For the best part of the past 12 months, Adebayo Adelabu, the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Oyo State, has been busy moving all over the state, espousing his quite lofty plans, aimed at consolidating the successful efforts of the outgoing administration in the state.
If he wins the gubernatorial election on Saturday, Adelabu, together with the governor, Senator Abiola Ajimobi, would have made history by being the first to handover within the same party. Put differently, Ajimobi would have performed another feat to by being the first governor who has been able to breed a successor and successfully hand over to him.
In trying to make this count, the former deputy governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has made famous a plan of his named, the ‘Next Level Pyramid’, a plan he posits will efficiently steer his administration towards achieving success in its desire to consolidate the achievements of his predecessor and improve the quality of life of the people of Oyo State.
Adelabu has been repeatedly heard blaring plans from his famed pyramid at every opportunity. According to him, the Next Level Pyramid consists of a 7-layered vision that will guide his administration towards driving people-centric socioeconomic development and also strengthening the state’s economy.
“The Next Level Pyramid contains our focus areas in the next four years as we look and hope to take the lives of our people to the next level indeed. It is a guide we will follow to fulfill our intention of building expertly on the successes of the outgoing APC government on Oyo State.”
The above were Adelabu’s words at a recent meeting with stakeholders and members of the Professional Tradesmen and Artisans (PROTARN) in the state. He went further: “For us, bettering the lives of the people and multiplying avenues of creating prosperity for the good people of Oyo State comes first. This is why we are going to consolidate the peace and security in our state as a priority. Without it, we can neither successfully create, nor enjoy the prosperity we hope to create.”
True to his words, at the base of the Next Level Pyramid is security. It is no secret that Adelabu is keen and big on security. Currently, he is the chairman of the Oyo State Security Trust Fund (OYSSTF) and, in this role, he has led the application of technology to aid security such that there are close Circuit Televisions (CCTVs) at major city centres and hotspots in Ibadan, today, with a view to spread it round the state.
At a breakfast session with heads of business concerns within the state, last January, he highlighted plans to light up Oyo State by replacing old, energy-consuming street lights with modern, energy-efficient LED lights. This, according to him, will complement the existing tech-driven security infrastructure within the state.
The Adelabu-led OYSSTF had also raised funds to see to the constant assistance of the existing security outfits across Oyo with modern equipment and accouterments to ensure better functionality and easier/faster mobility alá response time. The man is clear on the fact that his idea of consolidation does not kickoff without security at its base.
Agriculture and food security is next up on Adelabu’s Next Level Pyramid. His plan on maximising the state’s arable wealth is quite clear. Many have questioned why the prospects of agriculture still remain underutilised in a state with such arable land like Oyo State. But Adelabu believes (with a very strong conviction) that he has answers.
During one of his stakeholder consultations, he expatiated: “We are set in Oyo State to deploy strategic options to ensure maximum utilisation of our agricultural prospects. We have fruits in Afijio, expanse of arable land in Oke-Ogun, Shea Butter in Saki, cashew in Ogbomoso, a weather that suits poultry in Oyo.
“I can keep counting and, thankfully, we are presently in a prime position to use some of the strategic options we are armed with to pluck some of the low hanging fruits in this sector and also set long-term goals in motion. Our goal of creating food in abundance for our people and eventually becoming a global and national food basket is very valid and we’ll achieve it.”
In addition to cultivating the 87 per cent arable land of that is basically located in the Oke-Ogun belt of the state, the Next Level Pyramid, as regards agriculture, looks to setting up proper farm settlements and supporting fruitful out-grower schemes.
What is however further interesting is the plan to add layers of processing, packaging, supply and distribution to basic agricultural production in Oyo State, thereby extending and exploring the entire agricultural value chain. According to the gospel of the Adelabu Next Level Pyramid, cassava won’t just be cassava: it will be flour and more. Cocoa will be more than cocoa: it will be chocolate: it will be tea, etc and cashew will be more: it will be juice, powder, premium nuts, etc.
With this, an increased commercial value is expected to be added to most cash crops, thus, directly providing wealth for the state and the farmers too who have, over the years being operating mostly at the subsistence level, and essentially, an abundance of food for the people of the state, and beyond.
Similarly lofty ideas have been echoed by the APC governorship candidate in respect of the other ascending components of the pyramid, ranging from housing to social infrastructure (health), education, transportation and environment, among others.
He had the chance to intimate his next level plans in education with the people of Oyo State during the recent Splash FM (an Ibadan-based privately-owned radio station) gubernatorial debate. As he succinctly puts it, “education is not education without duly-encouraged and up-to-date teachers in dutily-equipped conditions without unnecessary distractions.
“If someone promises to dash you clothes, the first wise thing to do is to check the quality of cloth the person is wearing. With education, as with security, again, I have been privileged to lead by example and show what I can do.”
Not oblivious of the daunting challenge inherent in this foundational approach to revamping the education sector, the former First Bank Executive director enthused: “One of our earliest goals is to promptly renovate both the infrastructure and even the teachers in our schools in Oyo State, and I have also by experience, mastered how we can achieve this with a prodigious budget that won’t harm the state.”
As a man who knows where the shoe pinches, for years, his pet project, the Bayo Adelabu Foundation, has given relief in bursaries and scholarships to a handful of Oyo State students. Apart from the fact that this is a good deed, it also serves as a vehement testament to Adebayo Adelabu’s staunch belief in students’ welfare and their right to qualitative education.
Plans for education in the Next Level Pyramid contains a blueprint to amplifying and elevating the standard of education in Oyo State to a global grade and ensure that state-owned schools and institutions in the state do not suffer breaches anymore, especially as this has been made easier by steps already taken by the present government in the state.
Adebayo Adelabu particularly believes that the idea of comfortable student loans should not be a long lost idea. He has continuously echoed that students deserve qualitative education that can make them globally competitive and relevant, and they should be able to access loans repayable over a comfortable stretch of years, in order to remove the burden of instant payment for such qualitative education.
While addressing a mammoth crowd at an APC rally at Yemetu, Ibadan, recently, the graduate of the Harvard Business School boasted of a readiness to play his role excellently when the time comes, citing how his experiences in top-level administration and public service have helped to make him the most-prepared for the job to lead Oyo State to next level.
“The part, APC and the administration of our leader, Senator Abiola Ajimobi, have done so well. This is one reason why we cannot afford to lose this opportunity to progress from where they have taken us and build on it into the next level we deserve as a people.
“I am very prepared to do that on behalf on our people for our dear state. In fact, I can say I am most prepared for this job at the moment. God has so far blessed us in Oyo State till now, and I’m sure we won’t fail you. Security, education, welfare, agriculture and our economy will be taken to the next level for the benefit of us all,” he added.
The governorship election coming up on Saturday is not a child’s play, coupled with the fact that the candidates seeking to take over from our great leader, the incumbent Governor Abiola Ajimobi are people with high credentials. Indeed, it is without doubt that the election would bring out into the field of contest some of the best human materials the state is well endowed with.
However, Adebayo Adelabu, the man with a midas touch, has upped the stake with his intimidating public record. This fact is also complemented with his Next Level Pyramid, a comprehensive document aimed at taking the pacesetter state to an enviable and greater height. Without any iota of doubt, the APC candidate remains the man to beat in the Oyo governorship election.
Agbaje is a public affairs analyst, based in Ibadan.