Akure — In a grand and impressive manner, the Ondo State Governor, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko, was returned to office for a second term in a keenly contested governorship election. The outcome of the election which presented a unique opportunity for a multi-layered assessment of Mimiko's achievements and political influence, brought to the fore certain interesting issues: That sometimes, a tree could make a forest by virtue of hard work and resourcefulness, but most importantly when God the Almighty who is capable of anything and everything decides to make it so.
That good governance can break the yoke of political spells such as a second term jinx. That political godfatherism is fast eroding in the face of evolving sophistication of the electorate who were hardly swayed by monetary inducements. Finally, that Ondo people remain a special species of sort that are politically mature, well informed and highly sophisticated to determine conscientiously who leads them through their votes.
Mimiko's landslide victory at the election, a consensus of opinion across the Ondo State political spectrum and even beyond, therefore represents an endorsement of the signature achievements of his first term in office. The journey ahead in the next four years now seems to be the issue. What are the top priorities of Governor Mimiko's continuity agenda? The answers are not far-fetched.
At the signing into law ceremony of the state's 2013 budget recently, the governor reiterated that he would ensure that all programmes and projects initiated for the transformation of the state were pursued to a logical conclusion. He went further to stress the need to sustain life changing initiatives like the Abiye Safe Motherhood programme and the free school bus shuttle scheme among others, assuring the people that his administration's locally and internationally acclaimed programmes would not be a flash in the pan, but sustainable and institutionalised.
Like a seamless narrative, the administration's smooth transition to second term in office provides a continuum of progress, stability, sustainability and consolidation of an unchanging quality of people oriented-programmes, policies and projects.
In the spirit of good governance and purposeful leadership that characterised his first term in office, the governor has pledged to continue to work for the good people of Ondo State, to continue to transform and uplift their wellbeing and ensure that thousands of the citizenry move from the lowest rung of the ladder to at least the lower middle class by considerably reducing poverty and inequality and improving infrastructure and education.
For example, the government is poised to further revamp the education sector for desired results. More mega schools are to be built across the state, rehabilitation, structural and facility upgrade of more public schools in all the senatorial districts, and ensure higher quality in the educational system through the activities of the state's Quality Assurance Agency which has been adjudged as the leading quality assurance agency in Nigeria.
The free medical care from conception to six weeks post-delivery continues unabated. More Specialist Mother and Child Hospitals are to be established in all the local governments areas of the state, while the home grown Abiye Programme which has been adopted by the United Nations as the preferred model for Mother and Child Healthcare Delivery in Developing Countries, will be further consolidated and sustained for better results.
Government is to further ensure food security and employment generation through the various agricultural schemes such as the Agric Villages, livestock farming initiatives among others, by enlarging their coasts and coming up with new ideas that would drive the scheme for better results.
Similarly, to further improve profoundly the wellbeing of the citizenry and boost their morale, the government's Housing and Urban Renewal Programme which has attracted local and international awards and commendations is expected to bring forth more transformation and renewal simultaneously in the rural communities and urban centers.
Invariably, the governor's second term is set to witness the building of more millennium compliant neighborhood and modern markets, completion of on-going road construction projects and building of new ones across the state alongside dualisation of high traffic roads, and provision of more modern parks, fountains and other recreational facilities.
With regards to development of low cost sustainable accommodation which has yielded the delivery of over 300 housing units to date, the initiative is not in any danger of losing momentum as renewed efforts are already in top gear to delivering more housing units during the second lap of Mimiko's administration.
The above expositions clearly depict the benefits of continuity which the Ondo people voted for. The people's yearnings and aspirations are in tandem with Mimiko's vision to take Ondo to the next level during his second term in office.
He is poised to ensure that the people remain the central focus of governance, by way of bridging the gap between government and the governed, an action which accommodates the down-trodden as stakeholders and participants in decision-making, especially as it relates to their respective communities.
The second coming of the Mimiko administration will also see to the fact that life changing interventions in the rural communities that have never felt government presence continue unhindered, sustaining the restructuring of the health sector in favour of the most vulnerable in the society, while continued resuscitation of decaying infrastructure, environmental revival and upgrading, and uplifting the standard of education through well articulated initiatives are very crucial to the continuity agenda.