Transformation Oyo needs
In soccer, half time is not for rest. It is for stock-taking, strategy and restrategising. In governance, middle-of-term period serves the same purpose. The team leader gathers his strikers; together they review the shots fired, goals netted and goals missed. The team that would win comes out of its concave, out of the half-time retreat roaring to go for gold. I have seen this in the last couple of days in Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State as he marks his second anniversary, serially inaugurating projects and at the same time renewing his bond with his people.
He was in Ogbomoso during the week where he inspected the 3km Under G-Stadium-LAUTECH-Second Gate road, which was reconstructed and lit by his administration. He took a walk down the length of the road and used that as an opportunity to interact with residents in the area. He held a town hall meeting in that town where the old and the young of both sexes freely told the governor their minds. He listened with rapt attention as his people raised issues with two standing out: they wanted enhanced security and more infrastructural projects. The governor told them his government would construct the Iseyin-Oyo and Oyo-Ogbomoso roads. The people clapped. More importantly, they wanted the governor to implement the ban on open grazing of cows. They knew how vicious herdsmen had been using open grazing to ruin lives and farms in far and near places. They knew that courtesy of Makinde’s proactivity, the state already had a law criminalizing open grazing. What needed to be done was making the law to work. Makinde told the people that he was resolute in his resolve to implement the law banning open grazing. He told his people that their fears were his fears, their comfort his comfort. He promised them security of their lives and property from all forms of threats. The people were relieved. They rejoiced.
The reception the governor got in Ogbomoso was understandably tumultuous. Ogbomoso people have a reason to cling to Makinde. The community has been a major beneficiary of the administration’s thoughtfulness in policy, project and programme conception and implementation. The suffering of students, parents and staff of LAUTECH, Ogbomoso ended with the coming into office of this governor. He succeeded where others before him failed in getting the university freed from the fetters of joint ownership with Osun State. Now, students of that school and their sponsors can predict when the school opens and when it closes; when they commences their courses and when they would graduate. There is no longer the fear of four-year courses taking ten years to finish.
A General does not rest on stale victories, he moves from one field to the other consolidating on grounds won and looking far ahead for more to win for his people. It is not enough to get the sole ownership of LAUTECH, it must be made to go back to its old position as the best state university in Nigeria. That resolve demands every effort and resource. So, Makinde, during the visit, commissioned the High Dependency Unit (HDU) at the Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH) Teaching Hospital, Ogbomoso. The HDU, according to the governor, would provide secondary healthcare services for individuals who need more extensive care. He was at the main campus of LAUTECH where the entire students population massed round him in appreciation of his purposeful leadership. Then, to whom much is given, much is expected. That saying is applicable to the government and the governed. Governor Makinde spoke clearly as a truly progressive minded leader. He assured the students that now that Oyo had secured sole ownership of the university, the era of academic calendar disruptions were over for good. The ecstatic students cheered. Then he capped everything with the announcement of a 25 percent reduction of school fees for all students. The campus roared in joy. Indeed, when the righteous rules, the people rejoice.
The governor went deep into Oke Ogun area and held a town hall meeting at Saki. He listened as the people expressed their concerns on several aspects of their lives. He listened, he made clarifications when expedient; he made promises where necessary and announced policies when appropriate to allay fears. He gave the people feedbacks about what he was doing on virtually all aspects of governance in the state. As expected, the people made requests. They asked for better healthcare and infrastructure. The governor assured them that his government would continue working to address these issues. There would always be new projects for the people to enjoy. While in Saki, he flagged off the 45.3km Saki-Ogbooro-Igboho road reconstruction. The road has a pivotal role to play in turning round the lives of the agrarian communities it is planned for. It is being reconstructed by Messrs China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC) for N8.7 billion under the Alternative Project Funding Approach. He did not leave Saki without commissioning the reconstructed Oyo State Agribusiness Development Agency (OYSADA) Headquarters, Saki. “We made the decision to situate the headquarters of agribusiness in Oke-Ogun, the food basket of Oyo State and put this former moribund OYSADEP facility to good use. At the same time, we launched the Youth Entrepreneurship in Agribusiness Project (YEAP). The programme will train 1,000 youths in agribusiness.
This is one of our government-led and private sector supported projects,” he told the people.
Iseyin is the gateway to Oke Ogun. Governor Makinde entered the town a winner having broken the jinx of Moniya – Iseyin road, which is the major road that links Oke Ogun with Ibadan, the state capital. Before his coming into the governance of the state, that road had completely collapsed. The APC regime that preceded Makinde’s government awarded the contract but did nothing on it. Makinde came, revoked the contract and re-awarded it to a credible contractor who stuck to the marching order to deliver a quality, Grade A road. Makinde got the applause in Iseyin during the week. The people are with him because he did not betray their trust. He also commissioned St Paul Primary School.
Okutapemo, Iseyin. This is one of the 26 model schools completed by his administration under the FGN-UBEC/Oyo SUBEB intervention projects in the past year. Makinde promised that his government would “continue to prioritise access to quality education in Oyo State. We want all our children to be in school. We want them to have access to quality education. That is why we are not just constructing/renovating buildings; the classes are equipped with furniture and we even go a step further to provide our children with textbooks and notebooks.”
He has vowed to continue to inaugurate projects till December as his own patriotic way of telling the opposition that he is different from them in seriousness and Godliness. He said his second-year anniversary “is an opportunity to present our midterm scorecard. My team has tracked our campaign promises against our manifesto – Roadmap to Accelerated Development in Oyo State 2019-2023 to see how we are faring. Our goal is to continue to fulfill the promises we made to our people in Oyo State since that is the basis upon which they gave us their mandate.” His enemies sure have a war to lose fighting him.
•Oludire is an Ibadan-based freelance journalist
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