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Ondo Inauguration Speech: Journey To Redemption By Oluwarotimi Akeredolu (Full Text)

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Rotimi Akeredolu
Humbled
by the uncommon kindness of the Almighty God and an unequivocal
expression of preference by the good people of Ondo State, exemplified
by the victory of our great party at the last gubernatorial election, I
am extremely delighted to share with you all the joy of this day of
glory.We are grateful to Almighty God for granting this state such a
beautiful day and a beautiful moment like this.

I
thank the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and leader of
our great party, President Muhammadu Buhari GCFR, for his leadership and
unwavering stance to support what is just and noble. Today’s
celebration would, perhaps, have been impossible without his steely
disposition to always stand against all acts not in consonance with
decency, probity and justice.
I thank
the President of Senate, Dr. Bukola Saraki and the Speaker of the House
of Representatives Hon. Yakubu Dogara. I thank all APC Governors who
stood to be counted with us in our hour of need andother eminent
Nigerians too numerous to mention.
An
especial reverence must be reserved for our indefatigable party
chairman, Chief John Odigie Oyegun, whose strict adherence to lofty
principles and doggedness laid the foundation for our resounding victory
at the polls. This exemplary leader behaved like a true elder, whose
sagely presence in the village square not only professed rectitude but
acted it, resolutely, affirming nobility of the human spirit. Our party
benefitted, tremendously, from his vast experience in public service. We
are eternally grateful. The verdict of history shall be kind to him.
We
express our profound appreciation to all the leaders of the party, at
the national, state, local government, ward and unit levels, for their
untiring and selfless efforts during the election.
May
I also use this opportunity to pay tribute to those who have served
this state in this capacity, both living and departed, for their
invaluable contributions to the development of the state. 
On behalf of
our State, I pay tribute to Governor Olusegun Abdulraman Mimiko for his
several years of service to Ondo State. I thank all our guests and
friends both far and near who have taken it upon themselves to be here
or sent words. I thank all citizens of Ondo state, particularly our
resilient youths and women.

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I come to
you this day, with a message of hope, a clear agenda of prosperity and a
vision of life abundant. I believe the greatest expression of faith in
our ability is to be strong enough to look upon our imperfections and
decide that it is in our power to remake our society to align with our
highest ideals.
We can rise out of this
dust and build a new Ondo state where honesty, prosperity and confidence
can once again be our self-identity. We can pull ourselves by the
bootstraps and shake off our current frustrations and disappointments.
We must recognise the need for a cohesive platform, indispensable to an
effective and efficient implementation of policies and programmes of
both government and party, respectively.
Divergence
of opinions is integral to party politics. We are bound to disagree as
politicians but we must cast aside bitter recriminations and destructive
predilections. Democracy thrives on infinite multiplicity of ideas.
Popular participation is one of its fundamental norms. The subordination
of individual preferences for the collective will is essential if we
are to avoid anarchy. Party supremacy should be respected at all times.
This should not be difficult for us to accept if we are truly desirous
of bringing about positive change in the lives of our people.
We
listened to the voices of our people in the course of our campaigns to
all the nooks and crannies of the state. We heard themloud and clear
through their votes. We witnessed, first hand, the deplorable conditions
under which they exist. To those who cast their ballots in favour of
our programmes, your trust is not misplaced. We are determined to make
the difference with the specific mandate of redemption liberally handed
over to us. Those who expressed other preferences are no less patriotic.
Before long their anxieties will be addressed, realistically. All of us
will be involved in the reconstruction project. The collective interest
of the state must be our paramount focus. Consequently,we stand before
you to pledge, with the guidance of God and our resolve not to renege on
our promise, that your welfare shall form the basis of all our
activities.
To achieve this, the main
mission of our administration is therefore to lead a patriotic, highly
inspired and competent team to rescue the ship of our state. We intend
to help rebuild our economy, resuscitate damaged infrastructure, restore
hope and return our state to a prosperous land. We are determined as an
administration to break down the barriers that have made stagnation
possible. We will break down the barriers to honest leadership, to
comprehensive development, to physical growth and social security. These
we intend to do through the promotion of transparent leadership, rule
of law, extensive consultation, quality and accessible public utilities
and social security; all in a sustainable manner.
We acknowledge the enormous challenges
faced by the state and the severely limited resources available to meet
these ever-increasing and compelling demands. In readiness for this
enormous task ahead, I have two months ago inaugurated a Strategic
Development and Policy Implementation Committee comprising of eminent
and very knowledgeable Nigerians to produce and articulate a compressive
change policy and programme blueprint. They have since submitted their
preliminary report.

