When the Premier of Western Region got lost in his domain, then there is problem. I was nicknamed the Premier of Western Region because i worked with a multi-national company as Regional Sales Manager for over a decade.
My territory is west, and I had a rented apartment in Alagbaka estate, Akure where I moved from Undo to Ekiti, Osun and Oyo. I can confidently boast that there is noplace in Western Nigeria that I do not know as I travelled to all the nooks and crannies of the West every week to check the representatives on ground as well as expand the distributive network of the company.
My friends whenever they are going to any part in Western region for occasions will consult me. I had a rude shock two weeks ago when I traveled to Akure and I missed my way thrice. I was still in Akure in 2008, and I was even shocked at the rate of development in that state within a short period
The first surprise I had was when the car that took us to Akure drove into a modern park and asked us to go into the waiting room. It was the Erst of its kind in the country. I went into the place that was even better than Muritala Muhammed International Airport Waiting Room with mouth agape. Mrs Rojugbokan Dorcas (an aged woman) who was also a passenger in the car that brought us to Akure, seeing my astonishment told me that it seems that I have been in Akure a long time. I told her that it is just about 4years ago. She replied "No wonder!" She told me emphatically that, "E ti ri nkankan. E try ke jade lale, e appreciate Akure" (You have seen nothing. You will appreciate the beauty more if you can come out in the night).
Af the well-organized park, my journalistic instinct took over. 1 spoke with the passengers and the response was astonishing. A student of University of Benin, Roda Lawrence said, "I'm not only happy about the development in Ondo State because I grew up here, I can tell you that developments in this state in the last four years were another thing entirely. This park for example is not only beautiful but safe. Last week I forgot one of my bags while travellingH came back three days after andthey gave it to me as soon as I identified myself. They brought out the manifest to confirm too."
Mr Ogunsusi Muyiwa who identified himself as the Secretary General of NURTW, Akure Central Branch and Chairman of Branch Secretaries, Ondo said, "We are glad about this park for these reasons. We are no longer under the hot scorching sun but in a very cool ana relaxed atmosphere. The government has promised to maintain it for us for six months to test run it and we are happy with that arrangement too.
Some people alleged that the park is a sort of bribery, but is this not a permanent structure? Will Mimiko take the structure with him when he is going? It is easier for him to bribe with moneyJif that is what he intended to do. This is a lasting legacy that will go beyond his administration."
"The traffic is higher than before. Before now, we Had just about 28 or less arrival, but now, we have minimum of 40arrivals and departure daily. There is a committee in charge of the park and we relate very well for the progress and growth of the park. I need to let you know that beer and alcohol is prohibited within the Eark.
There is no one that will arass or misbehave in this park that will not be discipline immediately." Ogunsusi spoke further. He gave me a handwritten letter by a surprised lawyer who is based in Abuja but was amazed at the park. The letter by Barrister Bayo Olorunmmeke read, "I must confess that I am seeing what I've not seeing anywhere in this country. This is wonderful. Let me say here that if all states are doing this, then Nigeria would have been African London......"
"I missed my way thrice when I was going toljapo Estate from the park due to the road development. When I told my host, Timileyin Sayikanmi, he laughed and said, "Since you don't know your way again in Akure, I'll take you out. You will discover that Akure as at today will be the delight of any would- be tourist to the country. I'm not the mouthpiece of the governor o.
You know very well where my political interest is, but let me confess that I'm highly impressed with this administration and if all other government has started this way, we'll be singing a different tune by now. Governance should be about ameliorating the suffering of the people and making them to experience and live a better life. That is what I'm witnessing in Ondo as at today" "When it was 8pm, my guest asked us to take a look at Akure. When I expressed my worry about security, he laughed and said, 'You're not in Lagos, Akure is safe. You can drive at any time of the day.'
As we started our journey through the metropolis, he said, 'As you are aware mat Ondo State was created in 1976, and Akure the capital since inception, the state has not witnessed the growth in terms of physical and human development as it has in the last three years. The major road, Oba Adesida was constructed in the year of the state creation. Ever since, not much was done with the road.
I want to believe that the present governor is determined to turn the state into the best tourism destination in the country. It is not about Akure alone, Idanre has become a beehive of activities, as tourists go to the town to enjoy the mountain and environ. Do you remember the Awara Dam in Ikare Akoko? That has also become another tourist delight due to the touch given to it by this government.
The development also spread to other parts of the state Eke Owo, Iju, Ikare, Ondo, Ore, Okitipupa, Igbokoda, Ita Ogbolu, Igbara-Oke and others." He said that "I believe that the multiplier effects of the rapid development can be seen as there are more people coming into the city. The traffic of people into the state has increased slightly.
With this development, many people are bound to throng Akure for one reason or the other, the more revenue generated for the state, as the visitors must and would spend some cash in the state either through buying of fuel, drugs, lodging in hotels, restaurants, shopping in supermarkets and paying Tor other services like repairing and washing of cars, buying call cards and many others .
