*Photo: Oladunjoye *
President Muhammadu Buhari recently paid a one-day visit to Ogun State, where he commissioned five projects executed by the Dapo Abiodun Administration. The Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and Chairman, Ogun State Television Board of Directors, Comrade Tunde Oladunjoye, spoke on the governor’s plan to implement more developmental projects. Excerpts:
President Muhammadu Buhari recently visited Ogun State to commission some legacy projects. As a chieftain of the APC in the state, can you shed more light on the President’s visit and projects commissioned?
Mr. President came to Ogun State on January 13, 2022. It was his first visit to any state of the federation this year. Before the President accepted the invitation to visit the state and commission the projects, he must have been convinced of the relevance and importance of the projects he was going to commission. He came basically to commission five legacy projects; the 14 km Ijebu-Ode – Mojoda – Epe Expreas Way, the Gateway City Gate at Sagamu Interchange, the Interchange – Abeokuta Express Way, which has been renamed Muhammadu Buhari Way, the Kobape Estate and the Kings Court Estate, Abeokuta. The President openly applauded the quality of the projects.
The Ijebu-Ode – Mokola-Epe Road links Ogun State to Lagos State. Former Governor Akinwunmi Ambode constructed the Lagos side of the road. Hitherto, most commuters and motorists coming from Lagos, once they leave the Lagos side that was constructed and get to Ogun side, they will start abusing the government, not minding if the road was a Federal Government road. Governor Dapo Abiodun constructed the road to world standards and that was commended by Mr. President.
That Gateway City Gate is the melting point for the senatorial districts of Ogun State, the place is like the heart of Ogun State, the park is modernized with beautiful gardens, streetlights and other conveniences.
The 49km Interchange-Abeokuta road is another testimony to the highly qualitative projects of Prince Dapo Abiodun Administration. However, what people did not notice or have not talked about on that road is the divider checkmating vehicles from one side from straying onto the other side of the road. The previous divider used to be very low and weak. The newly constructed divider is raised and concretised, which means vehicles cannot jump from one side to the other. It will save a lot of lives and prevent accidents.
Talking about the projects, how relevant and beneficial are they to the citizens, growth and development of the state?
The projects are of utmost benefits to the people. If you look at the housing estates, for example, the social scientists say housing is one of the basic needs of human beings. Additionally, over ten thousand people (suppliers) have benefitted from the housing projects alone; architects, surveyors, those supplying water and cement, painters, electricians, plumbers and others have massively benefitted from the projects and the economy of Ogun State has been boosted. Same thing with roads, they have to supply granite, sand, labourers, electricians and so on. These projects are not about APC members alone. They are for citizens, residents and even no-residents of Ogun State. The projects are needed, relevant and very beneficial to all.
How would you react to insinuation by some critics that the three senatorial districts?
They would have expected that Mr. President, after commissioning projects in Ijebu-Ode and Abeokuta to take off to Ilaro for Instance to commission another project, or Imeko Afon; all in a single day? That is not how Presidential movement is planned. The first two roads embarked upon by this administration are in Ogun West Senatorial District; the Raypower Alagbado road linking Lagos. The roads could not be commissioned then because of COVID-19. Presently, the State Government is constructing Atan-Lusada-Agbara road. Even, the Gateway City Gate that was commissioned by the President connects the three senatorial districts. Like I said all the people plying that road are beneficiaries of the road. You don’t commission projects for the sake of meeting senatorial requirement, what we may be worried about is if they say Governor Dapo Abiodun’s project are not distributed across the senatorial districts. But, this is not what they have said. For example, I know there is at least one road construction project that has either been completed or ongoing in all the twenty local government areas in Ogun State and that is what is important.
How successful were the party congresses conducted by your party in Ogun State?
The congresses were very, very successful and they have been affirmed recently when the chairman of the reconciliation committee set up at the national level, former Governor of Nasarawa State, His Excellency, Abdullahi Adamu, came to the State and recognised the Party Chairman, Chief Yemi Sanusi, as the Chairman of APC in Ogun State. Our Congresses were successful, peaceful and were monitored by relevant bodies like INEC, security agents, party leaders, etc.
The appeal committee was in Ogun State for few days after the State Congress and didn’t receive any petition on the State Congress. What do you feel is responsible for the fresh petitions from the aggrieved group?
Well, I don’t know what is responsible. This is democracy where people have right to petition but the point is: it will now be considered whether the petition has any iota of truth, or the petition is baseless or not. The point is, in a democracy people have right to express their opinions. Don’t forget that Prince Dapo Abiodun witnessed the highest numbers of court issues towards the journey to the government house, even when he emerged, his election was still challenged at the Tribunal, but the party and the candidate won. The same petitioners proceeded to Appeal Court and finally the Supreme Court where the APC and our candidate still won unanimously. Two years after, the losers are yet to congratulate the winner, though they claim to be back in the same party with us but you will recall that immediately after that election all contestants from different political parties visited the Iperu home of the governor to congratulate him. We have an administration that is open, inclusive, just and progressive.
As a ruling political party what will you score the present administration based on governance, infrastructure and development?
Naturally, It is not expected of me to score this Administration because I am part of this Administration . This administration is a product of the party that I serve currently as the Publicity Secretary, but we have a song that people sing to appreciate the Governor for what he has done ( whether we are working or not, go to town and see our work – berise wa berise wa e wogboro wo); but for the purpose of your question, the former Governor of Ogun State, Baba Osoba, said it and it was reported by Ogun State Television that the housing projects of Governor Dapo Abiodun, has never been done or matched by previous administrations in the State. Otunba Gbenga Daniel, also a former governor said the projects of Prince Dapo Abiodun are unparalleled. So, if we can have such testimonies from past governors of this state what else do we need to add? The president said during the commissioning of projects and I quote him “yours is a promise made, promise kept…you have done good for your people and you have also done well for our party”.
Despite the disparity in the party, as the party’s publicity secretary, what is the present Administration doing to unite the APC in Ogun State?
The APC is united in Ogun State and there are no factions; what we have are petitioners and serial ones at that. However, right from the electioneering days, Prince Dapo Abiodun made it known that he was going to run an inclusive government and that is what he has been practicing. Even as at now, in his cabinet, there are people you can point out from various political parties. Our party chairman, Chief Yemi Sanusi, has continued to say that the doors of the party are opened for everybody. You will also realise that the petitioners are also the people who were against us in 2019.
What is the secret behind the peace encountered in the state during the visit of Mr. President?
The mercy of Almighty God and the inclusiveness policy of Mr. Governor have reduced the political heat in the politics of Ogun State since 2019. Our youths and students have access to the governor directly or indirectly and Ogun State people love Mr. President as demonstrated. He has always said Ogun State is his second home because at the early stage of his military career, he served in Abeokuta at Lafenwa barracks. All our traditional rulers came out to receive Mr. President, all these things put together ensured that we had a peaceful and successful outing.