On the Ogun development survey

In actualising good governance, the place of data and science cannot be quantified. In line with both local wisdom and global best practices, governments that make a real change in the lives of the people adopt critique as a cardinal feature. Intent on delivering good governance, they are heavily involved in outcome monitoring. According to The Pew Charitable Trusts, many governments have in the past three decades developed systems to measure the performance of programmes that aim to improve key outcomes in areas such as job creation, child safety, and health.

These performance management systems, it says, can help policymakers to ensure that publicly funded programmes are achieving the results that constituents expect. In this connection, the decision by the Ogun state government to conduct household surveys towards developing a framework that will assist in planning, management, and evaluation of the multi-dimensional poverty human development index is quite in order.

Among other objectives, the survey, which is expected to transcend the bounds of the National Bureau of Statistics’ ( NBS) multi-dimensional poverty index, will give the Dapo Abiodun government an opportunity to assess the impact of the various policies it has been implementing in the last four and half years in such areas as education, health, job creation, empowerment and other social interventions. As observed by the Commissioner for Budget and Planning, Mr. Olaolu Olabimtan, the survey will also enable the state government to properly establish baselines on different data points in the state and allow for the implementation of the various strategies already earmarked for execution.

Olabimtan provides further context: “In the past five years, under the pillar of infrastructure, our administration has brought development to every ward in the 20 local government areas of the state. We have constructed, reconstructed, and rehabilitated over 500 kilometers of roads across all regions in the state in line with the administration’s policy of inclusiveness and determination to abolish erstwhile practices of prior administrations of developing one section of the state at the expense of other sections.

Similarly, in the energy sector, the administration has installed over 500 transformers across communities through its Community Electrification Project and has improved power supply in the 20 local government areas. “The administration has also rehabilitated the Arakanga Waterworks in Abeokuta to ensure a reliable supply of potable water and constructed new water storage facilities as well as expanded the water supply and reticulation network to many streets and neighborhoods in the city of Abeokuta. These completed projects, which are already in use and being enjoyed by residents, will soon be formally commissioned. We are currently at the planning stage of expanding the reticulation network into new areas within the state while rehabilitating all our Mini Water Works in other parts of the state for improved water supply for our people.”

The benefits of the survey are not hard to decipher. It is perhaps axiomatic that in planning for development, state governments cannot rely exclusively on research by statistical agencies such as the UNDP, NBS, etc. They also have a duty, if they are to radically transform the society, to determine how impactful or otherwise their policies and programmes have been on the populace.

Nigerians are well aware of the fact that in the last five years, the Gateway State under Governor Abiodun has initiated certain policies and programmes targeted at reducing/eradicating poverty and improving healthcare conditions and social wellbeing. It has made creating good roads, industrializing the state, opening it up for investment and creating channels of opportunities for the residents an article of faith. This fact has been acknowledged by a welter of agencies that typically endeavour to assist states with their statistics and findings.

For instance, last December, Economic Confidential, a subsidiary of PR Nigeria, showed that apart from Lagos, Nigeria’s economic capital, Ogun state is Nigeria’s most economically viable state. The report was compiled from figures released by the Nigerian Bureau of Statistics (NBS) and the Federal Account Allocation Committee (FAAC). A recent report by BudgIT ranked Ogun State in the 7th position in the 2023 overall Fiscal Performance Ranking and the first in IGR improvement in the country, affirming the position of the state as the investment destination of choice. However, it is also important for the state to look inwards and determine how its policies have been faring, as determined by the people themselves. This will enable it to know the areas where improvements are needed. That, to a large extent, is why it initiated this survey meant to produce the indicators needed for the design and monitoring of the implementation of various State Development Plans(SDPs) and transfer capacity to the Ogun State Bureau of Statistics (BoS) to continue implementing annual CWIQ surveys on a regular basis. Handling the project is E-services Nigeria led by Professor Oladoyin Akinyosoye, the immediate past Statistician-General of the Federation and CEO of the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS). The retired Professor of Applied Economics and Data Management at the University of Ibadan is an accomplished economics researcher and a highly skilled statistician who has impacted younger scholars and practitioners.

The Abiodun government has provided solar street lights, solar boreholes and solar home kits to rural dwellers, built the Gateway Agro-Cargo International Airport, which, along with its aerotropolis, is expected to generate over 25,000 jobs; automated business processes to improve efficiency and the Ease of Doing Business Index in the state; renovated and constructed of over 1,200 classrooms and buildings across all 234 wards in the state; rehabilitated, equipped, and staffed 100 primary healthcare centres across the state; boosted the status of women by including them in politics, governance, and economic activities, as well as providing education for girls; grown over 50,000 businesses by women, with investment in women’s empowerment put at N1.5 billion; constructed 4,000 housing units; commenced the construction of 200 units of high-end duplexes at PMB Estate, Kobape, commenced development of Ibara and Idi Aba GRA Regeneration Schemes, the construction of 200 units of Affordable Housing in Gateway Aviation Village, Iperu and 250 units of Affordable Housing in Kobape Phase 3, and 100 units of mixed Housing units at OPIC Estate, Warewa, Isheri.

In the 2024 budget speech, Governor Abiodun spoke of his government’s installation of over 500 transformers across communities, deployment of CNG buses ahead of other states in Nigeria, launching of the Digital Economy Infrastructure Project aimed at providing 5000 kilometers of optic fiber cables across the State, highlighting key physical capital projects like the Lagos – Abeokuta Expressway, Ofada-Owode Road, Lagos Garage – Ikangba – Ilese Road, Ota-Lafenwa-Itele-Ayobo Road, etc; extension of the Lagos Blue Line Metro Rail Project into Agbara and the Lagos Red Line Metro Rail Project to Ijoko and Ifo/ Kajola; introduction of 2 and 3-wheeled electric vehicles in furtherance of its green initiatives, among others.

These are, no doubt, highly commendable projects. But it is even more commendable that Abiodun’s government is tracking policy initiatives for optimal delivery of democratic dividends.

Kayode Akinmade,
Special Adviser to Governor Dapo Abiodun on Media, Communications and Strategy