The Governor of Oyo state, Seyi Makinde, on Saturday, attended the 74th Posthumous birthday of Senator Abiola Ajimobi, held at the Institute for Peace and Strategic Studies, University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Nigeria.
The event, which was equally attended by the Vice President of Nigeria, Kashim Shettima, ably represented by his SSA, Bashir A Maidugu, also had in attendance Governor of Ogun state, Dapo Abiodun; former Oyo Deputy Governors, Barrister Iyiola Oladokun and Otunba Moses Alake Adeyemo; Senator Yunus Akintunde; Senator Fatai Buhari; Minister of Power, Adelabu Penkelemes; Chairman of FIRS, Mr Zacheaus Adelabu, members of House of Representatives; former minister of finance, Kemi Adeosun and former minister of industry Onikepo Akande CON.
Former Commissioner for Education under Ajimobi’s administration, Professor Olowofela; Chief Niyi Akintola SAN; Chairman Federal Civil Service Commission, Professor Tunji Olaopa, APC members of Oyo state House of Assemblies and host of others were among those who put up presence.
While speaking, Governor Makinde, who was represented by his deputy, Barrister Abdul-Raheem Adebayo Lawal, commended the Chairman of Senator Abiola Ajimobi Foundation (SAAF), Mrs Florence Ajimobi for making it possible every year to celebrate senator Ajimobi’s posthumous birthday.
He described late Governor Ajimobi as the only governor of Oyo state who transited and still being very celebrated yearly, saying that his remembrance shows clearly that he lived very well for the good people of Oyo state and Nigeria before he departed for his memory to be celebrated.
The Deputy governor, who hinted that the deceased had a good relationship with people before his departure, however described Ajimobi as somebody one couldn’t take for granted because he was coming from the background of private sector into political space.
According to him, we knew Ajimobi to be a very blunt person and straightforward person whose virtue has assisted him in the political trajectory to become senator, governor of Oyo state and acting national chairman of All Progressives Congress.
“In 2011, when he contested to become governor, he won the election but he needed to govern, so he approached one of our leaders in Oyo state to enlist his support and was given, and was able to govern Oyo state very successfully. So, that was the man in whose memory, we have all gathered here to celebrate.
“Senator Ajimobi was a man with countless sense of humor, and I do not know anybody who can crack jokes better than Senator Ajimobi, which had made people to really moved round him. Even if he quarrel with you, next minutes, he will crack jokes and you won’t have choice than to laugh.
“So, we thank God for his life and what he has been able to achieve,” he said.
The Deputy Governor, who also spoke extempore on the topic, themed “Re-Engineering Nigeria For Sustainable Development: Options, Costs and Prospects”, stated that the era of the ancient SAM or 3-man economists are long gone and that sustainable development in Nigeria cannot be formulated using their model.
He recalled that in 1986 when SAM frame work was introduced, there was a thought that Nigeria has gotten to a stage of self sustainability which was given by IMF, world bank among other institutions that create model for third world countries, stressing that if one is proposing sustainable development for Nigeria, we must be planning to depart from institutions of such nature.
He said: “In Oyo state, I make bold to say that in the last five years, we have been able to really open up the economy in a way that development and industries would be attracted to Oyo state.
“We have put in place, the circular road which is 110km round Ibadan city. As we speak, we have done almost half of that place in a way that Lagos to Ibadan would be done within 35-40 minutes. Lagos is just 110km which is the circumference of Ibadan circular road. Lagos is doing N60bn on monthly bases revenue generation, just 110km away, and Oyo state before His Excellency, Seyi Makkinde came on board, Oyo was doing N2bn, but now it has been lifted to about N4bn.”
The Deputy Governor, whose remarks attracted thunderous applause from listeners who were largely dominated by members of All Progressives Congress, added that “under the leadership of His Excellency, Seyi Makinde, we are opening up the economy to attract investment into Oyo state.
“For the umpteen time, Moniya road and other places have been done likewise Ogbomoso to Iseyin road as well as Oyo to Iseyin road are linked together which is attracting development and industries for investment.
“We have also done the eastern part of Oyo state, around Ibarapa axis, the road from Eruwa to Ibaprapa central is done which allowed people to travel freely while 2024 budget has captured the construction of all the inner roads of Ibadan and by new year, contractors will begin work and get it completed within 18months.
The deputy governor stated that Oyo state ranks first in the southwest of Nigeria for the availability of lithium because no local government in Oyo state lacks a solid mineral deposit, particularly in Akinyele, Irepo, and Olorunsogo, which have large deposits of lithium.
He added that the Makinde administration is also not backing down from taking advantage of the solid mineral resources in the state to boost the state’s economy.
Barrister Lawal emphasized that security is necessary for sustainable development in Nigeria and that Makinde’s administration has adequately provided it by bolstering the state’s security architecture to allow the people of Oyo State live in peace.
On his part, the Governor of Ogun state, Dapo Abiodun, who was among keynote speakers at the event described late Ajimobi as a caring father and a courageous man who broke the jinx of Oyo state as the first two term governor of the state (Koseleri).
He appreciated the time he spent with him and the lesson he learnt in the course of his political journey, saying that the late governor was an exceptional communicator as he smiles often and his humor is second to none.
He added that the event is very important to him as he has to be part of the auspicious occasion despite many functions stressing that the Governor had lived a successful life.
The Governor noted in his well prepared speech that sustainable development is not only for Nigeria but the world as a whole, saying that it’s an ability of the future to meet its own needs.
He stated that Nigeria need to start thinking out of the box on monopoly economy which is the oil while lamenting that the country as an oil power house, is yet to have a working refinery for decades.
He equally said that the country is shifting away from oil in the same manner that other nations are currently thinking about energy, agriculture, and how best to utilise the nation’s substantial mineral reasources, including lithium and gold, among others, for sustainable growth.
We can easily create millions of jobs if we tap into this solid mineral reasources among others, according to Mr Abiodun who noted that tourism is also part of what can be tapped to revive the economy of Nigeria as well as investing in infrastructure, education, agriculture, transportation among others to harness the potentials of Nigeria for economic growth.
“We must empower our youths. They are the cornerstone of development especially on digital education. We must also improve on agriculture to provide jobs opportunity as we have palm oil, cocoa, maize and others to create enviable environment,” he added.
Earlier in his welcome address, Mr. Adelabu, the minister of power, commended the Ajimobi’s family for preserving his memory and said that the attendance of dignitaries was evidence of his good deeds.
He pointed out that the celebration of his 74th birthday after his passing is also a sombre reflection of his impact on Oyo State’s development and society during his lifetime.
Adelabu argued that Ajimobi established the standard for political roles, noting that he had acquired courage, godliness, and distinctive shape in addition to his endearing personality that won him many supporters.
He added that the late Governor epitomize excellence describing him as an astute politician and a good administrator.
On the entourage of the Deputy Governor include Commissioner for Education, Professor Abdulwaheed Solihu Adelabu; Governor Makinde’s ally, Alhaji Tijani Double T and host of others.