…Says Ondo State Needs New & Innovative Approaches to Governance.
…Sets Agenda for Social and Economic Recovery.
The race to Governorship election slated for November 2024 in Ondo State has yet gained huge momentum as a renowned Ikare-akoko born International Maritime Expert and Professor of sustainable development, who doubles as the current Deputy President of Caribbean Maritime University in Jamaica, Professor Ibrahim Ajagunna officially declares his intention to contest the forthcoming gubernatorial election.
In an official declaration speech he personally signed and made available to our correspondent, Ajagunna recounted, with nostalgic, memories relating with the state’s affairs several years back and concluded that the present position of Ondo State is below expectation, despite the vast resources and great potentials the state possesses.
“My formative years in the heartland of Akoko witnessed a rapid growing phase in our history through the intensive exploration of our vast resources for common good, which sustained the lofty dreams ideated by our founding heroes.
“I remember meandering uphill and descending onto valleys in manners reminiscent of a roller coaster ride as I observed with a brimming smile how our able farmers and market women went about their daily work and were treated as important stakeholders. The ecstatic mood of schoolchildren in the neighborhood who were beneficiaries of accessible education portrayed the image of a brighter future, not forgetting also our youths, who had access to opportunities, and were very enterprising.
“Forty-seven (47) years into our history in the Sunshine State, rather than relishing in the fortunes of our founding fathers’ dreams, we have derailed on the path they set and are still struggling to find our foot while other states created alongside us, are moving at a rapid pace”.
Professor Ajagunna, who stated that the distraction of blaming past Governors must be avoided, further highlighted vital resources and potentials scattered across the state, capable of transforming the state if adequately harnessed and utilized.
In his words, “without prejudice to any of the successive governments – putting behind era apportioning blame but embracing the need for solution – I at this point reiterate that the Sunshine State has not yet achieved even half of the growth she deserves despite the avalanche of resources and potentials available at its disposal. It is therefore urgent that we respond conscientiously to the call for the need for paradigm shift; a new but better perspective and approaches to governance”.
“Ondo State boasts of the largest cocoa producing area in Nigeria, situated in Idanre, the longest coastline in Nigeria and as an oil producing area both in the heart of Ilaje, largest deposit of bitumen in Africa and second in the world. Owo and Akoko continue to wield their strength in large scale agriculture and trading, and many other potentials in Ikale, Okitipupa, Ile- Oluji and Okeigbo. Ondo town continues to prove predominant in their aesthetic cultural heritage while Akure retains its potential as the commercial hub of the State.
Speaking on what majorly informed his interest to become the executive Governor in the State, Ajagunna said people of Ondo State are in dire need of a visionary leader that can make transformative change in the state
“I have deeply reflected on the present conditions and underserved realities of our dear state and heard the deafening cries of our people. I can no longer ignore the call or sit in my comfort zone while my people are in dire need of a visionary leader to steer the wheel of our state’s affairs”, he said.
He added that “the world is being rapidly reshaped by the accelerating pace of scientific and technological advances, demographic trends, the rise of new centres of global manufacturing, surging demand for resources, rapid shifts in the pattern of environmental impacts, changes in the nature of risk, political and economic influence, competition and conflict, and the geopolitical balance of power, and some potential global threats. Some of these changes have implications for Ondo state”.
While expressing confidence on major strengths that sets him apart from other contenders in the race, Professor Ajagunna disclosed his vision for the state.
“My vision for the state and our great people revolves around restoring our status in all developmental spheres: To reengineer our economic potentials for the benefits of our citizens. To rebuild our government institutions in manners that democratic dividends and deliverables can reach even the charcoal seller at the outskirts of Ilara Mokin. To administer an inclusive government for a prosperous Ondo State. To harness the vast potential and talent of youths and women through robust engagement in government and social welfare. We need to modernize, and quickly”.
He also stated the core areas of his interest to include: “Security, Education, Health Services, Agriculture, Infrastructure, among others”.
As an expert in the Maritime sector, Ajagunna emphasized on his interest in Marine and Blue Economy saying it will transform the fortune of the State and put her in a position next to Lagos State in terms of development.
“I can assure you that the maximal exploration of our coastline will put us in a position next to Lagos in economic development in a few years to come and I am fully committed to this vision. Maritime and the Blue Economy is going to be a game changer for the state”, he said.
Professor Ibrahim Ajagunna finally expressed optimism that he would emerge victorious.
“I am readily aware that the task ahead is no easy one, but I am confident that with your various supports the journey would be less difficult.
“I have committed this journey onto God’s hand and I have strong faith that with God and everyone of you on my side, the journey shall not only lead to victory, I will also leave behind a new pace of impeccable legacies for generations to come.
“Now let’s all unite across our various tongues and creeds to move our long suffering State forward. God bless and keep our State and its great people”.