Eminent personalities, notable politicians and scholars on Saturday agreed on the need for Nigeria to move away from building strong individuals to building strong institutions as a means of achieving sustainable national development.
The personalities who spoke at the maiden Abiola Ajimobi Roundtable organized as part of the activities marking the 69th birthday of the Oyo State Governor, Senator Abiola Ajimobi in Ibadan, included a former Head of State, Gen. Yakubu Gowon (rtd.), National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the United States Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Stuart Symington and wife of the governor, Dr (Mrs) Florence Ajimobi.
Others were former Interim National Chairman of APC, Chief Bisi Akande, former Governor of Osun State, Mr. Rauf Aregbesola, Senator Majority Leader, Senator Ahmed Lawan, the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Olayiwola Adeyemi III, the Ooni of Ife, Oba Enitan Adeyeye Ogunwusi and an industrialist, Chief Kola Daisi.
Speaking on the theme: “The Imperatives of Building Institutions for Lasting Legacies”, they all affirmed that while strong individuals were necessary for visionary leadership, it was only strong institutions that could enhance proactive leadership, good governance, effectiveness of the rule of law and inclusiveness of the citizenry.
Touching on the theme of the discourse, Gowon identified the civil service as one of the key institutions that any government must strengthen, noting that “protecting the integrity, confidentiality and impartiality of civil servants would enable them give political leaders the right advices.
For Tinubu, while institutions are important, a leader cannot be deemed to have succeeded, no matter how much he has achieved infrastructural renewal and other areas of development until he developed people who could succeed him and nurture the institution that he had built.
He said: “We have seen infrastructural renewal across the state; we have seen demolitions, emotions, expressions, reforms of traditional institutions. You have proved that you don’t lack courage but you can be successful as a leader not only in terms of bricks and mortals but how many other leaders you have developed who can succeed you and build on your legacies; otherwise, as you leave, the empire crumbles; the institutions you have built will go into ruins.”
Tinubu declared Ajimobi as a leader who demonstrated the rare combination of thinking and doing, adding that he had exhibited the quality of a good leader who had the courage of not only taking actions but being ready to face the consequences of his actions.
While agreeing on the need to build strong institutions, Akande however warned against what he called the growing institution of bullies who, he said, derived satisfaction in benefitting from the public purse without providing the commensurate value.
He noted “regardless of your profession, if you take money for the job you have not done, you are a third. In other countries, when people go on strike, they do not take salary for the period. All you leaders who allow people to steal from public purse should henceforth watch it.
In his own submission, Aregbesola recalled that one of the reasons why a former US President, Barack Obama shunned Nigeria and chose to visit Ghana during his visit to Africa was due to the lack of will by our leaders at the time to support the growth of institutions.
“During that visit, Obama observed that African leaders should look at building institutions and not individuals. And for me also, even though we need strong, thoughtful, resilient, idealistic and iconic people to look up to as pace setters, but Africa can only be great if we shift our focus to building institutions which will outlive these individuals,” he said.
The US ambassador, who address the gathering the gathering via an amplified telephone call from Abuja, said it was time for the people of Oyo State, Nigeria, development partners and business associates to shift attention from sustainable development to profitable development because without profit, development cannot be sustained.
He further noted that oil and land were not the important asset of the country but the people of Nigeria themselves, adding that “how the people of Nigeria, working together to transform and strengthen institutions from inside out is the only way for creating trust that will ensure development, trust for people to take their hard earned capital and their very lives and invest in the country because they will be welcomed and well treated”
According to the envoy, institutions don’t have memories and reputations, it is the leaders that drive them.
In his own submission, the Senate Leader said strong institutions were created and nurtured by strong men; leaders of vision and integrity who were focused, noting that after Tinubu had created strong institutions in Lagos State, he made sure that strong and competent leaders succeeded him to make the institutions sustainable.
“We also have such a leader in Governor Ajimobi. He came with a vision; he had courage and competence; he believes in probity and that is why Oyo State has had a smooth primary; the governor is more interested in people who can sustain his institutional reforms and other legacies and not in his own personal preferences,” he said.
Speaking about the governor, Oba Adeyemi noted “Ajimobi is the 20th governor that I have worked with. I have worked intimately as a son and as governor. If you are brilliant, truthful and hardworking, he will work with you. He runs an inclusive government but you can only get something from him if you key into his vision of RTR, meaning reformation, transformation and repositioning”.
During the panel discussion that was moderated by Prof. I. A. Adeyemi, the discussants including Prof. Tunji Olaopa, a retired federal permanent secretary and a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Prof. (Mrs.) Oluyemisi Bamgbose, also harped on the need for building institutions that would ensure sustainable development.
While expressing gratitude to the guests, Governor Ajimobi noted that “all developments are sustained by visions, intellectualism, principle and the courage we need to implement what we have envisoned; we started this roundtable because we believe no social or physical development can be achieved without intellectual and human capital development.
