Aristotle once said: “Excellence is never an accident. It is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, and intelligent execution; it represents the wise choice of many alternatives – choice, not chance, determines destiny”.
By Segun Ajiboye
This quote aptly fits the personae of the Ondo State Governor; Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, SAN; who has immensely brought excellence to governance with his Midas touch which encapsulates a high intention to serve, spiced with inputs of sincere efforts and the displays of brilliant executions of novel ideas in every aspect of the administration of the Sunshine State.
For the memorable journey which started in 2017, the Akeredolu administration has demonstrated how determination, dedication, conscience and focus can change the fortunes of governance.
Since his inauguration as Governor, his five Cardinal Programmes for the state which are: Job creation through agriculture, entrepreneurship and industrialisation, massive infrastructural development and maintenance, promotion of functional education and technological growth, provision of assessable and qualitative healthcare and social service delivery, and rural development and community extension services (JMPPR) has been the platform of change which he has continually used to change the lives of the people of the State for the better.
Within three and half years on the saddle, Akeredolu’s good works have spoken volumes; as his catalogue of achievements is inexhaustible as all the sectors under him have all blossomed within these three years!
Perhaps, the catchment strength of Governor Akeredolu is in the area of infrastructural development. From ultramodern buildings, bridges and hundreds of networks of various newly-constructed roads, which dot the landscape of Ondo State from the urban to the rural areas, Akeredolu’s great infrastructural strides have; indeed; become a pacesetting one in the country.
Perhaps what distinguishes Akeredolu from other governors in Nigeria is the unmatched industrialisation drive of his government.
As a development-focused person, Akeredolu has spiritedly brought Ondo State to the path of boisterous economic prosperity with monumental industrialisation projects; like the Ondo Deep Sea Port.
The landmark enterprise however is the Ondo/Linyi Industrial Hub. A most celebrated project which was inaugurated by President Muhammadu Buhari on February 25, 2020 during the third anniversary of the governor; the Ondo Linyl Industrial Hub has; as its components; the Line of Production of High Density Fibreboard, the Cassava to Ethanol Plant which can process about 300 metric tonnes of cassava per day, and the Win-Win Textile Factory, all located within the Ore Industrial Park.
This Industrial Park is the result of the mustard seed that was planted when; in 2017; Ondo State signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Linyi Municipal Government of Shendong Province in the People’s Republic of China.
Today, the Industrial Park is bubbling with life as thousands of youths are gainfully employed there. The exciting thing however is the latest addition to the Park – the truck assembly plant.
This truck assembly plant is the first truck assemblage plant in the country. This is obviously in fulfillment of Akeredolu’s determination to make Ondo State an industrial hub of the country.
The truck assembly plant operated by one of China’s leading truck brands; Dongfeng Commercial Vehicle Company Limited; has its products range covering heavy and medium-duty trucks.
Following the approval for the grant of license for the automobile assembly plant in November 2019, Dongfeng Vehicle Company which was established in 1969, began operations of assemblage of the truck parts in Ondo State on March 1, 2020, when the first consignment arrived in Lagos port.
Today, over seventy trucks have been assembled and the numbers are still counting, especially with the assemblage of two trucks per day.
According to the Director of the Ondo Linyi Industrial Hub; Kelvin Zhu, Governor Akeredolu have given them the confidence to operate in a conducive atmosphere.
Noting that Dungfeng Trucks is a popular choice in China because of its good quality and friendly prices, Zhu expressed optimism at having a huge customer-base when the trucks are finally rolled out for sales.
He also stressed the employment benefits that Nigerians enjoy; as most of their workforce comprised of indigenous staffs which were sourced from indigenes of the community in particular and Ondo State in general.
“The Dongfeng is a new business here. We found out that there are lots of opportunities here. This is just the first phase. We bring the parts from China, and we assemble it here.
We recruit local Nigerian engineers who we train to get the new technologies here. There are about 20 engineers here now; but in the future, we aim to employ close to 200 engineers because this is just the first phase which is assembling. We hope to go beyond this first stage to manufacturing.
“Governor Akeredolu is very open-minded. He is out to promote the economy of Ondo State.
As investors from China, we can benefit a lot, and the people of Ondo State too can benefit by gaining employment. The governor has given us the confidence to do business here”.
The Chinese national was not alone in showering encomiums on the governor; some Nigerian workers at the company also did same.
Abah Peter; an engineer from Benue State, and Haruna Adamu; a technician from Kogi State, in separate interviews, thanked Governor Akeredolu for coming up with the initiative of the truck assembling plant as it had provided gainful employments for the youths. It has also enabled them to learn new skills; and in turn, bettering their lot.
Without mincing words, facilitating the truck assembling plant, is Akeredolu’s model for the industrialization drive of Ondo State, and this have redefined what purposeful governance should be about; especially in a clime like ours.
With this giant innovative stride, second-to-none in the country; it only perhaps confirms Ralph Waldo Emerson’s aphorism: “Do not follow where the path may lead.
Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail”. Akeredolu is indeed, a trailblazer having threaded an innovative path to the industrialization of the Sunshine State with the trucks assembly plant.