“Only when there are things a man will not do is he capable of doing great things.” – Mencius
May 29th, 2019, was just like yesterday when the present Governor of Oyo State, Engr. Seyi Makinde was sworn into office. I was amongst the few who were at his Ikolaba Ibadan residence as the results of the governorship elections were announced. As we rejoiced at his electoral victory, little did I know that we were about to witness the assumption of a true servant-leader with transformational ideas to set the hitherto derailed train of Oyo State back on track.
Oluseyi Makinde has truly set the bar for governors that will come after him by his leadership style that is devoid of pettiness and silly political bickering which have come to be associated with politics in this clime. In just two years, Makinde has turned mourning into joy. He has successfully wiped off the sorrow of bad leadership from the people and put a smile on their faces. Now, residents of the state can not keep silent but praise a man who lived up to his political slogan of Omitutun.
On his administration’s cardinal agendas, he has done excellently. Some of these include expansion of the state’s economy through agriculture and its value chain development, Security; Health; and Education to mention a few. Not many governors in the federation can compare with Seyi Makinde’s achievements in the last two years.
On agriculture, the Oyo State government under the leadership of Engr. Seyi Makinde continues to explore new frontiers, reviving the hitherto moribund farm settlements across the state and developing critical road infrastructure that will ensure agricultural produce from the hinterlands gets to the city easily. The reconstruction of the 65km Ibadan-Iseyin road is a clear testament to Engr. Seyi Makinde’s commitment to the development of agriculture. Linking Oke Ogun, the food basket of the state, with the capital city is a boost to the agricultural sector that will certainly yield massive dividend, not only for agriculture but the tourism sector also.
It is worthy of note that successive administrations in the state had only paid lip service to matters regarding this very important road. Today, the Ibadan-Iseyin road has become a reality, a laudable achievement from the Omitutun stable.
No society is safe without adequate security. It is against this backdrop that the Oyo State government, under the leadership of Engr. Makinde invested heavily in the security apparatus of the state. It is doubtable if any previous administration in Oyo State has shown this much commitment in securing the lives and properties of citizens as much as the present one.
The state government purchased over 100 patrol vehicles to strengthen the security agencies’ emergency response capacity. Also, surveillance cameras have been installed in strategic locations across the state. The government has also expended a lot in the provision of street lights through the “Light up Oyo project” all to enhance the safety of lives and properties. Governor Makinde also played a major role in the formation of the South-West Security Network, code-named Amotekun. More than 1500 young men and women were employed to provide support for the existing security architecture in the state.
No doubt, there have been security situations here and there within the state. Even though they have mostly been isolated cases, many of them have had the capacity of spiralling out of control as is happening in many parts of the country, The causes of these crises are largely attributed to the failure of the government at the centre.
With Makinde at the helm, those situations have been deftly handled and Oyo State has been a haven for law-abiding residents.
On Education, the Makinde-led administration took the bulls by the horns by fulfilling one of its cardinal electoral promises in the abrogation of levies paid in all state public schools and establishing free education through his inauguration speech. Since its inception, the government has continued to distribute free textbooks, exercise books, desks and chairs, just like the glory days of Baba Awolowo and Chief Bola Ige. Also, new blocks of classrooms have been built while dilapidated ones have been renovated. Also, over 5000 teachers have been employed to address the deficit suffered by the state with regards to teaching and non-teaching staff.
Before Makinde, the state was ranked in the 26th position. Today, however, Oyo State has moved up the ladder and is steadily ascending.
Within two years, the Makinde administration took full ownership of the Ladoke Akintola University, Ogbomoso and also upgraded the Emmanuel Alanyande College of Education to a full-fledged University. It is also worthy of note that GSM recently reduced tuition fees by 25% for students of LAUTECH.
In the health sector, major health facilities in the state have been upgraded and fitted with modern facilities to provide adequate health care for citizens. The governor’s handling of the covid-19 pandemic in the state remains a reference point on his leadership acumen.
On the economic front, he has successfully expanded the revenue that is internally generated by the state while also reducing the state’s debt profile by $23 million.
The welfare of the state’s Civil and Public Service workforce is also given a place of prominence in this administration. Despite the challenging times, he ensures that salaries are paid on the 25th of each month and in some cases on the 23rd. The governor also pays workers a 13th-month salary.
Governor Makinde is one of the very few Governors in Nigeria who implements the minimum wage. Pensions are getting paid as and when due and a backlog of gratuities owed by past administrations are almost cleared. Training opportunities which had been put on hold by the previous administration are now available to civil servants. These goodies are not just limited to government employees. It is on record that in the history of the state, political office holders and leaders never had it so good as the governor has been fair to all.
How Makinde has managed to achieve all of these within two years could be likened to nothing short of a miracle. It seems while other Governors are saying there is a casting down, Makinde is saying there is a lifting up !!
Space will be insufficient, should I attempt to state all that Governor Makinde has done within the short space of two years. We can only wait with bated breath as we watch him outdo himself in the coming years.
As stated by Mencius, only when there are things a man will not do is he capable of doing great things. Our governor has refused to be a “Promise Breaker” Two Years of great things done, Perhaps Six More years of greater things to be done.
Omolere Omoetan is the Senior Special Assistant Media To The Deputy Governor Oyo State.