Party came to him as a surprise.
"The development came to me as a great surprise and I never expected that it will happen," he declared while receiving prominent politicians including billionaire businessman Jimoh Ibrahim who joined the Peoples Democratic Party in Akure, the state capital.
Mimiko of the Labour Party won former governor Olusegun Agagu of the PDP in a long drawn legal tussle that went through the election petition tribunal and the Appeal Court.
Agagu, Obasanjo said, was doing well for the people of the state before he was removed by the court.
He, however, said there was no cause for alarm because the PDP would win elections in all the six states in the South West in 2011.
The former President appealed to members of the party in the state to work more closely and eschew violence, noting that the result of next year's election would determine the fate of the party in the 2013 governorship election in the state.
President Goodluck Jonathan, who was represented on the occasion by the Defence Minister, Prince Adetokunbo Kayode, appealed to PDP members in the state to put the recent event when the party lost to the LP behind them and work towards reclaiming the state next year.
He urged the aspirants to embark on aggressive campaign in order to win the confidence of the people.
Those who attended the rally included: Governor of Ekiti State, Mr. Segun Oni; his Osun State counterpart, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola; Minister of Defence, Prince Adetokunbo Kayode; former Governor Olusegun Agagu, and the deputy governor of Oyo State, Alhaji Taofeek Arapaja.
National leaders of the party and their counterparts in the South West Zone, led by the chairman, Alhaji Tajudeen Oladiipo, among others were also on hand to receive Ibrahim, Otunba Oyewole Fasawe and other politicians to the PDP.
Governors Oyinlola and Oni said the party was still alive in the state and that nothing should stop the members from winning elections at the state and federal levels next year.
They also implored them to eschew bitter rivalry.
The South West Zonal chairman of the party stressed the need for the party to carry out internal re-engineering and repositioning for a better performance in 2011.
He said, "The national chairman of the party has resigned his position in order to pave the way for his prosecution for alleged corruption despite the fact that he has not been indicted at the court.
"I therefore dare say that more heads will roll in the re-engineering process, hence leaders at all levels should make sacrifices so as to reposition our party for a strongly rooted democracy."
Speaking on behalf of others, Ibrahim said his decision to join the PDP was not to prosecute any personal ambition but to help build the party in the state into a stronger one that could win all the elections next year.
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Fresh Battle for Ondo Begins
23 October 2010
Akure - The ruling LP in Ondo State and the PDP are gearing up for the people's votes ahead of the 2011 polls.
THE race for 2011 elections in Ondo State has kicked off with the main opposition party, Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, organizing rallies to shore up support and to let those who care to know that the party is still a force to reckon with after its ousting by the tribunal barely two years ago.
The party has lined up ten different rallies across the state before next elections in a bid to wrestle power from the ruling Labour Party (LP) led by Governor Olusegun Mimiko. LP, on its part, is not leaving any stone unturned as it continues to deliver dividends of democracy to the people of the state.
PDP's first rally geared at reclaiming the state from LP was held in Akure, the state capital, where business mogul Jimoh Ibrahim, Otunba Oyewole Fasawe, Ambassador Bayo Yusuf, Chief Reuben Ogunbadejo and others joined the PDP.
They were welcomed by former President Olusegun Obasanjo and other chieftains of the PDP including state governors from the neighboring south west states. The joining of the PDP by the like of Jimoh Ibrahim, who was the governorship candidate of the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) in the 2003 elections in the state, was occasioned by consultations by party leaders including immediate past Governor Olusegun Agagu and the state chairman of the PDP, Dr Omotayo Dairo, that the party needed to forge ahead and stop licking its wounds after the verdict which kicked out the party from Government House.
The verdict remained a shock to the party members as they went underground for months before its leaders woke up from their slumber and, since Jimoh Ibrahim joined the party, everything has not been the same. His entry brought back the party in the state to life.
After the Akure rally, the party campaign train moved to Ore in Odigbo council area of the state on Sunday, September 26, while the third came up in the hilly town of Idanre in Idanre local government area on Saturday, October 9. The rallies, tagged "Operation Reclaim" Ondo State, were held with the party's aspirants trying to outdo themselves in a war of posters.
