Essay #2: TRANSFORMATIONAL LEADERSHIP: RE-ENERGIZING SUNLIGHT INTO THE FUTURE of NIGERIA’S SUNSHINE STATE

This essay was submitted by Oluwabukola Ayo, the first runner-up of the 2020 edition YNAG Generation Y Governorship Essay competition and winner of N200,000 Cash prize.

OUTLINE

  • MY ONDO ASPIRATION
  • VISION 1 – ECONOMY PREPAREDNESS
  • VISION 2 – HEALTH IS WEALTH
  • VISION 3 – RAISING OUR FUTURE LEADERS
  • VISION 4 – RESTRUCTURING INFRASTRUCTURE AND SECURITY
  • VISION 5 – EMBRACING TECHNOLOGY
  • IN TOGETHERNESS, WE WIN

MY ONDO ASPIRATION

Ondo; Our home in the deep valley, penetrated still by the sun glowingly, evident in the richness of the land filled with blessings of milk and honey. Our Ondo, the land in which our fathers were born, created in 1976, built and governed on the seat of democracy since 1999; on the seat of the voices of our people, on the seat of freedom. Twenty years of democracy have prevailed, government upon government on the affairs of our land, manifesto after manifesto, these promises mostly forgotten at the uptake of power; the cry of our people remain still in all sectors. Good people of our land, what is the way forward?

The breaking force we need as a people, to grow beyond the shackles of challenging norms, the limitations of dependency and the seemingly non-progressing position of the state is hinged unto the cadence of the art of Transformational Leadership. Edwards Deming says ‘’A bad system will beat a good person every time’’; but a shift in focus to revamping the system structure?

My aspiration for Transformational Leadership in Ondo state is a leadership style where the leader inspires, motivates, works with teams representing the people to identify needed change, create a vision to guide the change, and execute the change in tandem with committed members of the group for the collective advancement of the state. Transformative governance rests on the strategy of a vision first, then a plan. My vision for Ondo State is to create a home ready in wait of the future, proactively tending to the welfarism of her people, where visionary policies are put in place in all sectors to the end of achieving advancement as one people in one home through the tool of transformational governance. My manifesto for the 8th democratic government is built on this vision.

Where do we aspire to be as a state in the next 10, 20 years? How do we get there?

VISION 1 – ECONOMY PREPAREDNESS: An economy in a state as Ondo, richly dominated by oil and agricultural products, endowed with abundant mineral resources, known as the major source of timber and the largest bitumen deposit in Nigeria, also the largest producers of cocoa in Nigeria; will be a failed system if despite atop these numerous resources, still depends off to run the economy, monthly handouts allocated by the Federal government. The numerous economic and investment opportunities for the people of the state on this platter of resources are illimitable.

The envisioned economy of the state will be hinged on the hub of innovation, where new opportunities are made available and our youths are re-orientated to be job producers, not job seekers using entrepreneurship, agricultural global opportunities, and investment platforms, thereby, promoting preparedness for the needs of the future. Past governments’ initiatives have invested in opportunities such as cocoa processing industry, rubber plantations in Araromi, Odigbo; however, challenges ranging from high cost of production to underfunding by the government have prevailed. In fact of the post-COVID-19 reality and what seems to be the new normal in the coming years, it is to be expected that only businesses established on the seat of innovation aided by technology will stand the test of time. Therefore, building a solid linkage between businesses and innovation through the use of technology and advent of relevant policies is pivotal and in the attainment of sustainable development goals as a state.

In addition, in managing economic governance, a full-time council comprising of Economic Strategists will be established, to research and manage economic activities for the enhancement of economy. The members of this team should have expertise in economic growth and policies such as industrial, trade policy, and economic philosophy.

VISION 2 – HEALTH IS WEALTH: The health of a state is her wealth. There will be a repositioning of the healthcare system to reach the most rural area in the state through strengthening primary healthcare strategies, thus, bringing healthcare home to the people. This strategy aims to promote preventive health practices in immunization and vaccination programs, maternal and child services and prevention of diseases. Also, an introduction of e-health will be invested, in the quest to reach a wider populace, ultimately to the attainment of universal health coverage.

