By Adejuwon Soyinka
“The best way to predict the future is to create it” – Peter Drucker
To start with, let me be upfront in declaring my lack of qualification for the elevated title of a prophet. I am not a prophet and I very much doubt if I can ever make one by any stretch of imagination.
Just as I am not prophetic, I also cannot make any pretensions to being clairvoyant. Indeed, I have no orbuculum and can therefore not be involved in the act of scrying.
However, in spite of these seeming shortcomings, I dare say that I can see the future. Without the aid of crystal balls, I can see a future where Ogun State grows its Gross Domestic Product, GDP, from its current position of $20bn annually to $100bn within the next ten years.That is not all. I can also see a future where someone resident in Ogun State can arrive Lagos for work, business or any other purposes, after a 20mins train ride.
I can see a future where an international airport in Ogun State becomes a major hub for the movement of goods, machineries, people and services in and out of Nigeria thereby completing the meaning of the state’s appellation as the gateway to not just the rest of Nigeria but also the West African sub-region.
Now, since I am neither a prophet nor a fortune-teller, how did I see this future that I have so painted? Well, Peter Drucker, the Austrian-born American management guru already took care of that when he said, “the best way to predict the future is to create it.”
And that is exactly what Ogun State Governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, is doing in Ogun State at the moment. He is busy creating the desired future of the Gateway state.
“One of the strategies towards achieving this aim is to attract investments into the State,” he recently said.
To make this happen, the state government, however, realizes the need to first put infrastructure in place. “This is why we have embarked on massive infrastructural development. At the commencement of our massive road construction and redesign across the State, even some of our steadfast supporters never believed we could achieve what we have achieved.
“Today, these projects have opened up Ogun State as the investment destination of choice in the country. Indeed, Ogun State has emerged the fastest growing State economy and is now the industrial capital of Nigeria by all indices, giving further proof of our actions.
We have been able to attract 543 new industries in the five years of our administration, all of which have invested not less than $50 million each. Of these industries, 110 have invested between $200 million and $2 billion,” Governor Amosun said.
Realising that in order to achieve massive industrialisation, there is the need to support road transportation with rail transportation, the state government has concluded plans to have the ground-breaking ceremony for its proposed light-rail project within the first quarter of 2017.
The first phase of the proposed Ogun Light Rail Network is approximately 102.3km and consists of two lines namely: Abeokuta (Panseke) – Sagamu Interchange – Sagamu Town (49.8 km) and Ogere Town – Sagamu Interchange – Berger (52.5km).
This first phase of the rail line was selected to take advantage of the existing traffic on the Lagos to Sagamu section of the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, which is the busiest road in Nigeria with an Annual Average Daily Traffic (AADT) of over 40,000. This phase also connects Abeokuta, the state capital to the rapidly growing industrial zone of Sagamu and commercial zone of Ogere.
As part of efforts to create the desired future, the Ogun State government is also keying in to the potentials provided by Agriculture and Agri-Business. “We are exploring an Agro-Politan development strategy which emphasises the localisation of the entire value chain that Agriculture provides: Grow-Process-Store–Package–Market-Sell.
This will ensure that millions of our citizens, especially youth, will be engaged in the Agricultural value chain and will be able to prosper wherever they are,” Governor Amosun said. Closely related to this, is the reforestation project of the state government. For this, Ogun State already has two sites at Aworo and Imeko.
Apart from the fact that the projects will go a long way in improving the quality of the environment, it will also boost forestry development plan and promote investment in the timber industry.
“Since most of the people who will drive the Agriculture and Forestry sectors are mostly rural dwellers, the year 2017 will witness huge rural road construction.
“We will take advantage of the opportunities provided by the World Bank through the Rural Access and Mobility Project (RAMP) to ensure easy access to farm produce and mobility of dwellers to modern facilities such as pipe borne water, electricity and qualitative health care delivery,” Governor Amosun said.
Of course when you attract investments and investors, you then also have to make provisions for their housing needs. In this respect, the Ogun State government is making efforts to create the desired future by continuing with the development of the New Makun City; MITROS City in Isheri; New Government City in Kobape; New Cities in Ota and Agbara; New GRA in Ijebu-Ode, and the President Muhammadu Buhari Housing Estate, Kobape, among others.
So, wont these new projects affect the completion of ongoing ones? The governor’s answer is an emphatic no. “Let me again re-assure you that the commencement of new projects will not in any way affect the completion of on-going projects spread across the three Senatorial districts.
By the grace of God, I assure you that we will not leave any project uncompleted,” he said recently.
Indeed, in the present day Ogun State, nearly anyone can claim to be a prophet or seer. This is because the state government is clearly creating the future.
Soyinka is the Senior Special Assistant (Media) and spokesman for Governor Ibikunle Amosun.