It’s that time of a four-year cycle, when all sorts of characters put themselves forward to contest elections. But for me, ‘it’s GSM o’clock,’ because the March 2023 governorship election in Oyo State presents an opportunity for residents of Oyo State to deliver a verdict on Governor Seyi Makinde, fondly regarded as GSM, following his first four years of eventful and people-oriented leadership.
In clear and unmistakable terms, the 2023 governorship election presents a golden opportunity for residents of Oyo State to cement the state’s place in history by joining hands and legs in a forward march with GSM rather than succumbing to savoury but shallow words of experimental candidates across different other parties. GSM presents the best opportunity for the state to solidify its economic ascendancy among states in the country.
In three years and seven months, Governor Makinde has gone about delivering on his electioneering promises as contained in his Oyo State Roadmap for Accelerated Development, 2019-2023, garnering precious knowledge through different experiences and learning the hard lessons about how best to govern Oyo State.
Now, it’s about three months to the next election and the opposition governorship candidates have been, and will become more vociferous in attacking Makinde. Mind you, they have not and they will not do much in articulating what they have in stock for Oyo State like Makinde has done and is still doing, because they do not have anything tangible to offer, but they will use all tricks in and outside the books to swindle the people of Oyo State into electing them. Here are 12 reasons why you should not listen to them!
GSM’s experience vs other candidates’ experiment
In 2019, opposition politicians accused Makinde of lacking leadership experience, but despite that perceived inexperience, he has done so much in three years, now imagine the endless possibilities if he could do more, armed with the first-hand knowledge and experiences he has gained with projects and policies that succeed and those that stuttered? It is now time to allow him to exploit such lessons and knowledge, which only experience can bring, to further develop Oyo State.
GSM’s pure intentions
Like the India Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, said that “mere good governance is not enough; it has to be pro-people and pro-active. Good governance is putting people at the centre of the development process,” Governor Makinde has run a government that places Oyo State people first, insisting from the outset that his pact with the people would be honoured unto the last day of his tenure.
GSM and the achievements that speak
For a man who proudly says that his administration would be run with science, data and logic, and that residents of the state would derive value from governance, the immense results of good governance and positive leadership are, today, spread across all sectors in Oyo State. These results through projects, programmes and sound policies, like the res in a legal matter, speak for themselves and residents of Oyo State should see them and hear clearly and in return vote for more with GSM, who is taking the state enroute to the Promised Land, rather than returning to Egypt with ‘wannabes and ideas-only’ governorship candidates in other parties.
Infrastructure that targets the economy
Before you are swayed by the rising decibel of the noises or the sugar-coated idealistic grandstanding at town hall meetings, of some of the governorship candidates, kindly ask them if they have a good understanding of Oyo State, how things were before Makinde took over and how they are now. They will babble, they will evade direct answers and return straight to bashing Makinde, and then they will promise to build castles in the air. As the saying goes, Agbara ojo o so pe oun o ni wo ile, onile ni o nii gba fun, residents of Oyo State must be decisive in choosing to march forward with sustainable development, which GSM represents and below are the reasons they must make that decision in the interest of Oyo State.
When next they ask you what GSM has done, do be kind to ask them what did GSM promise? At the inception of the administration, Governor Makinde made a commitment to build infrastructure that targets the economic expansion agenda of the state. Today, there are empirical facts to back the success of that commitment. The ongoing 76-kilometre Ogbomoso-Iseyin Road started by this administration has attracted the Brent Sugar Plantation and Factory, a multi-billion Naira project. The ongoing construction of Oyo-Iseyin Road and the upgrade of Fashola Farm Settlement to an Agribusiness Hub have attracted Friesland WAMCO, a major milk producer. The ongoing moves to interconnect all zones of Oyo State through infrastructure, is a big plus to Psaltery International’s Sorbitol Plant, which is the second of its kind in the world.
GSM’s infrastructure drive that leaves no zone behind
Unlike other candidates, who have no idea about the vast nature of Oyo State and would sit in small corners of Kobiowu Estate or Idi Ishin to make grandiose plans that cannot be implemented, even promising to build a super highway connecting Oyo State to heaven, Makinde has traversed and collated the infrastructure needs of the state. And steadily, he has been reducing the deficit since taking the reins of office. The 65-kilometre Moniya-Iseyin Road; the completed Idi Ape-Basorun-Akobo Road with the new General Gas Flyover, the ongoing Saki-Ogbooro-Igboho Road; the ongoing first phase of Ibadan Circular Road; the 12 kilometres Apata-Benbo-Jankata Road; the Apete-Awotan-Akufo Road; Eruwa-Lanlate-Maya Road are all evidences of how GSM has surpassed previous governments in terms of infrastructure development.
