FEATURE ARTICLE

Samuel Bayo ArowolajuWednesday, February 22, 2017
bayoeleolaju@gmail.com


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RUN, RUN SEGUN ONI, YES RUN - EKITI PEOPLE HAVE BEEN WAITING FOR YOU (PART 2)

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"Perhaps when we face our maker, we will not be asked, 'How many positions you hold,' but rather, 'How many people did you help or serve?" - Thomas S. Monson

n the first part of this piece, we confirmed the much awaited expression of interest by Asiwaju Olusegun Adebayo Oni to seek the nomination of his party, the All Progressive Congress (APC) and run again for the governorship of Ekiti State. By virtue of the privileged positions we held in the government of Governor Segun Oni in the First Coming, we were able to see closely and can therefore as a witness, chronicle the very laudable achievements of the Governor. Though in absolute humility, he did not blow his own trumpets then by spending billions of public money in building thousands of Photoshop Bill Boards across the state to showcase those achievements. Most of the completed projects did not even see TV Cameras or witnessed the ceremony of cutting ribbons as some governors do to impress the people, yet, the people of Ekiti were quietly watching and taking stocks of every step he took in their best interest.

For the sake of those who did not know, to remind those who might have forgotten, to inform some detractors and skeptics and most importantly to justify while the majority of Ekiti people are currently clamoring for the Second Coming of Segun Oni, we have decided, starting from the first part of this piece, to highlight some of the core achievements of Engr. Olusegun Adebayo Oni during his first tour of duty as Governor of Ekiti state between years 2007 and 2010.

Because of the constraints of time and space we can only bring to you highlights of what have drawn and now driving him into the hearts and minds of Ekiti people. We started this in the first write up where we discussed the Road Revolution when 25 roads were awarded in just one day, the Water for All Project when treatment plants, booster stations, reservoirs were build and pipelines laid across the state, and a water concessional agreement was planned that would have looped all the water supply units into one single pipeline-unit running across the state. We spoke of how the Segun Oni government brought all educational issues from Head Start to University education into the front burner. From free feeding to scholarships, establishments of Universities of Education, and Science and Technology. Education in Ekiti state has never been so free and never been so funded.

In this part, we will continue the highlights of those infrastructural steps that drove Segun Oni into the hearts of the Ekiti people resulting into virtually begging him now to come back as Governor to Ekiti state and help us.

HEALTH PROGRAM - With unprecedented Growth and a Midas Touch

The health sector was another very critical area that got the attention and focus of Engr. Segun Oni as the Governor of Ekiti between June 2007 and mid-October 2010. The profile of Health facilities included Primary Health Care Centers which rose in numbers from 236 in 2007 to 283 by December 2009, the establishments of College of Medicine and the University Teaching Hospital with expansions of physical infrastructure like laboratories, theatres and wards. By the same period the profile of the Human Resources in the Health Sector dramatically changed under Governor Oni. In this sector and including the Federal Medical Center Ido, Ekiti people enjoyed the services of 79 Consultants, 357 Doctors, 1,304 qualified and certified Nurses and Midwives, 89 Pharmacists and 22 Dental Surgeons.

This dramatic change in the Health Services Staff did not just come because the doctors, nurses and especially the consultants had nowhere else to go but principally because the government of Segun Oni created a very conducive atmosphere for them to work in Ekiti. One of the factors was that without much ado or hues and cries, Governor Oni decided to make the Health workers in Ekiti enjoyed the same salaries and other conditions of services, as their counterparts in Federal Health Institutions even at Ado Ekiti where the cost of living index was much lower than Abuja, Lagos and Port Harcourt where they earned the same pay check.

Because of the intervention of Governor Segun Oni in the critical areas of the peoples' health, and because the specialists and consultants found home in Ekiti, the state ranked one the best health care providers in Nigeria. For instance, it ranked first nationally in the number of children that has received Polio vaccination, received zero number record of children that have been paralyzed by Polio, and second nationally in the number of children that have been fully vaccinated. The actual number of medical staff per 100,000 Ekiti people were given as: 17 Doctors and Consultants; 54 Nurses and Midwives and three Pharmacists. Provision of physical medical infrastructures were not left behind throughout the state. New General Hospitals and other Health Centers were built at Ado, Efon, Emure, Aiyedun, Iyin, Omu Odo, Ikoro and Ilasa Ekiti; while many General Hospitals were upgraded and provided with staff and equipment like those at Omuo, Ifaki and Ijesa Isu.

