By OLUSESAN LAOYE
There is no doubt in the minds of Nigerians and the people of Oyo State why Governor Seyi Makinde is regarded as one of the most outstanding governors in the country.
This explained the reason he was recently named among the best three out of his counterparts, as he trailed behind the Borno State Govenor Babagana Zulum and Babajide Sanwoolu of Lagos State. Though he is regarded as an energetic, vibrant and intelligent man, there is no doubt also that he has his issues.
Since he came to power despite the peculiar nature of Oyo state and the stigma that the state is difficult to govern due to the highly sensitive and concentrated nature of its politics Governor Makinde has been managing to cope and endearing himself to the people.
Since the current democracy, he is the 5th governor and apparently the youngest. He took over the mantle of leadership from late Senator Isiaka Abiola Ajimobi, who was the first to break the jinx of “no one rules the state twice”, having secured a second term.
Like every state, Oyo state has three Senatorial Districts in which Ibadan tactically accepted to team up with Ibarapa to dominate them because some substantial part of Ibadan is included in the Oyo South Senatorial District which makes Ibarapa a minority in Oyo South. With this, Ibadan seemingly controls two Senatorial zones of Oyo South and Central, leaving the North Senatorial to three powerful areas of Oyo Township, Ogbomoso and the entire Okeogun.
This Senatorial arrangement has always made Oyo a complex and controversial state to govern and anyone who governs the State must be seen to satisfy all, especially Oyo and Ogbomoso which are the two powerful blocks in Oyo state.
Oyo commands the respect of the Alaafin while Ogbomoso has what is advantageous to it, as they always elections come with one voice and bulk votes.
Hence nobody in government can ignore them because despite the population and that of Ibadan no election result is announced before Ogbomoso comes in, as a loser can easily become a winner when the bulk votes of Ogbomoso comes and this has happened on different occasions.
Oke Ogun is regarded as a weeping zone but always stands to checkmate Ibadan, Oyo and Ogbomoso, as the zone always stands as a spoiler and that is the reason why deputy governors always come from there, whenever Ibadan produces the governor.
With this analysis, it means that whoever wants to rule Oyo must come out with projects which are most needed by the zones and make sure they are implemented. Failures of some governors who have ruled in the state were hinged on inability to fulfill promises.
From the observations so far, Makinde has been able to spread developments into all the zones through infrastructures sited in them. He won the hearts of the people on the day he was sworn into office at the Liberty Stadium Ibadan when he rolled out his policies and dared some of the untouchables.
For the first time in the history of Oyo State, he did what people thought was not possible when he surprised them by proscribing the powerful National Union of the Road Transport Workers which had traumatized the state..
The Union has always been in factions. The faction that supported him believing it was its turn to fight the other splinter group and reap the benefits of its support for Makinde went home disappointed.
This impressed the populace who had for years of politics been victims of the outrageous behaviours of these Union men, who were always either engaged in clashes that would lead to destructions of lives and property, they or available as instrument of political violence during elections and even to torment opponents of whoever is in power.
Other policy pronouncements by Makinde on his inauguration, include cancellations of school fees and all forms of levies in both secondary and primary schools, dissolution of the Local government elected executives during his predecessor and others actions which got him the accolade of a good starter who is determined to serve the people.
One would say he began his campaign policy and his roadmap for Education, Sustainable Health programmes, expansion of the economy of the state where there is comparative advantage in the areas of agriculture that transforms to agric business and security right at the Liberty Stadium.
Makinde, with the fact known to him, that if he needed a second term which has always been the norm for governors and presidents in Nigeria, performance is critical and he did not actually toy with that, hence the immediate implementations of his cardinal programmes
On education, he earmarked 22 % of the budget to the it in the budget in 2020 with over N526 million grant to all primary and secondary school which accommodated free text books and others facilities in schools.
He also made sure that he ended the imbroglio over Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH) in Ogbomòso which now becomes that of the Oyo State, built and rehabilitate 26 model schools under the Federal /UBEC/OYO SUBEB intervention project.
Some of the things which Makinde did to mark his second year in office include the empowering over 1,300 women on entrepreneurs benefit under a French government sponsored programme leveraging Nigeria’s business sector.
Also the Agribusiness Development Agency has a processing plant now at Ilora with the capacity of 20 tonnes of cassava tubers for processing daily and serve as major processing centre for small holder farmers.
He also for his second year, inspected the 3km road under the G Stadium, LAUTECH second gate road reconstructed. He also did the Iseyin Oyo road to be constructed to Ogbomoso.
