Today I must appreciate Governor Babatunde Fashola for taking governance to the next level with his readiness to engage and use technology for efficient service delivery.

Engr. Olatunji Ariyomo, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, Dr. Olugbemi Akinkoye and Dr. Olusegun Mimiko (clapping) at the commissioning of the State

Engr. Olatunji Ariyomo, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, Dr. Olugbemi Akinkoye and Dr. Olusegun Mimiko (clapping) at the commissioning of the State

The gist however is that Ondo State pioneered the use of this technology in 2008/2009. It was branded e-VL in Ondo State as part of the ARCAS project (Please ref Punch Newspaper, Pages 76 & 77, March 30 2009). The objective then was to provide a cost effective and scalable technology platform for the pervasive tracking and monitoring of vehicles – a platform that would make the work of the Police, VIO, FRSC et cetera easier without the traditional space or time barrier. Its by-products being enhanced security tracking, vehicular history warehousing as well as better capacity for government to track its obligatory payments! Unfortunately it was one of the very first victims of the ‘change of power’ when Dr. Olusegun Mimiko took over. I was told he (Mimiko) instructed his boys to STOP all technology initiatives of his predecessor DESPITE the overwhelming evidence that such initiatives had brought additional fund in excess of N2b in direct cash and savings worth multiple of that actively and in kind via unprecedented efficiency, reduced time/cost of service delivery et cetera to the purse of government!

For instance, time required for monthly payroll and nominal roll processing had been reduced from about 24 days to less than 2 hours while employee file access and record search time was reduced from days (sometime months) to few seconds via the use of technology. The last I heard was that people (Ondo State civil servants’ salary adjustments) are again being paid with cash (by hand) and officers of the BIR are now able to collect money by hand in Ondo State. This is a direct reversal of the gains of ICT. As at February 2009, all manual (by hand or cash) payments had been phased out while typewriters were no longer in use in the state (except for speed training at the public service training school) in line with my assurance to the Ondo State House of Assembly Appropriation Committee in December 2003 in the presence of the then Permanent Secretary in Charge of Establishment and Service Matters, Barrister Ajose Ikudehinbu, who today by the grace of God, is the Head of Service and an important member of Council (Cabinet).

Such is an example of what politics in the extreme does to development effort in Africa!

Readers would recall that I have praised the beautiful Mimiko markets that I saw in Ondo State when I last visited Nigeria. However, such commendable effort would have had greater impacts if other brilliant initiatives by predecessors which added value to governance were retained and promoted.

The success of Fashola in Lagos today is directly traceable to his continuation of several development initiatives (ongoing projects, ideas, concepts etc) birthed by the administration of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu. The BRT project, Lekki-Epe Expressway expansion etc are some of the projects that changed the face of Lagos – interestingly, they were all conceived and commenced by Tinubu.

Ironically the Road Map for the ICT Initiatives of Dr. Olusegun Mimiko’s predecessor, Dr. Olusegun Kokumo Agagu, was conceived with the active participation of Dr. Mimiko as a member of Cabinet then. Dr. Mimiko was number three – Agagu – Oluwateru – Mimiko – in that order. So it was a bit puzzling that Dr. Mimiko would later, with such military fiat, discard all technology projects his predecessor conceived, started and completed and that were being used for the benefit of improving service delivery.

As the Japanese would say, the best room in the world is the room for improvement. I would thus say that my considered opinion is that the new administration under the leadership of Dr. Olusegun Mimiko should have evolved ways of improving upon what it met on ground rather than obliterating them. This is my opinion.

You can read the Fashola’s success story here

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