The governor added “no leader is successful until he has chosen a worthy successor; all actions that I have taken were guided by God and the determination to make a difference. When we came, we saw broken bricks but we are leaving Oyo State with marbles.”
Just In: Oyo govt. to revoke four road contracts – Commissioner hints
No fewer than four contractors that have been allegedly failed to meet up with performance specifications and time lag in Oyo State will soon have their contracts terminated.
The State Commissioner for Public Works and Infrastructure, Prof. Rapheal Afonja on Monday hinted at his office in Ibadan.
Governor Seyi Makinde has recently said the administration was compiling list of non-performing contractors in the State as he lamented the agony being experienced by the people living in the affected areas where road construction works were ongoing.
According to Afonja , “we have got complaints across the State about pace and quality of work done by these contractors, His Excellency the governor also inspects the pace of work during the day and even in the night, I can tell you now that soon, termination notice will soon be given to four non-performing contractors.
“Complaints have come across the State and when we came on board, we had to do a contract review and we realized that the quality of work done by some of these contractors were low, we also realized that most of the agreements have also relapsed and none of them had performance bond in their files, the performance bond is a way to tell a contractor that if you don’t do a good job, you will be penalized.
“So we gave them time, which is the past five months which was to see if they could impress the government, we gave them our standard, our requirements, some of them have not lived up to it while some have, so with the approval of the governor, the next step is to issue termination notice to some of them.”
Among the contracts inherited by the present administration and are still ongoing as at time of this report is the dualization of Idi-Ape-Basorun-Akobo-Odogbo Barracks road in Ibadan and dualization of saki township along Oke-Ogun Poly-Ilesha-Ibariba road in Saki.
Others are Eleyele Junction-Akufo-Ido-Eruwa road, reconstruction of Moniya-Iseyin road and Agodi-Gate-Old Ife Road, Adegbayi in Ibadan.
Meanwhile the State government has said that the introduction of a new Park Management system in the State was aimed to plug holes in the income of of the State and not for political reasons.
The Commissioner for Public Works and Infrastructure, Prof Raphael Afonja said this while answering questions from journalists who were at his office after the inauguration of Park Managers for public motor parks in the State on Monday.
The Commissioner asserted that the people of Oyo State were happy that leaks in the State’s income were plugged while individuals appointed would work with trusted consultancy firm to generate income for the State, using technology to monitor activities and accountability of all players while all funds generated would go into the State coffers.
Oyo govt. promises to prosecute illegal motor park operators
Oyo State Government has promised to prosecute any individual found culpable of running parallel and illegal parks in the State, saying it would also impound any vehicle found within premises of such illegal parks. This is sequel to the directive of the Oyo State Government on the creation of New Park Management System.
This was contained in a statement issued today by the Chairman, Mogaji Akin Fagbemi at the Authority’s Administrative Headquarters in Ibadan.
“Oyo State Road Transport Management Authority (OYRTMA) hereby strongly warns individuals or groups planning to run parallel and illegal parks in the State. Anyone found culpable would be prosecuted and made to face the full wrath of the law”, the statement read.
In his words, Dr. Fagbemi said, “our attention has been drawn to comments made by certain individuals threatening to run some self-created and illegal parks parallel to the ones approved by government and into which Park Managers has been duly appointed. According to section 2 subsection 5A of the Oyo State Road Traffic Management Act 2009, OYRTMA is the State Government agency statutorily backed by law to oversee, coordinate and manage all government approved parks within the State.
Hence, in line with the directive of the State Government, we use this medium to make stern warnings to anyone nursing the ambition of utilizing illegal parks or creating parks unapproved by the State Government. We are set to go all out in conjunction with all other security agencies to arrest and prosecute offenders while all vehicles, tricycles and motorcycles found at such illegal park would be impounded.
However, we implore all commercial vehicle operators across the State to corporate fully with the new Park Managers in a bid to ensure free flow of human and vehicular traffic in the State. We equally enjoin the good people of Oyo State to go about their legitimate businesses as there is no cause for alarm.
VIDEO: ‘Auxiliary’ vows to increase Oyo’s IGR
The newly inaugurated Chairman, Oyo State Park Managers Disciplinary Committee, Mr. Mukaila Lamidi popularly known as Auxiliary on Monday gave the commitment of increasing the state’s Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) so that the Seyi Makinde led government would be able to cater for other infrastructural development in the state.
The Park Management System initiative is expected to generate revenues from motor parks, garages and quarries.
The ex-NURTW boss, ‘Auxiliary’ who gave this assurance in a video obtained by Mega Icon Magazine, also disclosed that he deliberately sacrificed his ambition to support the government’s mission towards boosting the state’s revenue.
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