It is interesting to see the caliber of aspirants that have emerged as the flag bearer of the respective political parties for the Ondo State governorship election billed for the 26th of November, 2016.
A) Mr. Rotimi Akeredolu (SAN) : APC
B) Mr. Eyitayo Jegede (SAN) / Mr. Jimoh Ibrahim –: PDP Makarfi faction and Ali Modu Sheriff faction respectively
The resumè of all of the candidates gives a lot of hope for a state that is endowed with a lot of human and mineral resources and potential,
Any of the candidates should be able to steer the economy of state to greatness by improving on the work done by the outgoing government headed by Dr. Olusegun Mimiko.
This is not the time for party slogans ( change, change the change, solution, the people’s mandate) it is time to WORK!
Ondo State, dubbed as the Sunshine State, was created on February 3, 1976, and has a population of 3,441,024 persons (2006 census) distributed across 18 local councils within a land area of 14,788.723 Square Kilometers, Located in the South-West geo-political zone of Nigeria. Ondo State is bounded in the North by Ekiti/Kogi states; in the East by Edo State; in the West by Oyo and Ogun states, and in the South by the Atlantic Ocean.
Ondo State is a multi-ethnic state with the majority being Yoruba while there are also the Ikale, Ilaje, Arogbo and Akpoi, who are of Ijaw extraction and inhabit the riverine areas of the state.
Arguably, Ondo is one of the most resource endowed states of Nigeria. It is agriculturally rich with agriculture contributing about 75 per cent of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The main revenue yielding crops are cocoa, palm produce and timber. Ondo region is now the core of the Nigerian cocoa belt accounting for about 60 per cent of Nigeria’s annual output.
Other tree crops include kola, rubber, coffee, oil palm and exotics, especially Tectona grandis and Gmelina arborea. Arable crops like rice, cassava, maize, yam, pepper, beans, tomatoes and a host of other vegetables are cultivated mostly in the northern part of the state. The creeks and coastlands of the state are rich in prawns and lobsters and the state is said to have reserve for stock fish. Ondo is also blessed with mineral resources such as petroleum, tar sand (bitumen), kaolin clay, iron ore, granite and quartz sands.
I am of the opinion that Ondo State should not be on the list of states that are having challenges in paying salaries. The leadership of the state needs to look inward to develop the different revenue streams domiciled in the state.
Below are some sectors in the state that I think the incoming governments should give keen interest and improve upon.
AGRICULTURE & AGRO-PROCESSING
• Crop production
• Aquaculture activities
• Livestock farming
• Cash crop processing i.e. cocoa and oil palm
• Food crop processing i.e. maize, cassava, yam
• Fish lobster and Shrimp processing
• Timber processing
– Dimesion stones
– Salt exploration and processing
• Education (Ondo State contains the largest number of public schools in Nigeria – over 880 primary schools, 190 secondary schools and 7 tertiary institutions)
• Electricity (ensure that Omotosho Power Plant is completed and improved on)
• Harness the potential of the Olokola deep seaport and free trade zone
• Health care
The government should create more awareness and harness the tourism potential of the state
• National Museum at Owo
• Ikogosi Warm Spring
• Idanre Hills,
• Igbokoda Water Front
• Iponle-Iloro Water falls
• Oko Marie Hills at Oka-Akoko
• Ebomi Lake at Epinmi-Akoko
• Festival such as Ariginya, Ogun, Obitun, Olokun, Orosun, Egungun, and Igogo festivals
Football and Swimming are sports Ondo State has a lot of potential, Sunshine stars of Akure, is a Nigerian football club based in state capital, Akure. The club plays in the top division of the Nigerian professional League, swimming, canoeing and rowing can also be introduced in secondary school’s curriculum.
INTER AND INTRA-STATE TRANSPORT
The state can issue franchises to private companies to manage and run the inter and intra state transportation on behalf of the state.
OIL AND NATURAL GAS (UPSTREAM AND DOWNSTREAM)
• Surveying and Civil works
• Exploration and production of crude oil
• Refining of crude oil
• Manufacture of petrochemicals
• Marketing of petroleum and gas products
If the incoming governor can directs his energy on these sectors, the revenue streams of the state will increase. Ondo State will change from being a state of residence to an industrial hub. Private companies will move in to invest in the state, jobs will be created. It will reduce the rural to urban migration, more roads will be built, the standard of living of the residents will improve, mortality rate will decline. Also the state will not rely so much on FAAC allocation to meet its obligations
Femi Ogunboye is a public affairs commentator. Connect with him on Facebook.
The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author.