BEING AN ADDRESS DELIVERED BY THE GOVERNOR OF ONDO STATE, AT THE RETREAT FOR POLITICAL OFFICE HOLDERS HELD ON FRIDAY 2ND FEBRUARY, 2018 AT MYDAS HOTEL AND RESORTS, OWO, ONDO STATE
I am very delighted to welcome you all to this epoch-making event. The configuration of this gathering speaks volume about the seriousness that this Administration attaches to capacity building and service delivery. The timing of this retreat, as well as the issues brought here for debates and resolution, are also evidence of our commitment to engineer a strong institution of governance capable and willing to deliver on the mandates bestowed upon it by the good people of Ondo State through their popular votes in 2016. It is, therefore, my hope that the time spent together in this serenity, away from the hustle and bustle of the cosmopolitan Akure, will propel us to have deeper reflections on shared values and expanded vision of high ideals expected of us as a Government.
May I use this opportunity to express our profound gratitude to the facilitator of this event, our friend and brother, Dr. Goke Adegoroye, and his faculty team of eminent Nigerians for their love and kind gestures to the Ondo State Government at this time. It is our joy and hope that the history that is being made here today will cascade into shared glory for all of us and the common people in the fullness of time.
Ladies and gentlemen, the circumstances surrounding our emergence as the widely preferred choice of the people, coupled with the challenges and events that heralded our coming on the saddle of government in Ondo State at this time in History, speak volumes of the enormity of expectations from us. It is important to remind ourselves that the sensibilities that formulated into campaign issues then were hunger, misery, anxiety, pain and frustration. Recall also that in all our journeys to every nook and cranny of this state, we promised our people to mobilise the inner strength within us all as a people, to take a decisive leap to optimally harness our overall potential for greatness, prosperity, peace and stability. We promised to build a new Ondo State where honesty, prosperity and confidence can, once again, be our identity. This event, therefore, is a key ingredient in the fulfillment of such promises. It provides us with that opportunity to bond together, interrogate our mandate, encounter our tasks and retool ourselves to run the huge engine of government in a seamless, precise, deliberate and productive manner. Our ultimate aim should be to use the legitimacy which that popular approbation confers to engender unprecedented opportunities and prosperity for the benefit of our people.
This retreat, its curriculum and methodology also establish a clear self-definition for all of us here present. It indeed challenges our leadership ability and traits. In point of fact, it clearly separates and draws a line between our personalities as politicians and our identities as formulators and drivers of government’s policies and actions. In other words, we are here not as politicians or party men, or partisan civil servants or cheer- leaders, to play politics or plan the next election but as patriots, professionals, intellectuals and chosen competent members of the core of government. We are here as change technicians who are focused and eager to drive the train of government to restore hope, deliver sustainable development, encourage confidence and prosperity for our people.
To emphasise all said in the foregoing, I wish to remind you that our journey to this point has been systematic, orderly and deliberate. Recall that immediately we won the election, we inaugurated 251 best brains of Ondo State into the Strategic Development and Policy Implementation Committee (SDPIC), with the main aim of fashioning a course administrative action plan for optimum service delivery to our people.
On February 24th, we were inaugurated into office as a new Administration in Ondo State, few weeks after we received the detailed report of the SDPIC expert group which covered all areas of intended intervention by government. We took comprehensive briefing from Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) with the main aim of experiencing first hand, the state and health of government.
We later inaugurated the State Executive Council as the principal driver of our dreams and aspirations. That epoch-making event was immediately followed by the unveiling and commissioning of the SDPIC document as the 4-year blueprint and manual of government activities and strategic steps which explains in details our philosophy, vision, sectoral policies and comprehensive programmes of action clearly calendarised over a period of a tenure of four years
In specific terms, the Blueprint is anchored on five cardinal principles which are popularly known as our Programme for Change. These are:
- Job Creation through Agriculture, Entrepreneurship and Industrialization
- Massive Infrastructural Development and Maintenance
- Provision of Functional Education and Technological Growth
- Provision of Accessible and Qualitative Health Care and Social Service (delivery)
- Rural Development and Community Extension services.
