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The School Governing Boards (SGBs) initiated by the Oyo State government have injected more than N2bn into the state’s education sector in the last one year.

The SGB is a participatory model, which brings together all stakeholders in the education system in the management of public secondary schools in the state.

Besides, the state government has awarded contracts estimated at N2bn for the renovation and reconstruction of 100 secondary schools across the state.

The State Governor, Senator Abiola Ajimobi, disclosed these during the foundation laying ceremony of the University of Ibadan Alumni Association’s guest house extension, held at the institution, on Monday.

A March 8 letter by the National President of the association, Dr. Kemi Emina, had indicated the resolve of the UI Alumni to name the building after the governor as a mark of recognition of his outstanding performance.

The president said that the building would be inaugurated on May 5 as part of activities lined up to mark the 60th anniversary of the association.

The letter reads, “As an association, we have carefully followed your activities as the governor of Oyo State. It is a general consensus that you have set a pace in governance and infrastructural development that will be difficult to match, years after you leave office.

“And this partly formed the reason for our award to you in September, last year. Equally important to us is that the building (Alumni guest house) be named after you in perpetuity.”

Ajimobi, who was represented by the state Commissioner for Education, Science and Technology, Prof. Adeniyi Olowofela, said that the commitment of the N2bn by the SGBs till date was a proof that the policy was a step in the right direction.

He said, “In the last one year, the SGB has injected over N2bn into the education sector in Oyo State. This is a further vindication of the policy as a step in the right direction.

“On our part, we have committed a lot of funds into education in our determined efforts to revamp the sector and to produce students that will compete favourably with their peers anywhere in the country and beyond.

“Let me use this opportunity to thank members of the SGBs for their patriotism and commitment. By this I mean the Parents-Teachers Associations, school principals, Old Students Associations, philanthropists, corporate organizations and others, who acceded to our clarion call to serve on the boards.

“I’m highly impressed by the response of many of these SGBs members who have joined hands with the government by contributing financially towards giving our schools the needed facelift.”

The governor said further that the administration’s commitment to quality education and character building among the students partly informed the introduction of the SGB and the Oyo State Model Education Systems Intervention (OYOMESI).
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Abiola Ajimobi: Memories that will linger

By the time the administration of the incumbent governor of Oyo State, Senator Abiola Ajimobi ends on May 29, 2019, one thing would have become clear, here was a governor that came and made a difference in the life of the people, in rapid infrastructural renewal, who gave governance a new name and established a legacy of moving Oyo State from a traditional society, to a modern one. Significantly, most of the rapid developments being witnessed in the state are of international standards.

Oyo State, under the watch of Senator Ajimobi, has witnessed unparalleled road construction moving from the construction of narrow, single carriage roads to well-paved, dual carriage ways. Under the watch of this astute administrator, workers now have cause to smile. There are no more delays in monthly salaries.

They had received the 13th month salary for three consecutive years, pension arrears were paid, and they were given car loans, which incidentally were increased from N200,000 to N500,000. Housing loan was increased from N1 million to N2 million; civil servants were sponsored for international training, among many other outstanding landmarks. Workers have never had it so good. But of more impact is the administration’s intervention in areas of urban and infrastructural renewal. Other administrations had come and paid lip-service to the construction of flyovers in strategic locations in the capital city, Ibadan.

They never did until Ajimobi became the state governor. One of the longest overhead bridges was then constructed in the strategic Mokola area, thus reducing traffic lock down in that part of the city. Other major roads constructed under the watch of the man Oyo State people have started calling, ‘The Builder’, ‘Game Changer’, ‘Pathfinder’ include Challenge–Aleshinloye– Dugbe–Eleyele roads.

Still under road construction, the Ajimobi administration also achieved a first. It became the first administration to dualize roads in each of the zones in the state. Major towns and zones like Oyo, Ogbomoso, Iseyin, Ibarapa, Saki, etc. have all become beneficiaries.

No government has ever done this in the history of the state. He was always conscious of the historical antecedent of his state, and the ball must not drop. Western region with Ibadan as capital, from which Oyo State was carved out, had achieved many ‘firsts’. The first radio and television stations in Africa – WNTV (Western Nigeria Television) and WNBS (Western Nigeria Broadcasting Service) were established.

