I was at Oke Agbe, Akoko North West in Ondo State home to business mogul Otunba Solomon Oladunni and the late Chief Rufus Giwa where I was guest speaker and special guest of honour at the commissioning of one of the 50 Mega schools built by the Mimiko administration.
Each of the schools with capacity for 550 pupils provides conducive learning environment with contemporary facilities for the learners. The facilities include among others: computer laboratories, modern library, sick bay, and recreational facilities with magnetic boards.
Primary school children clad in uniforms freely provided by government were seen working dexterously with the computer to the amazement and appreciation of parents and guests conducted round as witnesses. The aesthetic beauty of the architectural design and landscape of the Mega School is food for the eyes!
Nelson Mandela tells us that education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world. It is education that could and would make the child of a ‘nobody’ to compete and most times outclass the children of somebody.
Former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan says that education is the premise of progress, in every society, in every family; while Malcolm X affirms that education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today. The great philosopher Obafemi Awolowo says the Mind is the master of man.
In the light of the greatness and power attached to education as enumerated in these quotes, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko has been harping on the theme of education these past eight years and that is why he has refined and redefined the parameters of education in his state. His mantra has always been service to motherland, and there can be no better service than to ensure that your motherland has a better future.
This is what has informed his administration’s unparalleled investment in education, the provision of several primary school blocks, secondary schools, outstanding world class 50 mega schools, the refurbishment, expansion and reinvigoration of the Adekunle Ajasin University at Akungba, and the first of its kind the University of Medical Sciences at Ondo City, the first in West Africa and second in the whole of Africa among several others. Education as emphasised in my speech is ‘the catalyst for development’.
Investment in knowledge [education] yields the best interest, dividend, according to Benjamin Franklin and to that end we are guaranteed that the huge investment by Mimiko in education is bound to yield bountiful interest. History will record this as imperishable legacy.
Some critics are quick to query the need for mega schools arguing that most towns where these mega schools are being established do not have sufficient population in their catchment areas to fill up the spaces in such schools. This line of thought is of course either myopic or deliberately mischievous.
Nigeria, today, has one of the fastest growing populations in the world. She is currently the seventh most populous country in the world with her 186,879,760 million people (Source: Internet World Stats) and believed to jump to 225 million in less than 10 years, it is only reasonable that a man with foresight should plan ahead. Besides, mega schools operate on the economics of scale and they are a win-win situation for the people and the state.
The greatest attraction for history is Mimiko’s extraordinary investments in health care delivery facilities making his state first among equals in Nigeria. The most outstanding is the world acclaimed Trauma Centre being currently run by Dr. Oluwole Ige as CMD.
The environment and surrounding is striking, clean and devoid of the typical hospital smell. It is adorned with well maintained lawns and general aesthetics that can make a visitor feel like being a patient.
The centre has a group of young, committed professional caregivers across medical fields that are full of energy and drive to deliver excellence at all times. The hospital has state of the art equipment, instruments, gadgets and hospital furniture for efficient service delivery and it is remarkable that these have been well maintained and the necessary supplies needed for functionality of the equipment have never been lacking since the inception of the hospital unlike what is obtainable in most public hospitals around the country where equipment get out of use due to lack of maintenance or consumables.
The trauma response is fast and efficient, it gives the maximum chance of survival to victims of trauma irrespective of the severity or degree of injury.This is achieved through a crash system that has the state of the art crash bay as its engine room.
The pen is the tongue of the hand,the silent utterer of words for the eyes – Henry Beecher
Unpublished data in the hospital puts the reduction in Morbidity and Mortality at more than 50% as compared to other tertiary centres in the country. The centre also has the record time for carrying out emergency surgical intervention which implies that all the preliminary preparations before surgery are done in a record time.
It’s also noteworthy as an objective measure of these feats that the hospital was granted accreditation to train post graduate doctors in surgical specialties, in an unprecedented record time of less than one year after its commencement by the National Postgraduate Medical College, the West African College of Surgeons after a year and later by the West African College of Surgeons and National Post Graduate Medical College For Anesthesia And Radiology.
Tayo Ogunbiyi is a social and political commentator.
The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author.