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How Ogun is tackling insecurity, unemployment

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•Job portal, tech-hub excite youths

Ogun State pride itself as the ‘Gateway State.’ Its position within the Nigerian federation made it so. It borders Lagos, the country’s commercial capital. Every good and human in transit to other parts of the country passes through its territory. The state is also the gateway to neighbouring Benin Republic and other Western African countries. Added to these, statistical data about Ogun State points a fast-growing economy. All these are quite compelling. 

As an industrial hub, Ogun is a quintessential melting pot for an influx of new companies willing to open shops in the country. And of people too willing or hoping to be part of the economic boom.

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Reminiscent of the Dapo Abiodun-led administration’s unambiguous vision that is premised on the provision of focused and quantitative governance, while creating an enabling environment for a Pubic-Private Partnership (PPP), this approach is fundamental to the economic growth of the state. And where there is economic growth there is individual prosperity. 

But all of these come with a price. Being the nearest state to the commercial capital with a population of more than 20 million and sharing an international border means there will be security issues. Recently, while playing host to the management team of Airtel Nigeria led by its Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Mr. Olusegun Ogunsanya, in his Okemosan office, Abeokuta, the state capital, Ogun State Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun, underscored the importance of security as a bastion for the economic prosperity of the state.

He said: “We appreciate the fact that if we want you to come here and invest, we must be able to guarantee that you are able to go about your businesses under conditions that are not threatened, and your livelihood is not threatened as well. We also appreciate the fact that those that are staying here and citizens of this state, we must ensure that they are able to go about their lives without the fear of being attacked or being kidnapped”.

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With a safer Ogun, it is envisaged that conducive environment continues to attract bigger commerce and more local and foreign investments. This, on the long run, would create more job opportunities for the teeming youths and also generate more taxes for the government to improve on the infrastructure in various sectors. 

Security is everybody’s business. And effective security thrives in collaboration between the public and the security agencies acting responsibly and giving useful information on suspected criminals that might lead to the breach of security in various communities within the state. Thus, policing comes with an array of challenges. A secure environment begets prosperity. A crime-free Ogun has the potential for attracting investors. 

Given the encouraging partnership and support of well-meaning citizens and corporate organisations that have donated to the Ogun State Security Trust Fund (OGSSTF) at its maiden fund-raising dinner held in August 2019, where well over N1billion was realised for the procurement of patrol vehicles and motorcycles for the police and other sister security agencies, it is a clear testimony that the state is on course to being a safe haven for law-abiding citizens. 

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The donation of the crime-fighting equipment underscores the essence of security and its pride of place in the heart of the present administration. Without mincing words, Governor Abiodun has reiterated the commitment of his administration to doing all within its power to instill peace and tranquility as the only panacea for the good governance of the state.

“We are the largest industrial hub in this country,” he declared. “We are home to every major company or industry in Nigeria, because we are taking advantage of our proximity to Lagos, being the biggest economy in Nigeria, perhaps the fifth or sixth largest economy on the African continent. 

“So, we can see that as a push factor. This administration is determined to turn that push factor into a pull factor. And we believe that there is need for good governance to take us a long way. We appreciate the fact that security comes next to good administration. So upon my assumption of office, we are very clear on how we are going about our policies on security. 

“We set up a security trust fund which existed before, but it had become moribund. We passed different laws to strengthen it, to ensure that we have better governance, and we chose a team that could be considered very experienced and credible. The chairman is Mr. Bolaji Balogun of Lafarge Cement and Opeyemi Agbaje as Executive Secretary. We have our Security Adviser, AIG Shola Subair (rtd), and others on the board of the trust fund. 

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“It shows that we are very deliberate and determined and we are clear about what we want to do as far as security is concerned. But we appreciate the fact that if we want you to come here and invest; we must be able to guarantee that you are able to go about your businesses under conditions that are not threatened and also your lives are not threatened. 

“We used that to send a very strong signal that we would not tolerate criminalities in any form or guise here. At the inception, there were a couple of attempts of kidnap that we sorted out within 48 hours. We went ahead and we invested in vehicles and motorcycles and other security gadgets to complement our security architecture. 

“I am glad to tell you that we are making progress to further support that initiative. We believe that we cannot claim to be creating an enabling environment without ensuring that you can travel between Lagos and Ogun State or you can travel within Ogun State with peace of mind. 

“So in the area of security, we believe that we have done quite well and we will continue to put security on the front burner, because it goes a long in facilitating the ease of doing business and the ranking of Ogun State.”Besides, Abiodun has given the rationale behind the establishment of ‘Ogun State Job Portal’, charged with the responsibility of addressing high rate of unemployment among the teeming youths in the state. According to the governor, youth empowerment and job creation have great responsibilities to play in stemming rising crime rate in any society. 

“We identify and we are very clear that there is a nexus between unemployment and security, because of that we have launched Ogun State Job portal,” he noted. “The idea behind that is to know the number of people we have in Ogun State that either unemployed or employed. Within three weeks of launching it by our ICT team, the job portal recorded over 130,000 applicants. 

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“As we begin to reduce the rate of unemployment, we can see the effects on security because ‘an idle mind is a play ground for the devil’. We went ahead and launched our “Ogun Tech-hub” because we realised that quite a few of our youths in Ogun State are ICT-savvy. And most of them either used their knowledge of ICT negatively or positively.” In his own remarks, Airtel Nigeria MD/CEO, Mr. Ogunsanya, stated that his management team visited in order to build a safe and secure Ogun State for all and sundry.

According to him, “We are here to help provide stability, comfort and to put security in place in Ogun State. As a key stakeholder in Ogun State, I am personally committed to the safety of all the inhabitants of the state. My coming here is fully committed to this partnership.”In the same vein, the governor used the occasion to reel out the vision of his administration, noting, “I’m taking time to share this vision with you, because it is something that we are committed to, learning by heart and to practise it, or to preach it. Because it speaks to the very essence of why we are here as an administration. We start by saying that we would respect all the rules of good governance. 

“In other words, we will be transparent; we will be accountable; we will be just; we will be fair; we will be equitable; we will obey the rule of law; we will be inclusive, and we will be participatory, with all what it takes to be a good administration. We believe that if we do these, it would help us in creating that enabling environment for the people that are ready to partner with us.”

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While commending the initiative of the present administration of All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state at tackling violent crimes head on, an Abeokuta resident, Mr. John Akinwale, noted that the procurement and subsequent donations of100 patrol vehicles and 200 power bikes to the police and other sister security agencies would go a long to checkmate criminal elements. 

He said the visibility of the patrol vehicles and motorcycles at every nook and cranny of the state would send a warning signal to potential criminals from operating in any part of the state. Akinwale applauded the bold steps Governor Abiodun took since coming to office in May 2019. Giving useful information to the police and contributing to the trust fund for the procurement of modern equipment would go a long way in addressing the myriad of security issues as they rear their ugly heads.

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