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In few days to come, the Governor Seyi Makinde administration in Oyo State will be two years old. Even though the administration has yet to make the Pace Setter state an Eldorado, it will be denying the obvious to say that the state has not made some progress in critical areas of social and infrastructure uplift.
In governing Oyo State, Makinde has refused to lend himself to the combustion of politicking that normally defines the first tenure of governors of the state. Rather, he chooses to focus on the elementary concern of his job, which is to provide good governance for the people of the state. His approach to cast his focus on governance than politics naturally drew the ire of the political class both within the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP and the motley of opposition parties in Oyo State. But with an unwavering determination, the governor is able to keep his ship steady on sail in spite of the headwind from the politicians.
In keeping faith with his position of standing on the side of the people, the Makinde administration took off with a flamboyant campaign of commiting massive investments in the public education sector. The immediate relief that the policy brought to the people was the nullification of tuition fees that was mandatory during the tenure of his predecessor. The policy also brought the added benefit of providing textbooks, note books and compendium of question and answers on past examinations to students across the state free of charges. The Makinde free education policy is similar in scope and character only in comparison with the Bola Ige free education policy in the old Oyo State and the Obafemi Awolowo’s similar policy launched in the Western Region in the1950s.
The emblematic feature of the Makinde administration’s investment in physical infrastructure is the requirement of top of the world quality and nowhere else is this feature more manifest than the public road construction projects. From the Apete-Awotan-Akufo concrete road project, to the 65km Moniya-Iseyin road, the 21km Ajia-Airport road and other numerous large-scale infrastructural projects all over Oyo State, the Makinde government is breaking new grounds by linking more communities and reducing the stress of residents of the state. Development experts are in agreement that the potential of improving the political economy of any given society is significantly connected with the traffic velocity that can be attracted to the particular destination. The most remarkable reward that has come to Oyo State with the heavy investment on physical infrastructure is the inflow into Ibadan lately, of investors who target the agro-allied potentials in the Oke-Ogun area of the state-a direct result of the newly constructed Moniya-Iseyin road.
The access road from Moniya in Ibadan linking the state capital with farm settlements in Oke-Ogun as well as the Solid Mineral base of that region is Makinde’s innovation in opening up the economy of the hinterlands. It’s a perfect case of linking infrastructure works directly to economic expansion purview of an administration.
The Iwo Road, Challenge and Ojoor inter-changes are projects that will clearly revolutionize service delivery in the transport sector, while positively midwifing the way goods and services come in and out of Ibadan with ease and also improve economic fortunes of the state accordingly.
Little wonders, then, that the state government was been able to expand the Internally Generated Revenue by a quantum of 26.5 per cent in the heat of the COVID-19 pandemic and overall by 42 per cent in 2020.
The newest amongst the signature projects of the Makinde administration is the Light Up Oyo State Project which seeks to replace and install street lights in all major and inner city roads across the state. A frequent traveler to Oyo State would tell how beautiful Ibadan looks at nights in recent time with ornaments of solar powered street lights.
Apart from giving a fitting aesthetics to the landscape of the city, the street light project also enhances the security of lives and property in the state. Despite initial skirmishes which tempted to dim the profile of the government in the area of security, the Makinde administration rose up to the task by first, dousing all inter-ethnic communal flashpoints, commissioning an inter-faith and communal dialogue roundtables where leaders of two main religions and community leaders could converse to reach a common ground in preaching peace to their congregations.
Apart from the social therapy to the problem of insecurity, the purchase of patrol vehicles for security outfits and agencies and the CCTV coverage of critical areas of the state has improved the density, mobility and effectiveness of security personnel across the state. Added to that is the launch of the Amotekun Corps, a South Western initiative to curb insecurity.
The reward for these investments in the security sector is paying off with Oyo State being out of the news among the states in Nigeria that have serious security challenges.
With just two years in the saddle, Governor Makinde has upped the bar of governance in Oyo State and in doing that he has demonstrated his commitment to the service of the people of the state. It is hoped that the next two years will come with even greater records of achievements in good governance.
Dr. Adegoke is Publicity Secretary, Ibadan Advancement Group (IAG)