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This blueprint is
anchored on five cardinal programmes, which are popularly known as our
Platforms for Change (JMPPR). These are:
1. Job creation through Agriculture, Entrepreneurship and Industrialisation.
2. Massive Infrastructural development and maintenance.
3. Provision of functional Education and Technological growth.
4. Provision of Accessible and Qualitative Health care and social service delivery.
5. Rural Development and Community Extension services.
This
platform for Change is erected on strong pillars, which consist of the
core sectors of government activities that our blueprint lays emphasis
on. These are Finance and Management of state resources, Health and
Social Services, Infrastructure and Public utilities, Agriculture and
Natural resources, Commerce and Industrial development, Education and
Technology, Land, Housing and Environment, Women Affairs and Social
Development, Youth and Sports development, Culture and Tourism as well
as Information, Civic orientation and Mobilisation among others.
Our
blueprint when unveiled shall explain in details our philosophy,
vision, sectoral policies and comprehensive Programmes of action clearly
calendared over a period of a tenure of four years. With this document
our pact with the people will be clear, our path well defined and
expectations clearly understood.
In
building the structure to deliver on our campaign promises, I come to
you with a clear mind and an honest heart, to serve and give the very
best of my ability to restore Hope and Happiness to our people. I urge
you to see hope the way I see it. I see hope with limitless boundaries
for endless opportunities for all of us. I see hope for progress,
stability and prosperity for all people of goodwill who are willing to
contribute their quota to developing our state to a land of honourable,
contented, smart, honest, diligent and patriotic people. I see hope for
self-confidence, job security and increased commerce and economic
production. I see hope for redemption and renewal of our broken
infrastructure, and social values.
But
make no mistake about it; our journey to redemption will not be without
stress and undulating curves. There are mountains before us to climb. As
we climb up these steep mountains. Sometimes we may trip or slip, we
will get back up. We will focus on the journey. We will never stop. We
will never stop. We will never stop. In the end we will reach our goal,
which is to bring back jobs to our youths, food to families, safety,
confidence and prosperity to this land.

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For
all these to happen, I am humbly going to ask ONLY one thing from you,
good people of Ondo state. What I ask for is Attitude. We need to come
with an attitude of belief and transformation. Indeed, in all successful
cultures and societies, attitude is the spirit and driver of victory.
Ladies
and gentlemen, for us to see the change we all desire, we must be ready
to constitute ourselves into change evangelists with exceptional
missionary zeal to succeed. We must know that the man in the mirror is
you and I. We need to have faith and find courage in the words of the
good scripture thatsays, “Those who hope in the Lord will renew their
strength. They will soar on wings like eagles. They will run and not
grow weary. They will walk and not be faint.”
I believe if we combine these abilities with the force of Providence, a lot of great deeds will happen.

We shall not subject ourselves to any specious and unproductive
stereotypes, which find expression in the usual egregious celebration of
the passage of time spent in office as achievement. We will be too busy
to notice the pace of the itinerary of the administration.
Our
state is particularly lucky. We have men and women of quality. We set
the pace for others in the not too distant past. The country depended,
to a very great extent, on our resourcefulness. We contributed,
immensely, to the GDP of the country at a time when agriculture was the
mainstay of the country’s economy. Our people were exemplars in
virtually all fields of human endeavour. The story is, painfully,
different today. The fault, as the saying goes, is not in our stars but
in ourselves that our fortunes have dwindled, considerably, and we have
become underlings. We have transited, regrettably, from a producing
economy to a basically consumptive society, which depends, almost
solely, on handouts to survive. The resultant effect of this
unproductive attitude is grinding poverty, desperation and hopelessness
among our people.

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It is a cruel irony that a state, richly
endowed in material and human resources, wallows in inexplicable
privation. Our unproductive taste has sustained the dichotomy between
the rural areas and the urban centres. All attempts at improving
infrastructural deficits seem concentrated at the capital of the state.
Government intervention, where available, has been grossly inadequate in
addressing the socio-economic challenges faced by the masses. Our
administration shall, decidedly, try to close the gap between the
hinterland and urban centres. Real development can only be actualized
and accentuated through an active symbiosis between the two, an
understanding predicated on collaboration and co-existence designed for
amity and progress. Our people will be encouraged to participate in the
massive reconstruction contemplated by our administration in this
regard.
Any honest indigene of the state
must be disturbed by the crisis in the educational sector at present.
The philosophy of education, conceived on the idea of functionality for
improved living by our forbears, has been reduced to a routine
certification ritual, the culmination of which is the award of
certificates, diplomas and degrees to graduates who are left more
confused than when they enrolled in school. The unemployment crisis,
apart from being a global socio-economic phenomenon, is self-inflicted.
If
education is the nurturing, training and mobilization of those who live
in a society to confront the challenges of development, faced,
primarily, by the people in that environment, the current situation
confirms that we have since departed from that well-trodden path for a
very long time now.It is a big shame that a state, which was a clear
leader in education in the country, now lags behind. It appears that our
curricula at all levels of training have failed to produce experts
whose contributions to the growth of the economy are needed. Our
administration will strive to reverse this unfortunate trend by
promoting functional education aimed at real development. We shall also
revisit the issue of vocational training with a view to improving the
skills of our artisans.
We recognize
that the issue of unemployment is endemic. We equally understand that
the greatest employer of labour, at a time such as this challenging
period, is the private sector. The government will ensure that the
environment remains peaceful and conducive for economic activities. In
addition, we shall deploy considerable energy into agriculture. Through
this, we hope to generate employment for the teeming youths. This
administration will do everything possible to encourage investment in
agriculture. Our youths must be ready for training necessary to
kick-start this mission.

