OPINION: The Fourth Republic (1999) Governors and Posterity: The Stance of Governor Seyi Makinde
Democratic rule returned to Nigeria in 1999, the political class and power brokers have continued to jostle for power in a manner that infuriates their subjects and nationals. Meanwhile many of them have read compendium of books and heard the stories that admonish the fact that earthly power and its enticement are not only transient but ephemeral yet, they have always appeared “intoxicated” with the vibe of dominion such that power is considered as their birthrights.
A tons of the politicians, who paraded headline news during their tenure; staging boisterous and a host of jamborees, carrying themselves as though the nation was on their palms, have today slid into inconsequence, oblivion, irrelevance and nothingness. The rhetorical question now is, have they retired to private life? Simply put, no!
However, the most annoying thing of it all is that, many of their successors or the current occupants of power have learnt nothing about the vanity of power and life generally. If they had been conscious of this, they probably would have been more reasonable in the business of governance and consider it a business unusual.
Generally in Nigeria, the battle for political office has always been fierce, irrespective of the clout that office whether national assembly, state parliament or the most exalted gubernatorial seat. Successive elections have hitherto been more tense, witty, sophisticated than what they were in 1999 when democracy was at its cradle. Owing to this, observers and political analysts have attributed the increasing quest by politicians to control power for their own egocentric ends, self aggrandizement and other forms of mere political sharing rather than service to humanity.
With respect to the demise of General Sani Abacha on June 8, 1998 and the eventual ascendance to the power stool by General Abdulsalami Abubakar, the return to a democratic government was made possible. As a result, the gubernatorial election that was held on February 27, 1999 across the 36 states of the federation which produced governors, many of whom have today slipped into political oblivion despite the fact that they were vocal, powerful and very influential while they were in power. These category of governors, since they left office, have not been able to win any other election particularly into the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria which appears to be the retirement abode of erstwhile governors.
A few of them who were appointed ministers served briefly and since then, nobody has heard anything about them, and the country moves on. As it is, some of them have either retreated from public life or are tackling the throes of ill-gotten wealth and the aftermath of their deeds and misdemeanors. Posterity would surely judge everyone. Oyo has had about four governors since the return of civil rule while their actions and inactions remain indelible in people’s mind. What would become of His Excellency, Governor Seyi Makinde after his probable eight years in office of two terms?
GSM in a class of his own. Fifteen months down the line, let us have a look at how far this administration has fared. Governor Seyi Makinde has kept the promise to finish what previous administrations left undone instead of selfishly starting new ones. He looked at the books and found projects from as far back as 2011.
Thus far, in the education sector, he has completed two hundred and thirty-nine projects awarded by the previous administration and sixty-eight awarded by our own administration and still counting. This year, he started about two hundred and thirty-six projects which are currently ongoing. These projects include construction of schools and classrooms, construction of Early Child Development centres, renovation of schools, installation of boreholes, supply of furniture and sports equipment and other procurements.
In the healthcare delivery, the governor, in a state-wide address aired on the Broadcasting Corporation of Oyo State (BCOS), said “in fact, instead of seeing COVID-19 as a setback, we chose to leverage it to improve our healthcare system. We also upgraded one of our facilities at Olodo to an Infectious Disease Research and Treatment Centre. Instead of spending money on temporary isolation centres that will serve little or no purpose outside the pandemic, we chose to do something permanent. “We have renovated and equipped General Hospitals and Primary Healthcare facilities. We also implemented a new funding structure for our Primary Healthcare system. The benefits of this new system will be evident in the coming months. Furthermore, we bought and kitted ambulances to improve our emergency operations”.
On the economy, Governor Makinde maintained that there had been incremental changes in the state’s Internally Generated Revenue (IGR), following the introduction of a new IGR framework in November 2019, noting that between December 2019 and February 2020, the state’s IGR figures had been between N2.43 Billion. and N2.7 Billion. In my own opinion, this is a work in progress, as I believe a lot still need to be done. Even though COVID-19 did not help the matter in any way yet, state can still leverage on the enabling environment being put up to encourage investors locally and globally.
On the infrastructure, Makinde has performed excellently well stating that “we have renovated and rehabilitated roads and started a Zero Pothole Policy for our roads, first in Ibadan, and this will be expanded to other towns. Moniya/Iseyin road, Ajia/Airport axis road ongoing, abandoned roads revisited, Remodeling of Adamasingba Stadium, Interchanges at Iwo Road and other center of Ibadan with the state of the art facilities, Light Up projects in Ibadan with the most recent in Ogbomosho and the associated project.
In Land and Housing, a digitised platform with georeferencing for electronic Certificate of Occupancy. One can now get C of O within 90 days of payment. He has improved in the area of ease of doing business and set up the Oyo State Agribusiness Development Agency to harness the state competitive advantage in agriculture.
In the area of security, Makinde’s administration is building a security architecture that the people of Oyo State would be proud of, explaining that aside working with federal security agencies by providing equipment and vehicles, the signing of the Oyo State Security Network Agency (Amotekun) Bill 2019/20 into law to complement the efforts of the federal security agencies are part of the administration’s innovations to ensure adequate security in Oyo State. He has commissioned a new mobile police force squadron, Mopol 72 at Ago-Are in Oke Ogun zone. GSM has provided vehicles and state-of-the-art communication equipment to facilitate their response to crime and also operationalised the Emergency Contact Number, 615.
In the area of workers welfare, many folks would not want to appreciate the timely payment of salaries as an achievement while I will celebrate it in this article compared to the bastardized staff compensation of the previous administration in the state and many state of the federation. GSM ensures prompt payment of salaries and pensions for civil and public servants on the 25th of every month and sometimes, earlier, as well as ensuring the payment of more outstanding gratuities for retired civil servants in the past one year than the previous administration paid in eight years. These funds that are constantly being injected into the state’s economy, thus benefiting both the formal and informal sectors.
Now in allusion to the caption, I am particularly interested in writing this piece because of the financial probity of this government. Makinde is damningly bold to declare his assets which is very uncommon of many political office holders. With the Oyo State Financial Crimes Commission Act 2019 in place, the citizens/residents can be assured of transparency and accountability in this administration’s transactions. I want to believe the future is not bleak nor blur for Makinde based on his sincerity of purpose, genuineness to serve mankind and admonition of zero tolerance for crimes. Politics aside, this man is a political enigma and has succeeded where his peers slumped.
Written by Olawale Aremu
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