How Oyo joined the economic big boys
Three years and seven months down the line, the economy of Oyo State has grown in leaps and bounds, rubbing shoulders with states that used to be seen as ‘uncatchable’ due to the immensity of their economic exploits. Today, not only has Governor Makinde grown the Oyo State’s IGR from N1.6 billion he inherited in 2019 to about N3.5 billion, Oyo is among states with the highest IGRs in the country and this has also reflected in the lives of its people. Beginning from the regular, covenanted 25th of every month salary and pensions date through which around N11 billion to N13 billion enter the economy of the state monthly, to the deliberately steps taken in the infrastructure and agribusiness sectors to drive the economic rejuvenation of the state, GSM has steadily taken Oyo State from poverty to prosperity. On March 11, 2023, Oyo State residents must refuse to allow anyone take them back to squalor and in taking that decision, a vote for GSM is the deal.
Education and Oyo’s return to pace-setter status
Oyo State has made a success of its commitment to regain its glorious status as the education centre of the nation. A passionate revival in the education sector started on the podium at Liberty Stadium, Ibadan, with the announcement of free qualitative education, reached a zenith last week with the approval of the upgrade of Emmanuel Alayande College of Education, Oyo to a degree-awarding institution. This came on the heels of the state securing the sole ownership of the Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, Ogbomoso and conversion of the same to a conventional university. But then, that’s just the tertiary sector, in the primary and post-primary education sector, the governor has changed the game with the building of hundreds of education infrastructure, including 56 Model Schools, renovation over hundreds of classrooms and most importantly the recruitment, training and retraining of teachers.
GSM’s giant strides in Primary Health Care Delivery
Upon his assumption of office, the governor promised to ensure that at least one standard primary health care centre exists in each of the 351 Wards of the state. In four years, over 200 of such facilities have been completed, equipped with boreholes and generating sets. If they pester you, kindly ask the experimental candidates from the All Progressives Congress and Accord Party what had been happening at PHCs before Makinde came on board. Do also ask them if they have visited their local governments to know what used to obtain at those PHCs four, seven years ago.
GSM’s promises made, promises kept to civil servants/pensioners
A wise man once said that people-centric leadership that places people’s happiness first should be the aspiration of any public office holder; this is an advice that drives Governor Makinde. But the mentor and role model of those seeking to unseat Makinde lacks the milk of human kindness and would have nothing of aspiring to bring happiness to workers, especially pensioners. Owu ti iya gbon ni omo o ran, as the Yoruba will say, meaning that one is bound to follow the example of one’s role model. The two individuals seeking to unseat Makinde were in the APC and served under a governor that once described pensioners as the dead, who should not expect their due wages and gratuities because the living had not been paid. So, whenever anyone comes to you to speak against Makinde, who has demonstrated immense commitment to workers’ and pensioners’ welfare through prompt payment of salaries and pensions and the gradual offsetting of gratuity arrears owed more than seven years before he took office as governor, ask them if they could denounce their political father, mentor and benefactor, who hated pensioners and owed gratuities.
GSM’s massive investments in Security
If they ask you what is another reason to re-elect GSM, tell them his commitment to securing lives and properties in the state. In the face of overwhelming national insecurity challenges, Oyo State has remained relatively peaceful and secured due to the massive investments in the security sector embarked upon by the Makinde government. From procurement of vehicles to other security equipment as well as the establishment and staffing of the Oyo State Security Network codenamed Amotekun, Governor Makinde has made a conscious commitment to securing his people.
Sadly, those seeking to unseat him can only talk about ideas, Makinde has been there; he has seen it all and he can better secure the state as he has done in the last few years. Agba to ba mo oju ogun nii pa obi n’Ire, we cannot entrust Oyo State into the hands of theorists like Adelabu and Folarin!
GSM’s humble and honest leadership
One thing has made Makinde stand out among governors Oyo State has had in recent time; honesty and humility in leadership. For so long, opposition elements misjudged GSM’s honest and responsible leadership for a weakness, chastising him for moments when allows superior arguments to prevail in the administration of the state. But then, that is a mark of a leadership that is different from the loquacious and arrogant executives Oyo State has had in the not-too-distant past. Now, Oyo State people must show the Omoluabi instinct by choosing humility over reckless arrogance, which those purporting to be better than Makinde have demonstrated. A proud and inaccessible Minister, House of Assembly, Senator or professional cannot make a good governor, a word is enough for the wise!
With GSM, forward ever, backward never!
Asiwaju ni wa, asiwaju ni wa, ipo asiwaju l’Eledumare fun wa nípinle Oyo, is a song that rings through all state assignments, depicting Oyo’s penchant for progress. With Governor Makinde, Oyo State will continue to make that steady move to progress but that cannot be said of jokers and pretenders bestriding the length and breadth of the state today, pretending to know and care so much about the state, when in actual fact, it is all about business. For now, and for the uplift of Oyo State, a vote for GSM is a vote for continued growth and progress, irrespective of what politicians would like you to believe. Like the voice in the wilderness or a compass, pointing the way, I gladly recommend that Oyo State moves forward with GSM beyond 2023!
Alao is the Special Assistant (Print Media) to Governor Makinde