By Chesa Chesa
Ogun State Governor, Dapo Abiodun, on Wednesday declared that President Muhammadu Buhari was clearly a believer in the victorious mandate given by Nigerians to late politician, Moshood Kashimawo Abiola, in the June 12, 1993 election.
The governor said that this explained the recognition Buhari has so far given to the memory of Abiola, an indigene of Ogun, without being promoted to do so.
He spoke to State House correspondents in Abuja after he paid a thank-you visit to the President for declaring June 12 a national holiday, and renaming the Abuja national stadium as MKO Abiola Stadium, in honour of the politician who died in detention in 1997 while trying to claim his mandate in the election annulled by the military regime of Ibrahim Babangida.
The governor said that “I felt I should personally come on behalf of the good people of Ogun State for pronouncing June 12 Democracy Day; and recognizing that indeed, is MKO Abiola is a uniting factor in the political history of Nigeria.
“MKO Abiola was someone who won an election, ran a Muslim-Muslim ticket, meaning that he demystified the issue of religion and that would have been a turning point in the history of Nigeria.
“So ‘Baba’ recognized that and he firmly believed in Abiola’s mandate and he didn’t have to be convinced. It was something he believed in and he keyed into and he felt that Abiola would have been a very good president.
“I thanked him for naming the stadium after him as well, which was unexpected. He said he didn’t even share with anyone, it was something he wanted to do, to underscore the fact that Abiola was indeed, a great man”, the Governor said.
He said he met with Buhari in order to share with him his vision for the development of Ogun State, which is to provide good and qualitative governance for the people while creating an enabling environment for a public/private sector partnership that is fundamental to economic growth and prosperity.
According to him “Our mantra is building together. Our vision starts with what we called an enabler factors top of which is good governance factor. We believe that nothing can be achieved unless you are committed to good governance. And good governance starts with paying salaries.
“I was sworn in on the 29th of May and the 30th was my first day in office and my second day in office I realized that salary was due and we didn’t have money to pay. However, that day we ensured that salaries were paid.
“It was important for that message to be sent because that was the pact we had with the people of the state. There is something called ‘the speed of trust’. The citizens have to begin to trust you and you have to earn that trust equally.
“Second item on our enabler is security. Ogun state is called gateway for a reason, we are gateway to Lagos, Oyo, Ondo, Cotonou, to so many other places. So it is important that for us to create an enabling environment for investment we must have a secured state.
“The governor of Lagos state and I have discussed, we are going to ensure we have a robust security trust fund so that we can have patrol vehicles along the connecting roads, tracking devices, communications equipment.
“This is because we want to take advantage of what we call the pull factor. Today, Ogun state has the largest industrial hub in the country but there are there because Ogun is close to Lagos. So all these I shared with Mr. President.
“But top on the list is agriculture, we are placing premium on agriculture. We see it as opportunity to directly impact on people’s lives and so we are tapping into CBN’s anchor borrowers programme.”