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Best gift to Amosun at 60

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Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun State.

Sir: The governor of Ogun State, Ibikunle Amosun, “strives for or demands the highest standards of excellence in work.” Little wonder he enunciated in early 2012 a concept called “Ogun Standard,” which demands that every project executed must comply with international best practices; it must be a model for others to emulate. Amosun “refuses to do or accept anything that is not as good as it could possibly be.” We were once in Ijebu Ode to inaugurate a project. The governor had to call it off because it was “not as good as it could possibly be.” At Ota, Amosun once shook his head in disapproval and muttered, “This is not Ogun Standard!” On a number of times, brochures or pamphlets for events had to be reprinted at the last minute, into the early hours, because attention was not paid to details or some of the pages were defaced with ink or the entire booklets were not of excellent workmanship?

“Let’s manage it like that,” the usual refrain in our clime – a product of mediocre mentality. And you expect Amosun to accept that, to manage it? No. He won’t. And that’s the problem. Here in Nigeria, we tend to accommodate anything but the ideal: “Oh, it’s a minor mistake; let’s manage it!” No, Amosun will not “manage it” with you. You’ll have to correct the mistake. “Oh, it’s just a small error; nobody will see it!” No, Amosun will notice that error; he will see it. So, you’d better correct it. As in the example above, Amosun is “a perfectionist in his art and could be difficult to work for.” Yes, he will be difficult to work for because he won’t accept your mediocrity. He won’t accept anything second-rate from you.

Change is constant, yet it is usually difficult for people to accept change. To be more charitable, it also takes some time for people to imbibe new qualities or new ways of during things. During the 2015 electioneering, we passed through a road leading to a particular higher institution where the Amosun administration had invested a lot. The sign board was literally in tatters. Yet, inside the school were first class structures. I shook my head in amazement and soliloquy, “Is it the governor that will come here to teach this institution about Ogun Standard? Do they need a lecture to know that the image of the institution is reflected also in its sign board?” At another time, I saw a very good poster of an event on a large billboard, somebody trying to impress the governor. But the billboard had dents and undulating edges. The man had simply wasted his money. But I then empathized with the governor: “These people have not imbibed Amosun’s culture of excellence!” The point is not lost on the governor himself – absolutely not. Sometimes he will shake his head over some “average” work and then whisper, facing another direction or people: “Ko get e!” (He doesn’t understand!) He allows it to pass because he’s human, hoping that next time, you will come with an excellent job. That is when nothing too serious is at stake. Otherwise such is only excused once in a blue moon.

Of course, the governor cannot see everything. I reckoned that some people might not see anything really wrong either with the institution sign board or the billboard. Change is necessary. It also takes time for people to accept and practise the change. The good news is this: We’ve seen more and more of Ogun Standard displayed every now and then. We won’t get everything right at the same time. But it is noble to be seen to aspire to the highest ideals, to strive for higher standards in our work – the Ogun Standard. Let’s imbibe Amosun’s sterling qualities of being industrious, meticulous, disciplined and highly organised. Let’s imbibe the governor’s culture of excellence in every of our work. This is the best gift we can give to Governor Amosun, the moderniser, as he turns 60 on Thursday, January 25, 2018.

Soyombo Opeyemi.


In this article:
Ibikunle AmosunOgun State
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