This Programme for Change is erected on strong pillars which consist of the core sectors of government activities which the Blueprint lays emphasis on. These are:
- Finance and Management of state resources
- Health and Social Services
- Infrastructure and Public utilities
- Agriculture and Natural resources
- Commerce and Industrial development
- Education and Technology
- Land, Housing and Environment
- Women Affairs and Social Development
- Youth and Sports development
- Culture and Tourism as well as Information, Civic orientation and mobilisation among others
Ladies and gentlemen, this retreat, therefore, is to marry government’s vision and mission, as enshrined in the Blueprint, to both the bureaucracy and Political heads in order to ensure a holistic, successful and eventful delivery of good life to the people. There is no gainsaying that the mantra of our government, “Think anew, Act anew”, has become the motto of our people. But beyond these words lie the crucible of performance which are ideology, clarity of thoughts, self-conviction, intelligence, dedication, commitment, discipline, endurance, team spirit, fairness, vision and justice.
It is true that the fortunes of our people in the past have undulated over the years according to the vision, capacity and drives of leaders of government. We have travelled severally through the enviable era of purpose, diligence, integrity and action, to the lowest ebb of unimaginable and unthinkable penury and want. Our people have suffered so much so that survival, confidence and values of our people became suspect and forlorn. In the final analysis, we believe it is the vision and capacity of government that will determine the aspiration and attainment of the people. This is the reason we have instituted this retreat to build a clear engagement plan and ensure architecture of success.
We promised the people during the inauguration address, to lead a patriotic, highly inspired and competent team to rescue the ship of our state with a view to rebuilding our economy, resuscitating damaged infrastructure, restoring hope and returning our state to a free and prosperous land. Ladies and gentlemen you are the patriotic, competent men and women whose knowledge and activities will lead to this desired change.
In spite of all the challenges and difficulties encountered, it is clear that the lesson which history and, particularly, our chequered experience in the area of development in the past few years have taught us is that nobody but ourselves, either by our actions or inactions, are the very architects and masters of our own good or bad fortunes. It is also true that fantasies and desires are mere illusions of realities; nothing is ventured, translates to nothing is gained.
I, therefore, charge you all to give this retreat all the attention, concentration and contribution it requires so that we can make a mark in the lives of our people. I enjoin you to take time to study the entire architecture of our government, our philosophy, our strategies and our actions, both implemented and on-coming with the main aim of mobilising a relentless team spirit to propel it. It is important to confront all issues and debates raised frankly in the course of this retreat, with candour and confidence.
Finally, I wish to remind us all that the basic philosophy of thinking and acting anew is to encourage broad and massive participation of our people in the business of government. Government and governance should not be esoteric, distant and disconnected from the service of the people. Expectations of performance from the government must be anchored on reality. All of us here, as high level government officials, must bear this fact in mind always. There is no gain emphasizing the obvious that our Administration is and will be confronted with greater challenges of finance and development commitments. Therefore, we should not be in any position for frivolities and unnecessary, self-inflicted distraction occasioned by bickering and petty arguments. All of us, after this retreat, must re-gird our loins for the great task ahead. The picture of today is not good, but the vision for tomorrow is beautiful.
Ladies and gentlemen, from the end of this programme and as we change the gear of governance to turbo forward, I will be asking much more of you. I will ask for your Sweat, Blood and Time. I will even ask for part of your sleep and leisure for us to catch up with the enormous work and grounds to cover despite the time constraints.
Once again, I wish to thank you, my friend and fellow patriot, Dr. Goke Adegoroye, for your exceptional love for our administration, your selfless commitment to the development of Ondo State and our dear nation, Nigeria. I have the pleasure, ladies and gentlemen, and indeed, a duty, to declare open this Cabinet Retreat of the Ondo State Government to the glory of God and benefit of the people of Ondo State.
I thank you for listening and may God bless Ondo State.