Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
Ogun State Governor Dapo Abiodun has said that the composition of his administration’s cabinet will be determined by merit, stressing that qualified professionals were imperative to the execution of his plans for the people of Ogun.
The newly elected state governor says his experience in the private sector would guide him in appointing competent persons to work alongside him.
Abiodun stated this while speaking with State House Correspondents after a meeting with Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.
The governor was one of several elected All Progressives Congress (APC) governors who visited President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday.
“You know my background is in the private sector, and in the private sector we believe in what is called merit before anything else,” said the 59-year-old businessman turned politician.
“So, everything we are going to be doing in Ogun henceforth would be based on merit. Our cabinet will reflect people who deserve to be in office. They will show competence.”
The Ogun governor said the composition of his transmission team, which “comprised the best brains in Ogun from the private sector,” was an indication of the direction to which his administration is headed.
“If you look at what we have done so far, the choice of my CPS, I’m sure you know who my CPS is Kunle Solarin, one of the best minds in the media industry in Ogun; my Chief of Staff is also a very brilliant Ogun man; my SSG is a very successful entrepreneur from Ogun as well.
“So, this is how we are going to be defined to achieve our potentials, which we have earmarked and called our ‘pillars’.
“We must ensure that things are gotten right, which we call our ‘enablers’. The first of our enablers is good governance.
“We cannot talk about good governance when the team itself that wants to execute good governance is faulty,” he said.
Abiodun said he would pick those that would execute the pillars of his administration “from the lenses of good governance.
“Good governance starts with as simple as ensuring that workers’ salaries are paid on time. I assumed office on the 30th May, having been sworn on 29th of May. 31st of May, my second day in office, was the day salaries were due for payment.
“My pact with Ogun people was that salaries would be paid as at when due and, to the glory of God, that day, 31st of May, Ogun civil servants began to receive their alerts of payment of their salaries. That exemplifies good governance. So people can begin to take you seriously.”
The governor added that a critical imperative of his administration is ensuring that investors in the state have the right environment to conduct their businesses.
According to him, the proximity of Ogun State to Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial capital, necessitates that deliberate policies designed by competent persons be executed to allow ease of doing business in the southwestern state.
“Ogun today is like New Jersey to New York. We benefitted from what you call the push factor from Lagos.
“We want to turn that to a pull factor, but you cannot bring and endear people to your state if you don’t begin to think about how to increase the ranking of your state in the global ease of doing business index.
“So, if people see that you are serious about paying salaries on time, if they see that you are serious about empowering local government chairmen to ensure that they perform their duties as enshrined in the constitution, if they see you as paying pensions, clearing pensions and sending to PFAs, if they see you as paying gratuities and clearing arrears, then people would be endeared,” Abiodun stated.
“They will say this government is a serious government. Ogun is geared for greater heights and we do that by ensuring that good governance is in accordance with our vision.
“Let me repeat it, our vision is to provide a focused and qualitative governance, while creating an enabling environment for private, public sector partnership, which we believe is fundamental to the economic growth of the state and individual prosperity.”
Speaking on his separate meeting with the Vice President, Abiodun said:
“Being his governor, I decided to pay him a courtesy call, and of course share with him some of the ideas that we have and what we are doing in Ogun State; and also get his buy-in, and discuss a few other things off the record.”