Taiwo Adisa is the Chief Press Secretary to Oyo State Governor, Engr. Seyi Makinde. In this interview with Kazeem Awojoodu, he highlighted the brighter chances of Governor Makinde if he eventually declares intention to go for second term in office.
Some have been saying that the body language of the governor shows that he wants to rerun come 2023, what is your take on this?
I don’t know the way to calculate the body language of the Governor and to read that he wants to do a second term but naturally, anybody that is voted into office, the law has already permitted that person to seek for the second term. So it is the constitutional right of whoever in office to seek for another term in office and after the second term, he cannot continue to be in that office again. So I don’t know what they mean by the body language of the governor.
Though the governor has said that the people of Oyo State will decide his fate as far as the second term is concerned. The second point is that the governor said that people have been calling on him to run for a second term and he has said that let us even do the third year and see what we have done so we can look back and say we have done well. Even his own wishes are subject to electoral act and as you can see that the new electoral act, signed by Mr. President mandated certain changes as to determine an election and INEC has come up with its own provisional timetable which means that the electioneering campaign has to start in earnest.
A lot of groups have shown interest that they want the governor to recontest. A lot of individuals within the party also want the governor to recontest. I’m not seeing him not yielding to those calls because even by the time we celebrated his second year in office, when we look at the four pillars of this administration, you see that he has done beyond the expectations of so many stakeholders.
Would you say the governor has done enough to seek a rerun, or can we leverage his achievements in office with a rerun come 2023?
Governor has surpassed the expectations of so many, he has surpassed the achievements of so many other previous administrations in different faces that you can isolate it. Is it in the area of infrastructure? You will see that he has done great and making sure that infrastructure is connected with the economic expansion project and you will see that in the area of health, he has also done very well by making sure that at least, 351 primary health care centers being reconstructed and redesigned in modern ways to make them functional at the electoral wards level and work is ongoing in the 351 electoral wards across the state.
When we talk about education, you see that he has raised his flagship in Oyo State. LAUTECH has been redeemed from its perpetual crisis not just the ownership crisis but also the perpetual crisis that affects the lives of the students. In the past, no students graduate from that school without spending a minimum of seven years for a five-year course, and some eight, while some spent nine or even 10 years as the case may be. People are not envious of being called students of that school, but right now the pride of being called the student or teacher of LAUTECH has come back and you can see that at the last JAMB, the students that applied are more than double of what we used to have. Initially, we were briefed that four to five thousand students used to apply to that school through JAMB process, but the last JAMB admission process, eleven thousand students applied. Now, the school is going to be turned around into a conventional university which the bill has already gone to House of Assembly which will now be called Ladoke Akintola University (LAU); just in the same vein as we have OAU, Obafemi Awolowo University, in Ile-Ife; just the way we have ABU in Zaria, which is Ahmadu Bello University. So the state government has decided that we should have LAU in Ogbomoso and the state House of Assembly is working on that and I think it will further strengthen the capacity of that school.
The development will also help Oyo State to attain human capacity development objectives, that is the area of education and we also have SUBEB doing very well in area of education. We have a number of schools coming up. You can see that a lot has already been done and you can see that more are still coming up and while the state is living up to expectations with the contribution of funding of UBEC at the Federal level, SUBEB is the one managing it at the state level.
In the area of security, the Governor is doing what he should to help the police and other security agencies of the Federal Government. Apart from that, they are also doing more by making sure that an Amotekun which is supporting the national policing system and also the local initiative of community policing initiative system at the local where people are voluntarily helping to provide a track up. Even by the second year anniversary, almost all the parameters are pointing to the fact that the governor is doing well in terms of delivery of services to the people. And if you are doing well in terms of service for the people, it naturally behooves on the people to say you should try to put your hats on the lane again, and let’s see what we challenge it.
So whether it is body language or not, the fact that the constitution allows him to seek for the second term in office, I don’t see him not taking the opportunity.
What is the governor doing to assist the victim of EndSars especially the family of the slain officers?
If you were at the Executive Chamber on the day the governor received the report of the state EndSars panel, those issues came up and the governor clearly addressed it. He came up and promised that the state government will rebuild those police stations that were burnt by mobs during the protest. So there is a commitment from the state government to rebuild those stations and efforts are ongoing in conjunction with the State Police Command to make sure that those police stations are rebuilt.
As for those officers that suffered an injury and for some that unfortunately died, the Governor asked the panel to look into the case and the panel reported that not many of the families of the police came up before the panel to give details of what really transpired and all that, so the Governor has already given a directive that the panel should do addendum as to getting a report of every policemen and women that are affected in making sure that their recommendations are to take care of them in moving forward, so I believe that it is being taken care because I believe the panel will report back to the governor and the needful will be done as regards the welfare of the family of the bereaved.
What about the provision of infrastructure to aid free education schemes in the state?
A lot of activities are ongoing in that sector. Education is one of the four cardinal areas that the government isolated in service delivery. We have health, education, security and economic expansion, so education is key to the survival of the people especially in this world because if you want to lift people out of poverty, you have to give them education. Education will bring freedom of individual choice and make sure that you are able to dine with kings and rulers of today’s world.
A number of furniture have been delivered into our schools so whichever school that is yet to receive its own furniture should have patience. Their furniture is on the way. I must also tell you that the fact that we still have enormous numbers of schools without furniture, that students are still seating on the floor. It indicates the level of decay that must have eaten deep into the educational sector of the state before this administration came on board.
It’s unthinkable for a state like Oyo where free education was a star. When PDP was in power even in the first and second republic, free education was in place in this part of the country and to now see that that particular sector has now degenerated to this level of finding students in the classrooms without chairs, having to see children on the bare floor, having to compel children to bring their chairs from home. This tells you simply that some governors in the past have allowed the sector to decay and the decay is what we are trying to fix till today.
Can we say the governor has done enough in terms of the healthcare delivery system for all and sundry in the state?
The problem we inherited has to do with decaying health infrastructure where all the primary health care centers existing across the state have collapsed. None of them was rendering any kind of service as at the 2019 when this government came on board. And if you want to do over 600 of them, you are going to be committing huge funds to make them available and effective and that is why the government thought of a way out. The easy way out is the alternative project funding approach that will take care of all those primary health care centers and in the first week of commencement of the work by the company, 299 of all those primary health centers were taken care of, the remaining 61 being done by the ministry are almost done, as they are speeding up activities on it. If you go round the wards of the state, you will see that work is ongoing, some are completed.
Renovation, redesigning and remodeling of the primary health centers, instead of having over six hundred that will not work, we have one per ward which sum up to 351. At least within a ward if people can identify with a primary care center that is going to be functioning optimally, it will relieve the secondary and tertiary institutions of minor health issues, and I think that will help greatly. In that wise, it’s advancing the cause of health in the state. That’s what the government is striving at.
The government realised that it will be better to make health care facilities better at the grassroots because you cannot compare the distance of a ward to UCH where you expect somebody from Sepeteri to come to UCH for minor health issues, and the problem will start from how to even transport such person from that far community to the state Capital. I think the government is doing well in the area of health service delivery by providing infrastructure to the health sector.
How sustainable is light up Oyo project and what are its direct and indirect benefits to residents of the state?
Light Up Oyo is of multi-dimensional advantage because it will help in the economic sector and it will also help in the security sector.
In terms of security, we are making sure that light comes up on a daily basis so that people can move freely at night, they can see who’s coming, who’s ahead of them in two hundred meters, three hundred meters and even in some cases five hundred meters. It helps in policing of the state, it helps in the security situation of the state. It also helps in our nightlives.