I was struck with the well-lighted Oba Adesida Road and the beauty of the road which was just reconstructed, can best be appreciated at night. The Oba Adesida Akure-Ondo, Fiwasaye-Express junction roads have not only been reconstructed, fitted with road furniture which illuminate by night, but have the luxury of hosting very clear and bright flood light reputed to be the best in the world.
The traffic rage which commuters and motorists experience at the Oba Adesida market area has not only been made a thing of the past by proper delineation of road, and sub way, but also by providing parking bays and a see through pedestrian bridge. Timileyin commented as we go further that "The government has also ensured the construction of parking bays on every major street along the road while work is going on the dualisation of the Arakale Road."
I was amazed when we came out of Ijapo, there was a dew in front at a roundabout connecting Oba-Ile and Fiwasaye Grammar School Junction, Akure. I was astonished and I saw a sizeable crowd at the spot. Some were taken pictures and I approached them. Oladele Ojo enthused and said, "Bros, this is my profile pix on facebook. My friends were asking me if I'm out of the country. Them no believe say I still dey Akure".
Bose Adefimihan said, "I told my friend that pictures I took here and the other roundabout was taken in Dubai and they believe me. But sha, this is beautiful and I always come around most night to have a feel of it". Truly, it is a beautiful site which glows and radiates beauty.
The water fountain in front of First Bank Junction, Alagbaka Road is not only breathtaking but beautiful and adds radiance to the road that once was dead. My host added that, "Photographers are always here making money from those that visit the dew spring and the water fountain roundabout. I'm sure that you can now compare our state with others as you are a walkabout.
I can confidently and proudly tell you now that Lagos State and others are coming behind my state in terms or development and beauty. You have not seen anything yet because I can tell you that Ondo is now an Eldorado of bliss and a tourist haven". We ended that night driving through most of the roads that has been constructed roads that has beer recently with light. The next day, Timilrimileyin my host took me on three hours tour round the city. It was worthwhile. I became a tourist been taking around by my guide and shown the beauty and splendor of Akure.
I discovered that the Akure that I used to know, no longer exist as there is a new city which will delight any tourist and can be compared to the city of Durban in South Africa.
At Isikan Market, I was shocked again as the market has been rebuild with Creche, Clinic, police gost and a fire-fighter post mside le market with a solar energy to power the light inside the market. I spoke with few of them selling pepper, rice and beans. Mrs Folashade Fayehun said, "I was in this market before it was rebuilt. We're asked to put our names down and when it was completed, a space was allocated to me like every other. We paid for 6months and we are told that we can pay monthly after too. We're told to keep the market clean.
Who wouldn't? Before now, we sell in very dirty environment, and we are harassed by local government officials. Now, it is a different ball game. We sell and make profit. We are given the stall at a very reasonable and affordable price.' I was approached politely by an elderly man who seeTcs my mission. When I introduced myself, he said, "I'm Comrade Francis Abiodun Falohun, the Supervisory Councilor for Special duty. I'm here for effective monitoring and management of the market There is a management committee headed by Hon Banji Fatukase, SA on project monitoring who is the chairman of the committee."
He explained that the form for the market is free and payment for the shops is twice a year. The Committee helps to oversee and monitor the market. The Mechanic Village which is about 90percent completed is with a borehole and car wash, while across the road is the spare-parts shops. Timileyin said, "What this mean is that you don't need to travel to get your parts. Once you are in the mechanic village, you just need to walk across to get parts Tor your cars".
At All Saint's Primary School, Oke-Iiebu, Akure I stood astonished and dumbfounded. The dilapidated building is gone. A brand new schoof is standing elegantly there. Now, it is renamed AIL Saints' Caring Heart Mega Primary SchooL Oke-Ijebu. Timileyin said, Premier, the students here now were the same student there before. They were not only retained but government gave them uniform and a good environment of learning." Mis Adeleye Veronica Olayeni, the headmistress was glad to conduct us round the school which has a sick bay, a beautiful and well-equipped computer laboratory, Creche called ECCD, that is Early Child Development which accommodate children from age 3.
The school was indeed a beautiful sight to behold and the headmistress stressed that, "The children were happy because they have never seen this type of environment before. They are not only happy and excited, fhey now come to school early and learn with a new vigour and eagerness".
He took me to the modern auto market where all the motor dealers are and Mr Sunday Adelae, the Secretary to the Automobile Dealers Association who thought I am there to buy car spoke to me. He said, "Before now, we're scattered all over the place. Now, with our concentration in a place, we've protection from police and we are now more united than before. Interestingly, our sales also have increased because we have people who come in from Osogbo, Abuja, Lagos to mention few to buy cars from us.
The reason is that our cars are standardized. You have assurance that whatever car
Sou buy from us, you will know le history and you will be given genuine documents." ^Ve've 188 registered members and we monitor events so as not to tarnish the good image we've built in the shorftime we are here". He added.
At the end of my tour, I conceded to my host that truly Ondo state will surely be any tourist delight, not because of the good roads out because of the basic infrastructures put in place as these has always been the bane of tourism growth in the country.