In past administrations, the budgetary allocation for the health sector has fallen between 6

– 8%. In clamour for advancement of the health sector, among my objectives, is an increase in allocation for the health sector to fill in needed deficits. Healthcare initiatives would be targeted at increased accessibility, quality, and affordability, including focus on rural development, social services delivery, utilizing community health extension services.

VISION 3 – RAISING OUR FUTURE LEADERS: Malcom X. says ‘’Education is our passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to the people who prepare for it today’’. Nigeria’s 1999 constitution provides for free, compulsory and universal primary education. However, despite initiatives put in place by past governments, there remains an ugly trend in the rise of out of school and drop-outs of over 35% in the state according to Nigerian Demographic and Health Survey in 2008. This poses a huge threat, not only to the development indices, but also to the attainment of sustainable development goals. In my vision for transformational leadership, there is a strategic objective for investment in education, where affordability will no longer be a reason

for out of school children; also, reskilling of the populace from primary to tertiary levels will be implemented, particularly in terms of entrepreneurship, practical skills and politics.

With Nigeria’s response to curtail the spread of COVID-19 pandemic, schools nationwide have been shut with the commencement of e-learning; this has largely proven to be ineffective and revealed deficits nationwide in our educational system. In a study on Teachers’ Productivity in Secondary Schools in Ondo state in 2020, it was revealed the pivotal role on the use of digital technology and communication strategies which enhance research, innovation, creativity. This has aligned a major needed intervention; the implementation of innovative methods and technology into our educational system at all levels. This amongst other objectives; is a key strategy in preparing the world for our dear future leaders.

VISION    4    –    RESTRUCTURING    INFRASTRUCTURE    AND    SECURITY:

Infrastructural development remains a major challenge, as there is a large deficit between the quality and quantity of infrastructures available and the over 3.5 million people of the state. In my vision, growth enhancing and job creating infrastructural investments will be undertaken in the state.

Beginning with the aviation industry, our Akure airport will be developed and transformed into international standard in conjunction with relevant agencies in the country, thereby creating economic opportunities in the state.

Infrastructural development and maintenance will further be implemented, especially in the riverine areas of the state majorly in the Ilaje local government area. Unemployment, crimes and criminalities are synonyms of poverty, diseases and insecurity. This is sadly seen in the Akunnu/Auga axis of the Akoko North East local government area, as kidnapping has become its

identity as a result of the poor road network. Among my objectives are bringing services closer to residential areas, improving road transport safety, improving route design intra and interstate, and establishing a synergy between road and rail transport in the state. The East – West railway line extended to Akure by the Federal Government in 2019, will further be maximized and improved upon in freight and passenger transportation in the state.

In the agenda for Energy infrastructure of the state, it is in my vision that the market of renewable energy, including hydro, solar, biomass, etc. be developed in our economy, also maximized in domestic use for the people.

VISION 5 – EMBRACING TECHNOLOGY: In the near future that awaits us, the future we are building as one people; the significance of technology cannot be overemphasized. Initiatives will be put in place to create conducive environment for the promotion of technological literacy among the people of Ondo state.

In a study conducted on exploring economic opportunities in some selected enterprises in Ondo state in 2020; it was revealed that among the prominent constraints identified, was the lack of technology to harvest and produce to meet the standard of buyers. This reveals the existing gap in our economy with the use of technology. Initiatives will be implemented to inspire existing scientific and technological research institutions to develop simple tools for industrial plants using locally available raw materials.

IN TOGETHERNESS, WE WIN

These aforementioned strategies in all sectors, to mention but a few are amongst working plans towards one vision; a vision for a better Ondo. Our elders say ‘’Onen yo ba a fi di aye san, e e s’oun nukan a a je’’ meaning ‘’He who wishes well for the world will not live in it alone’’.

To the good people of Ondo, I ask that we join hands collaboratively, united by the land of our births and the concern in our hearts for the progress of Ondo; to work towards the achievement of the home we truly deserve. God bless Ondo!

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