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Governor Seyi Makinde: The Phenomenal—By Rita Orji
Progress occurs when courageous, skillful leaders seize the opportunity to change things for the better. A Pacesetting state is now a model state for good governance in Nigeria.
Turning economic fortunes of Oyo State and reposition the state as the Pacesetter is the focal view of Governor Seyi Makinde’s administration. The vision of Governor Makinde has made the IGR of the state to increase to about N15 billion without increasing the burden of taxes on citizens and this has positioned the state as #7 in the Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) ranking of states in Nigeria for 2021, Oyo State has displaced two states to occupy the slot.
His ultimate goal is to serve humanity with all the resources God has endowed him. The four key pillars of his administration including Education, Health, Economy, and Security and he has been able to ensure peak achievements within the time frame. From basic welfare of the workers and pensioners; to cancellation of N3, 000 education levy and the fees for entrance forms into Junior secondary and Technical colleges; reduction of 25% in the tuition fees of students in tertiary institutions, payment of gratuities to retirees from 2010; approval of car and housing loans for workers; payment of workers salaries not exceeding the 25th of every month, regular payments of 13th month salaries where other state are owing backlog of workers’ salaries and foundational flag-off of landmark projects at the Health and Education fronts.
His input during COVID-19 Pandemic made him to be a role model to many state governors where Federal Government has to emulate most of his policies. The State’s Task Force on COVID -19 was empowered by the Governor to ensure strict compliance with the guidelines and advisories during the Yuletide and after. He also approved the suspension of the 12 a.m. to 4 a.m. curfew earlier imposed on states by the Federal Government as at that time which many residents were so happy to receive such kind gesture from their governor. When other states enforced lock down, Oyo took a different and pragmatic approach to solving the issue, using science, data and logic. It will interest all Nigerians to know that Oyo was the first to enact the use of facemasks by producing mass facemasks to residents of the state. Oyo was the first state to enforce resumption of schools during the dreaded pandemic. All these policies were eventually emulated by the Federal government and other state governors. Above all, Makinde was the only governor in Nigeria that walked freely in the midst of the protesters to address them without been molested, harassed or booed by the irate protesters. They listened to him with rapt attention and that gesture calm the frail nerves of the protesters. He is unstoppable even when the dreaded pandemic was a loud excuse for non-performance in other states. Covid-19, Delta Variants and omicron could not stop the gentle giant from carrying out the social contract he signed with oyo state and Nigeria, he is an enigma.
As parts of his campaign promises, Makinde has ensured that Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, which used to be owned by Osun and Oyo has become the sole property of Oyo. He has decentralized the campus, one of the campuses, department of Agriculture and Natural was taken to Iseyin in Oke Ogun zone which has no university. He has also approved N500 million as take off grant.
Furthermore, Oyo was ranked 26th in WAEC ratings all through the 8 years of his predecessors but in just two and half years at the helm of affairs, Oyo is now ranked 11th in Nigeria.
Governor Makinde has been able to stimulate the economy of Oyo State through Agriculture by opening and maintaining of rural feeder and farm settlement roads with the reconstruction of the 65km Moniya-Ijaiye-Iseyin Road which is linked to Ijaiye and Ipapo-Iseyin farm settlements. The 12 km Apete-Awotan-Akufo Road which leads to the Akufo Agribusiness Hub (previously farm settlement). The Aawe Township Road leading to the Agribusiness Incubation Centre, Awe was also reconstructed. 58km Ido-Eruwa, 34.8km Oyo-Iseyin Road, 101 Ibadan Circular Road, dualization of 4Km Airport Road, 21km Airport-New Ife Road-Ajia with spur to Amuloko, 47km Ogbomoso-Iseyin Road, 45km Saki-Ogboro Road among others.
To ensure effective roadmap for accelerated development, Governor Makinde has embarked on the construction of four modern bus terminals strategically located at exits and entrance of Ibadan; Iwo Road, New Ife Road, Challenge and Ojoo; construction and rehabilitation of roads and bridges and junction improvement to decongest traffic within major cities;construction of computerized VIS Centre at Idi-Ape; acquisition of 106 buses for mass transit scheme; this will alleviate the transportation challenges of civil servants and students, commencement of ‘Light up Oyo’ Phase 2 which covers 223.48km of roads across the state; Challenge/Felele junction improvement (completed); dualisation of 9.7km Saki Township Road and many road furniture such as; traffic signals, lay bye, road marking and zebra crossing.
In sports, Shooting Stars Sports Club of Ibadan (3SC) got promoted to the elite division, Lekan Salami was remodelled to international standard. While other mini-stadia are ongoing in all the zones of the state.
Leadership is lifting a person’s vision to high sights, the raising of a person’s performance to a higher standard, the building of a personality beyond its normal limitations, Governor Makinde is a pure trailblazer whose record of work has serves as a model for National Politics.
Hon (Barrister) Rita Orji is a PDP stalwart and an advocate of good governance. She writes from Lagos, Southwest, Nigeria.