Let me start by thanking His Excellency, the Governor and the People of Ogun State for the reception accorded me and my team on our arrival in the State. I had planned to be here few weeks ago in December last year but for a conflict of schedules.
2.This welcome by the large crowd brings back the nostalgia of my first arrival on this soil as a young infantry officer in the Nigerian Army at the then Lafenwa Barracks in Abeokuta, not long after independence.
3.The traditional hospitality of the people of this State has not waned a bit. Today, I am “Omowale” and very happy at this homecoming to meet my brothers and sisters whose goodwill I have always enjoyed. Thank you.
4.The last time I visited Ogun State was during the electioneering campaign and build-up to the 2019 general elections. Between the last visit and now, so much has changed. The then candidate, Prince Dapo Abiodun, is today the performing Governor of Nigeria’s Gateway State. I have read and heard so much about this silent but effective achiever and deliverer of good governance.
5.I recall that Governor Dapo Abiodun visited me at the Presidential Villa at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in year 2020. During that visit, he presented to me a compendium of achievements in his first 52 weeks.
6.The compendium contained a good number of projects as encapsulated under the Development Pillars with acronym: I-S-E-Y-A. He could not commission the projects then because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The compendium surprised me. I wondered how he could deliver all the projects under the then prevailing circumstances.
7.I am therefore delighted to accept his invitation. The invitation was not just to come and see or inspect but to commission fully completed projects that his Administration has delivered for the wellness and wellbeing of the people of Ogun State.
8.Today, we are here to be part of the development history of Ogun State. I am very pleased to be in the Gateway State, which is my first visit to any State in the New Year. It is my fervent hope that year 2022 will bring all of us good tidings.
9.Today, I am here in Ogun State to commission FIVE visionary and trail-blazing projects:
a. the Gateway City Gate;
b. the 42-Kilometre Sagamu Interchange-Abeokuta Road; and
c. the 14km Ijebu-Ode-Epe Expressway.
10.Also to be commissioned are two Housing Estates for low, medium and high income earners at Kobape and Oke-Mosan in Abeokuta, respectively. This is a high number of projects to be commissioned in one day, and it is gratifying.
11.On arrival earlier today, I commissioned the 14km Ijebu Ode- Mojoda – Epe Road, which has been reconstructed into a modern expressway by your Administration. This impressive road will complement the Sagamu-Benin Expressway that the Federal Government is currently reconstructing; also due for commissioning this year.
12.Just across the road is the 42-kilometer Sagamu-Interchange-Abeokuta Road which the state Government has reconstructed and equipped with street lights and other modern road furniture. That road, which I will commission shortly, enjoys a direct linkage with the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway that the Federal Government is rebuilding and due for completion later this year.
13.I am particularly impressed by the quality and standard of your road projects, and the creative way you have deployed resources to reconstruct and rehabilitate them. It is significant to note that the two road projects being commissioned today are federal roads. This is an example of constructive engagement, cooperation and collaboration between the States and Federal Government.
14.These roads also fit well into our rail transportation masterplan that connects Lagos, Nigeria’s economic capital to Kano, with Ogun State having more rail stations, along the Lagos-Ibadan rail corridor.
15. It is equally heartwarming that your housing programme cuts across different social strata. Some are for the medium and high income earners, whilst others are especially for the low-income earners and are truly affordable, costing as low as N6 million only per unit. This is inclusiveness at work and it is very commendable.
16.This Gateway City Gate Project, where we are now, is not just a Park beautification project. It depicts that something new is happening in Ogun State, a welcoming entrance into the State Capital at the centre point of the State.
17.It is also an ICON depicting the joining of hands for building the future of Ogun State in togetherness. I look forward to a busy but exciting day ahead with the commissioning of these laudable and impactful projects of your Administration.
18.Your Excellency, well done! I am proud of what you have done for your State and your people. You have made our great Party, the APC, proud too. You are a worthy example of promises made, promises kept. These lofty projects could not have materialised without your huge investment and commitment to security of lives and property.
19.This has made Ogun State one of the safest and most peaceful States in the country and investors’ destination of choice. You have justified the mandate of the people of Ogun State. You have represented our Party very well.
20.I have also listened to your requests to give priority attention to the Lagos-Ota-Abeokuta and the Sango Otta-Idiroko Roads respectively. Let me assure the people of Ogun State that these roads will receive Federal Government attention. We are considering extending tax credit as funding option for the reconstruction of these roads, as we have done for the 100km Sagamu Interchange-Papalanto-Ilaro Road.
21.I will also consider the approval of the reconstruction of Sagamu-Ogijo Road by the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) under the tax credit scheme.
22.I congratulate the people of Ogun State for having such a focused, deliberate and inclusive Administration under the watch of His Excellency, Prince Dapo Abiodun. I enjoin you to continue to support him for the successful implementation of the “Building our Future Together” Agenda of his Administration.
23.Your support is required to deliver more development projects that will ensure an improved social-economic development of the State and individual prosperity of the citizenry.
24. Your Excellency, whilst commending you for your achievements so far, I urge you not to rest on your oars. The reward for success is more hardwork to meet the increasing expectations of the people. When state governments deliver impactful projects, in consultations with stakeholders, like we have witnessed in Ogun State, the trajectory of our national development will be enhanced.
25.Once again, I thank Your Excellency, for the invitation and the opportunity to identify with the giant strides going on in Ogun State.
26.I appreciate the people of Ogun State for the warm reception accorded me and my entourage. It is also with a sense of responsibility that I receive and cherish the honourary indigeneship bestowed on me as symbolised by the presentation of the key to the Gateway State by Governor Abiodun.
27. I will leave Ogun State with fond memories and look forward to enjoying the privilege of my honorary indigeneship.
28. It is now with great pleasure that I commission this Gateway City Gate.
I thank you and may God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.