The first stadium, the Liberty Stadium and the first university in Nigeria then known as the University College, Ibadan now known as the University of Ibadan, also came from the Western region. To tackle the environment and remove the tag of the dirtiest city in Nigeria from Ibadan, Senator Ajimobi established the Bureau of Physical Planning and Development Control.

Refuse Disposal Vehicles were purchased while the Solid Waste Management system was restructured. Ibadan is today better for the effort. In transportation management, buses were provided for mass transportation at subsidized cost, free bus services were also provided for students and workers. Concerned about access to clean water, the Ajimobi administration embarked upon massive rehabilitation of the state’s water supply scheme.

Thus, waterworks in Eleyele and Asejire in Ibadan, Iganna, Ayete and Ogbomoso became beneficiaries of the rehabilitation. Governor Ajimobi was fond of saying that development is not haphazard. This is evidenced in placement of structures. One of the first things he did, on assumption of office, was to inaugurate the Ibadan Master plan in conjunction with the World Bank.

The spin off from this was the establishment of housing schemes in the state. Low cost housing units were built and a Home Owners Charter was instituted. New Government Reservation Areas (GRA) was created in different areas – Old Ife road, Ring Ring/Adeoyo, Nihort/Idishin, Elenusonso and Saki, in the Oke-Ogun axis of the state. But an area where the memories of Ajimobi would remain indelible in the minds of the populace is in education. His intervention is deliberate.

As part of his transformation strategy, he realised that education and technological developments are important components. He wanted an appropriate, functional education for the total development of the individual. This led to the establishment of the Schools Governing Board in all the 628 public secondary schools, cancellation of automatic promotion, introduction of Oyo State Model Education System Intervention (OYOMESI).

The name OYOMESI is significant. It was the name given to the seven wise men who select the king or his successor in the old Oyo Empire. Thus, it is expected that if a student had gone through the educational system, he should be better for the experience. Bursary award was made mandatory to encourage students.

Scholarship schemes were also instituted. New blocks of classrooms were constructed. Models schools would soon be commissioned as work had reached completion stage. Over 7,000 teachers were employed in primary and secondary schools.

This was complemented with the employment of education officers which was then extended to the State Library Board. Regular promotions which saw to the upgrade and secondment of primary school teachers to secondary schools were made. The massive investment in education paid off. Oyo State recorded the best result in 18 years in the West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE). Health care equally received a boost with the introduction of N50 billion Health Endowment Fund. This was done with the upgrade of health facilities in mind.

Health Insurance Scheme was introduced and this gives access to health care for all. Medical equipment worth $2 million was distributed across hospitals while the Ladoke Akintola University Teaching Hospital was upgraded, maternal and paediatric centres were constructed, State Primary Healthcare Board was established, the School of Nursing and Midwifery was upgraded to Oyo State College of Nursing and Midwifery, this was extended to the School of Hygiene too, which was upgraded to College of Health Technology.

The result of these interventions in health care led to reduction in HIV/AIDs prevalence, down to 1.9 percentage from 3.0 percentage and still going lower. There was massive reduction in maternal mortality while malaria incidence also came down. Desirous of making Oyo State the food basket of the nation, Governor Ajimobi established the Oyo State Agriculture Initiatives (OYSAI) with the objectives of providing food security and poverty alleviation.

The Oyo State Pacesetter Integrated Organic Farms known as the Songhai model was established in Awe in Oyo Zone, leading to several hectares of farmlands being allocated to over 1,000 youth farmers.

Over N1 billion soft loans and grants were provided for farmers, in the vision to ensure food security. For the movement of farm produce, the state embarked on the construction and rehabilitation of access roads across the farming communities in the state. Two fertilizers blending plants were established in Oke Ogun and Ibarapa zones. One can go on and on. But one thing is clear, Senator Ajimobi has clearly made a difference in governance in Oyo State, memories of him would linger forever in the minds of the people on whose lives, the different programmes, have touched. And he is relentless and untiring, second term notwithstanding. “We will work till the last day,” he was fond of telling members of his team.

Written by Bolaji Tunji
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As a result of our strong faith in Public Private Partnership, we are ready to partner with Investors in the areas of Infrastructure, Education, Solid Minerals Development, ICT, Agriculture among others

-Governor Abiola Ajimobi

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