Segun Mimiko, Ondo State governor
The Akure and Ore and Idanre rallies presented an opportunity for the opposition party to make a statement that the supposedly dead PDP can still mobilize mammoth supporters to its rallies and to send a warning signal to the LP that 2011 elections would be tough and not a landslide for the ruling party.
At the Ore rally, Jimoh Ibrahim announced the donation of 20 buses for the use of the party ahead of next years elections. He also pledged to donate a motorcycle to each of the 203 wards in the state to ease the mobilization drive of the party.
According to him, the party was on a rescue mission in Ondo. In the same vein, Agagu said the people of the state had had the opportunity of comparing the last 19 months in the state with the six years tenure of the PDP. The former governor regretted that most of the developmental projects embarked upon by his administration had been abandoned by the Mimiko government.
One issue that was raised by the speakers at the rally was the controversial reports of the State Security Service (SSS) presented by the LP at the tribunal that sacked Agagu. On the issue, the former governor said, "What we are asking for is the source of the security reports. This the ruling party has failed to address. The SSS has said that the reports are not from their office. So, the government should come out and tell Nigerians instead of abusing me".
On his part, Senator Gbenga Oguniya asked the Federal Government to set up judicial commission of inquiry to probe the alleged fake security reports submitted by Mimiko's counsel at the tribunal and the Appeal Court.
A drama was introduced to the rally at Idanre when the state chairman of the party, Dairo, who hails from the area, alleged that the ruling government disallowed them the use of Olofin Grammar School, Idanre. But this was denied by the state government which said the rally was a jamboree that could not move the ruling party.
The rally, scheduled to commence by 11 am, did not start until three hours later and the arrival of Jimoh Ibrahim in a chopper brought life to the make shift venue of the rally at Broad Street, Idanre.
Dairo, who spoke first, said the "effort of the party at regaining power could only be fruitful if and when members participate fully in the electoral processes starting from registering during the forthcoming voter registration exercise". According to him, the ruling LP had not done anything tangible in the last two years, adding that the progress recorded during the six years tenure of Agagu had been eroded.
Jimoh Ibrahim promised to buy nomination forms for aspirants of the party from the councillorship level to the House of Representatives so as to remove every encumbrance on the way of credible aspirants. He also promised to fund all candidates of the party in the coming elections. He added that "all the governors on the platform of PDP would assist the state chapter of the party in reclaiming the state from the LP."
Those present at the Idanre rally include Otunba Solomon Oladunni, Dr Eddy Olafeso, Mr. Olusola Agbesua, Dr Olusegun Agagu, Nigerian's ambassador to Australia, Prof Olu Agbi, Otunba Alex Akinnadeju, Chief Jimoh Ibrahim, Chief Tunde Akindeyin, Engr. Chris Ojomo, Otunba Omolade Oluwateru, Chief Olabisi Johnson, Chief Tayo Alasoadura, Mayowa Akinfolarin, Niyi_Jones Akinyugha, Prof Segun Adegbulugbe, Mrs Folake Akinjoko and Olowoniyi Adeolu.
Reacting to the rallies, the ruling LP said the PDP in Ondo State was dead and would never resurrect even if they moved from house to house ahead of the 2011 elections.
Speaking with Sunday Vanguard, the LP director of publicity, Seyi James, declared that "no amount of intimidation could make the people of the state to be cowed."
"For 22months, the people of Ondo State , like a man, stood against the PDP when they stole their mandate despite their legions of thugs who intimidated them with guns and today, there is peace and progress everywhere in the State. The people of Ondo State , we are made to remind the garrison commanders in the PDP, are not animals that could be captured and caged at will. In the last 19 months of the LP government under the caring heart governor, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko, in Ondo State , there are rapid developmental projects on_going in all the three senatorial districts of Ondo State,"James said.
The LP is expected to roll out its campaign machinery to counter that of the opposition which is moving to Owo, the country home of the late sage, Chief Adekunle Ajasin.
The people of the state are enjoying the events unfolding and they are expected to decide with their votes in next year's elections. It is a matter of time to know where the pendulum will swing.