Gov. Abiodun’s “Outstanding Leadership” Award from Journalists Estate Arepo
Ogun State Governor Dapo Abiodun’s “Outstanding Leadership” award from Journalists Estate Residents Development Association (JERDA), Arepo “is a deserving honour to a leader that cares, is exemplary and is a promise-keeper”.
Former Chairman, of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, Lagos Council, Olufunke Fadugba whose administration established the estate showered the encomium on Gov Abiodun.
Abiodun was in Arepo town to commission the 2.35km access road and he visited the Journalists Estate Phase One. Residents hosted him to a fun-filled interactive reception.
The governor equally received a warm welcome from pupils, students, and staff of the prestigious Journalists International Schools (Nursery, Primary and Secondary). The School children lined up in front of their schools and sang the Ogun State Anthem “Iseya” and waved the Nigerian flag.
For the children who had looked forward to receiving His Excellency Governor Abiodun, it was a historic and memorable moment.
The governor took time to shake hands with each of the children, asked for their names, and prayed for each one with his or her name.
For the residents of the estate who were decked in white T-shirts and fez caps, it was simply a funfair reception as they sing and danced to appreciate His Excellency for being a trusted leader and a “Promise Keeper”.
According to the chairman of the estate, Jide Oke, “we found him deserving of the honour because he demonstrated trustworthiness.
“He came to Arepo to campaign in 2019 and promised to fix the very deplorable road which we residents of Arepo through the Arepo Area Development Association (AACDA) have severally taxed ourselves but couldn’t fix for years. The well-paved road was indeed done in record time. That is trust from an outstanding leader”, said Oke.
The media hosting hitherto was planned to feature a chat with the governor but due to his very tight schedule that aspect could not hold.
The Governor acknowledged that there was quite a lot of pressure on him to come over to commission the Journalists Estate road even as there are others that had been completed before it.
According to Abiodun, “the level of agitation and enthusiasm from the residents of this estate is unprecedented that I had to succumb”.
Why the Outstanding Leadership Award?
There is no denying that the identity of Arepo anywhere, is synonymous with the “Journalists Estate” which has Phases 1 and 2. The establishment of the first government gazette and recognised media professional estate in Ogun state in 2003, remains uniquely outstanding even across sub-Sahara Africa to date.
According to Fadugba, “the untold hardship and humiliation our members suffered in the hands of Landlords particularly before, and following the June 12 saga, due to inability to pay rents as at when due, forced us to take our destiny in our hands and help ourselves to own our property.
“The NUJ, Lagos Council brought its members to Arepo and we found support in our father, who is also a very senior member of our profession, Aremo Akinrogun Olusegun Osoba then, governor of the State’ he assisted us with the OPIC land acquisition. The rest, as they say, is now history”, recalled, Fadugba.
Members of the fourth estate of the realm indeed opened up the hitherto serene Ogun border community with Lagos to the glamour and glitz that now characterize the fastest-growing town that now houses three broadcast stations and a print media.
Former Governor Gbenga Daniel, successor to Osoba in 2007 tarred the road into the town during his administration.
But, by 2012, the road became so bad that residents especially Journalists who close late at work, had harrowing experiences commuting.
Several entreaties were made to former Governor, Ibikunle Amosun to revamp the road as many residents had begun to move back to Lagos.
A ray of hope came when a contractor by the name, ‘First August” was awarded the reconstruction of the road. But for eight years (2012-2019) nothing happened by then, the road had become impassable.
But the pains soon gave way to gains in April 2020 when Fort Hermon Engineering moved to the site after it got the contract to reconstruct the road.
“Many of you will recall that during my electioneering campaign in 2019, I promised that I will reconstruct this road which had become a nightmare and caused untold hardship to our people residing around this axis because of it was left unattended by the previous Government.
“I return today to fulfill the promise to rebuild the road. We are doing this conscious of our place in history.
The new look road has an assortment of street furniture – road signs, street lights, sidewalks etc to conform with our standard of excellence” Abiodun declared to the admiration of the residents.
An elated Governor received the “Outstanding Leadership” Award alongside his deputy, Engr. Noimot Salako-Oyedele.
Abiodun said, “I am indeed very humbled, to be honest with you and I am very excited. This award of appreciation is unparalleled”.
He assured residents to still deliver a world-class Primary Healthcare Centre in Arepo furnished with an ambulance.
He promised to equally assist with the completion of the Journalists’’ Estate Civic Centre complex which is about 75% completed and has facilities for Lawn Tennis, a Squash court, a gym, a football pitch, a conference hall, an e-Library, and a shopping mall.