He has flagged off Saki 45.3km road that leads to Ogbooro, Igboho for N8.7bn under the Alternative project funding approach and reconstruction of Saki to Oyo State Agribusiness Development Agency OYSADA headquarters.
He launched the Youth Entrepreneurship in Agribusiness (YEP) that would train over I, 00 youths in Agribusinesses
Also Iseyin road that linked Oke Ogun which was awarded by his predecessor, Ajimobi but nothing was done before he çame into office. He revoked the contract and gave it to a credible contractor that now makes it a grade “A road”
Makinde has been making efforts to develop the tourism potentials and Solid Mineral of the state.
He said that Lithium of high grade of 75%has been discovered instead of the 40% grade in quality being demanded all over the world. His government has embarked on the irrigation project with Okere George dam.
There has been lighting of the street project with LED technology to ensure adequate security at night and for business to strive also at night.
With all these achievements by Makinde, one would have thought that all is well but in the last few months, he has been in the eyes of the storm over issues which pose challenges and also have suddenly increased opposition against with people casting aspersions on his government.
The major one which he is yet to come out of is that of insecurity over the invasion of some areas by bandits and the activities of the Fulani herdsmen, who have been terrorising the state, especially the people of Oke Ogun and Ibarapa who are agrarians.
Fulani herdsmen have so much terrorised them, a situation which made the people to call for self help when they believed that the government of Makinde was not capable of defending them.
This brought about the advent of Sunday Adeyemo aka Sunday Igboho who drove the key Fulani suspected to be major players in kidnappings, rape and other atrocities being committed especially, in Ibarapa axis of Oyo state.
What made people of the State angry with Makinde was his statement when Sunday Igboho gave the Fulani ultimatum. Governor Makinde had condemned the action saying it was not right for an individual to infringe on the fundamental rights of other citizens.
This came as a rude shock to the people of the states and it drastically brought down his rating among the people, who felt he was on the side of the Fulani Jihadist.
He got a lot of criticism at home and outside the State, especially in the entire South West. After realizing the damage which the statement caused, he had to embark on fence mending. But he was still on this when the Fulani struck at Igangan again, killing about 50 people, destroyed the palace of the monarch and wreck real havoc on the town.
This marked a turning point for the governor who knew that the people were no more with him and as a leader he owned up to take the blame and asked the people to forgive him, promising that such would not occur again.
But a week after the Igangan incident, there were two clashes between the members of the NURTW and the park managers which he employed to take over the functions of the union.
Lives were also lost in the fracas.
With this, it was obvious that Makinde is facing a lot of security challenges which he admitted.
He had said during his media chat on the occasion of his two years in office that one of his challenges is security but he was determined to tackle it once and for all.
He said what has compounded the security challenges being faced all over the country has been the kind of federalism we practice.
For example he said. “I signed the anti grazing law in Nov 2019 and we could not implement it, because the police controlled by the federal government were not ready to enforce it and not even willing at all watching the body language of the Inspector General of police in Abuja.
The other big challenge is the Amotekun operatives who could have enforced the order and were being prevented by the federal government. Therefore we now have Inter government and inter-Agency rivalry.”
Other issues which Makinde is facing include managing the members of the party. It was believed that since he assumed office his attitude towards the party members has not been cordial.
Mr. Segun Abidoye, a member of the opposition said that Makinde lacks public service experience and he is relying solely on his business experience to govern which is not enough
Also the Minister of Sports Mr. Sunday Dare condemned Makinde over his security issue and want him to find a lasting solution to the problem. He said the governor needs drastic measures and should prioritize security in Oyo State.
The chairman Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) Professor Adeolu Akande, who is also interested in the coming governorship race in Oyo State condemned the unfortunate incidence of crises and insecurity in Oyo State that has been daily claiming lives and properties and break down of law and order
“I am calling on Makinde to rise above his personal infinity with some individuals being fingered in the crises to get to the root of the matter. The governor needs to be firm”
Meanwhile his Press Secretary Taiwo Adisa has defended his boss over the allegation that Makinde has not been prudent with the resources of the State. Adisa said that Makinde has been the most prudent of all the governors in Oyo, saying that from the statistics available for everybody to see, from the Debt Management office (DMO), the state’s domestic debt reduced from N99.3bn inherited from the late governor Ajimobi’s government in 2019 to N91.9 bn
He said that the present government borrowed N24bn for infrastructure financing but only N18bn of the amount has so far been accessed.
“Ajimobi leftN99.9bn and foreign debt of 200illion U.S dollars” he argued.