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We must begin
to deemphasize white-collar jobs. The era of unproductive civil service
is winding to a close, gradually. The current economic realities make
the deployment of the unemployed to other sectors, other than
agriculture and rural development, unsustainable. We must train our
youths to acquire entrepreneurial skills as a corollary to our programme
on agriculture.
The health care
delivery system currently operating in the state will be sustained and
improved upon. We shall adopt a deliberate policy to ensure that our
people have access to health care regardless of their social status. We
intend, within the available resources, to provide qualitative primary
health care delivery system to the rural populace. Health care centres
in the rural areas will be accessible and functional.
Our
policy on massive infrastructural development will seek to open up the
hinterland through our roads and waterways. Our state has the longest
coastline in the country. It is unthinkable that all economic activities
are restricted to land while our waterways are abandoned. Opening up
the hinterland will reduce, drastically, the perennial rural-urban drift
and encourage our sons and daughters who live outside the state to
consider returning home to contribute their own quota. The economic
propensities of such a venture will be, unimaginably, exponential.
We
are all witnesses to the negative impact that our local economy has
been subjected to as a result of over-reliance on federally allocated
funds for even the most basic recurrent expenditure items. It is high
time that we looked inwards and come up with a solution that ensures we
are sustainable and viable as a collective entity.

We shall develop a
comprehensive Development Plan that focuses on leveraging our
collective resources and areas of comparative advantage for the benefit
of our people. The plan will detail our philosophy and response to
surviving in this harsh economic climate. In addition to this, it will
also take a medium term view to our economic development on an overall
basis, and more importantly ensure that we remain consistently above
board during economic booms and bursts.

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We will adopt a collaborative approach to
get this done by ensuring that we engage with the other segments of the
public sector, as well as the private sector in developing and
implementing our ideas of transforming the economy of our great State
within the shortest possible period.
All
these lofty aspirations will remain a mirage if those saddled with the
responsibility of implementing the decisions of the government do not
support with dedication, honesty and patriotism.
I
acknowledge the very important role that the Civil Service has played,
and continues to play in the development of our beloved State. I
understand the challenges, and these are quite apparent to those within
and outside the system. We will work towards addressing these challenges
in delivering on our mandate to our people. We particularly seek the
support and cooperation of the Civil Service and all organs of labour.
We will drive efficiency through capacity building and training needs
assessment targeted at retooling our civil servants. Be rest assured
that your welfare, training, capacity building and the overall interests
of our people will be one of the highest pillars of our mandate.
We
acknowledge the constraints that our current financial situation will
place on our ability to deliver on our mandate. We however, believe that
an adequate focus on transforming the current socio-economic status of
our State will lead to substantial internally generated revenue for our
State. We believe that Ondo State has the required resources – human and
material to ensure our sustainability in the short, medium and long
term.
We are looking at building on our
existing relationships with local and international development
partners. Many of them have been there for us in the time past, and we
reach out to them, especially at the new dawn in the administration of
our State.I am therefore using this opportunity to reach out to
businesses, manufacturers, private investors as well as potential
international partners. You are welcome to Ondo State. We commit to
partner with you in developing the economic potentials of our State for
the benefit of all our stakeholders.
The
collective deployment of our resources, combined with those of our
neighboring and sister States cannot be over-emphasized. Our
administration believes that we can achieve a lot more if we work with a
number of our sister State Governments to ensure that certain
development efforts (infrastructure or otherwise) are channeled in such a
way as to deliver maximum benefits for the participating States. We
believe we don’t have to build or develop everything ourselves. There is
a lot we can gain if we harmonise efforts and resources to build
enduring assets that can cater for the needs of every one of us.

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Security
of lives and property shall be guaranteed. Our administration will
protect all and sundry. We will act in the interest of everyone. We will
be there for all. All those who will add value to governance in the
state shall be engaged. We believe that the inputs and participation of
every stakeholder is required for us to succeed and deliver our mandate.
We will provide numerous avenues for direct engagement with our people.
Whether you are civil servants, market women, students, vulnerable
groups, artisans, professionals, we will have specific means of reaching
out to you to feel your pulse, and more importantly to seek inputs into
programs and policies that will directly impact your lives.
Ladies
and gentlemen, it is indeed a brand new day! With the assistance of the
Almighty God and the good people of Ondo State, we hope to take the
state out of the morass of privation, hopelessness and desperation. The
welfare of our people shall be the fundamental objective and directive
principle of governance in Ondo State.

Your Excellencies, My lords,
ladies and gentlemen and my good people of Ondo state, the hour is here
and our Journey to Redemptioncommences now. And to God Almighty, the
creator of heaven and earth, the author and finisher of all things
perfect and excellent I say:
“Forth in thy name oh Lord I go,
my daily labour to pursue,
thee only thee resolved to know,
in all I think or speak or do.
The task thy wisdom has assigned
o’ let me cheerfully fulfil
in all my works thy presence find
and prove thy acceptable will”.

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Long live Ondo State,
Long Federal Republic of Nigeria.
I thank you very much for listening. God bless.

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