Mr. Rotimi Akeredolu, SAN, arriving for his inauguration as Ondo State Governor.

Newly inaugurated Governor of Ondo State, Mr. Rotimi Akeredolu, SAN, on Friday in Akure lamented the parlous state of education in the state, pledging to rectify the situattion along with ensuring that unemployment, which he described as a challenged is effectively put in check.

Akeredolu also signalled a commitment to cooperation with other Governors of the South-West in employing regional integration as a means to ensuring that the available pool of resources in the region is brought together for the common good.

In an inaugural speech, shortly after being sworn into office, Akeredolu said, “Any honest indigene of the state must be disturbed by the crisis in the educational sector at present. The philosophy of education, conceived on the idea of functionality for improved living by our forbears, has been reduced to a routine certification ritual, the culmination of which is the award of certificates, diplomas and degrees to graduates who are left more confused than when they enrolled in school.

“The unemployment crisis, apart from being a global socio-economic phenomenon, is self-inflicted. If education is the nurturing, training and mobilization of those who live in a society to confront the challenges of development, faced, primarily, by the people in that environment, the current situation confirms that we have since departed from that well-trodden path for a very long time now.

“It is a big shame that a state, which was a clear leader in education in the country, now lags behind. It appears that our curricula at all levels of training have failed to produce experts whose contributions to the growth of the economy are needed. Our administration will strive to reverse this unfortunate trend by promoting functional education aimed at real development. We shall also revisit the issue of vocational training with a view to improving the skills of our artisans.

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“We recognize that the issue of unemployment is endemic. We equally understand that the greatest employer of labour, at a time such as this challenging period, is the private sector. The government will ensure that the environment remains peaceful and conducive for economic activities. In addition, we shall deploy considerable energy into agriculture. Through this, we hope to generate employment for the teeming youths. This administration will do everything possible to encourage investment in agriculture. Our youths must be ready for training necessary to kick-start this mission.

“We must begin to deemphasize white-collar jobs. The era of unproductive civil service is winding to a close, gradually. The current economic realities make the deployment of the unemployed to other sectors, other than agriculture and rural development, unsustainable. We must train our youths to acquire entrepreneurial skills as a corollary to our programme on agriculture. The health care delivery system currently operating in the state will be sustained and improved upon. We shall adopt a deliberate policy to ensure that our people have access to health care regardless of their social status.

“We intend, within the available resources, to provide qualitative primary health care delivery system to the rural populace. Health care centres in the rural areas will be accessible and functional. Our policy on massive infrastructural development will seek to open up the hinterland through our roads and waterways. Our state has the longest coastline in the country. It is unthinkable that all economic activities are restricted to land while our waterways are abandoned.

“Opening up the hinterland will reduce, drastically, the perennial rural-urban drift and encourage our sons and daughters who live outside the state to consider returning home to contribute their own quota. The economic propensities of such a venture will be, unimaginably, exponential. We are all witnesses to the negative impact that our local economy has been subjected to as a result of over-reliance on federally allocated funds for even the most basic recurrent expenditure items.

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“It is high time that we looked inwards and come up with a solution that ensures we are sustainable and viable as a collective entity. We shall develop a comprehensive Development Plan that focuses on leveraging our collective resources and areas of comparative advantage for the benefit of our people. The plan will detail our philosophy and response to surviving in this harsh economic climate.

“In addition to this, it will also take a medium term view to our economic development on an overall basis, and more importantly ensure that we remain consistently above board during economic booms and bursts. We will adopt a collaborative approach to get this done by ensuring that we engage with the other segments of the public sector, as well as the private sector in developing and implementing our ideas of transforming the economy of our great State within the shortest possible period.”

National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, was among dignitaries, who graced Friday’s inauguration of Newly elected Ondo State Governor, Mr. Rotimi Akeredolu, SAN.

Akeredolu took the oath of office at exactly 11.34 am on Friday in Akure, the state running mate, Ajayi Agboola was earlier sworn into office at the ceremony, which was held at the Akure Stadium.

Other dignitaries, who witnessed the arrival of another APC governor into office after wnning a state under the control of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), were, Ogun State Governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, Senator Tokunbo Afikuyomi, Oyo State Governor, Senator Abiola Ajimobi and former APC National Chairman, Chief Bisi Akande among others.

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