Part of the Medical success stories of Segun Oni was the establishment of a World Class Ophthalmological Hospital in Ado Ekiti. The major goals and objectives of this included: to reduce the incidence of avoidable and preventable blindness in the state especially among the poor and vulnerable; bringing and providing World Class Eye Care facilities and services to the people of Ekiti and environ in the areas of Laser Surgeries, Phacoemulsification and Cataracts that were even new or unknown to many long time established eye clinics in Nigeria; to develop and encourage medical tourism potentials and ensure skill and knowledge transfer from the Cubans pioneer staffs and to provide medical investment that will boost the internally generated revenues.

The preparations and protocol for this one of a kind Eye Center in Ekiti, provided one of the very rare occasions why and when Governor Oni traveled outside the shores of Nigeria while in office. That was when the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed in Havana, Cuba. Cuba has the reputation of being a Mecca for good medical facilities and provisions including professionals of all class with distinction. This was what inspired Segun Oni to bring the Cuban's Ophthalmologists, other auxiliary staff members and their choice of the State of Art Eye Equipment to Ado Ekiti. After opening the center, services and drugs were provided free of charge for the first three months to the people of Ekiti, and even people from neighboring state who sneaked in to benefit from the center.

To prevent the storage, circulation and use of fake drugs in Ekiti state, the government of Engr. Segun Oni established and constructed in the premises of the University Teaching Hospital in Ado Ekiti, Ekiti State Central Medical Store. The Store was licensed and certified for quality management and control of drugs in the state. It was the sole responsibility of the Medical Store to order and store every kind of drugs and equipment used in the state. It was made mandatory that all Pharmaceutical stores in Ekiti must procure their medicines and drugs from the secured and fake-free government medical store. The smaller street Medicine Stores who may not have access to the Central Store because of distance or small financial resources were encouraged to liaise with bigger or medium size pharmaceutical stores to stock their stores. Even courier services with Motor Cycle riders were provided by government for safe and quick delivery of urgently required drugs in the rural areas.

POWER SUPPLY - Let There Be Light

Engr. Segun Oni who is a residence of Ifaki Ekiti, his home town, feels what the average Ekiti people feels in terms of lack of water and electricity supply. It is therefore not surprised that the provision and improvement of this basic infrastructure was at the back of his mind even before coming to the office as Governor. He put the same zeal at solving the problems of water supply to the electrical power supply. Right from the inception of the government, some Independent Power investors were pre-qualified to compliment government efforts at increasing available power supply in Ekiti from the National Grid with a partnership agreement with the PHCN. There was also the consideration of generating power from environmentally friendly power plants like waste to energy with sites located across the state. All the dams in the state were studied to incorporate Hydro power generation with a starting power generation of 50 Mega Watts and expandable to 100 Mega Watts in 4 years.

The government also committed to the successful completion and commissioning of the 132/33KVA Transmission station that had been moribund in Ado Ekiti for years with N60 million life-line coming from the state government. Another N287ml for compensation for the power line was under consideration. With the encouragement, financial and moral contributions of Governor Segun Oni, the Transmission station was test run successful for two weeks before the exist of his government. This was in addition to the implementation by government of Rural Electrification programs in some communities, and the procurement and installation of transformers for needy communities across the state to boost the supply of electricity.

HOUSING SCHEME -Rapid and Sustainable Development of New Housing Estates

The Government of Segun Oni between year 2007 and 2009 completed about 240 residential housing units under phases one and two of the Irewolede Housing Estate, at Ilawe Road, Ado Ekiti. These houses include Massionates, Bungalows, and Semi-Detached Duplexes. At Ifaki House Estate, there was also about 120 Bungalows, all at affordable prizes for public servants with a total cost of about N1.4bl. For the welfare of the Judges in the state, the government embarked on construction of befitting luxurious duplexes at what was designated Judges Quarters in Ado Ekiti. These housing estates were not just left bare, their roads were asphalt laid, and transformers were provided for internal electrification within a well secured environment.

Besides physical provisions of housing for the civil servants, efforts were made by the government to secure the sum of N1, 5bl Estate Development Loan from the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria to construct a Low Cost Housing Unit for the Ekiti State Housing Corporation; Private developers were encouraged and approved to start construction of Low, Medium and High Income Housing Estates in the state. Government had started negotiation with the public servants including local government workers to be integrated with the National Housing Fund Scheme that would facilitate easier access to low interest housing loans. Government was also already in dialogue with the state Universities for the construction of staff quarters, student hostels and shopping malls to make life better and easier for the prospective beneficiaries.

Continued from Part 1

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