Temidayo Akinsuyi, Lagos
Since assumption of office in May 2019, Governor Seyi Makinde has left no one in doubt that indeed, he is a professional in politics whose interest in politics is to offer selfless service for the state widely regarded as the ‘Pace Setter’ state. Though a member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the governor has won the admiration of many including members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) with his style of governance. It has indeed become a global knowledge that the governor has become a reference point for governance not just in the South West but across Nigeria.
Makinde’s election as the governor of Oyo state can be attributed to divine providence. First, internal wrangling within the then ruling party in the state played a huge role in his success. His predecessor, Senator Abiola Ajimobi, a man who paraded himself as a little tin god had offended many people in the state through his caustic tongue and unpopular policies.
The situation was further compounded by the crisis between him and Adebayo Shittu, the immediate past Minister of Communications who was hell-bent on succeeding Ajimobi. After being disqualified from participating in the governorship primary by the Adams Oshiomhole-led NWC, Shittu and his supporters decided to work against the party’s interests and this helped Makinde’s chances to a great deal.
Also, for the first time in the history of the state, some coalition of forces who are fed up with Ajimobi’s leadership style and believed that Makinde has a lot to offer the state decided to collapse their political structures for him. Notable politicians like Senator Rashidi Ladoja, a key player in Ibadan politics, Sharafadeen Ali of the Zenith Labour Party (ZLP), Senator Olufemi Lanlehin of the African Democratic Congress (ADC) and Bolaji Ayorinde of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) all threw their weight behind Makinde . He also got the endorsement of the state chairman of the Alliance for Democracy (AD), Akin Fasogbon.
Determined to hit the ground running, the governor has launched the four key pillars of his administration including Education, Health, Economy, and Security, hitting peak achievements on all fronts. From basic welfare of the workers and pensioners; to cancellation of N3, 000 education levy and the fees for entrance forms into Junior secondary and Technical colleges; to payment of gratuities to retirees from 2010; approval of car and housing loans for workers; payment of workers’ salaries not exceeding the 25th of every month and foundational flag-off of landmark projects at the Health and Education fronts.
One notable feature that distinguished Makinde apart from other governors is the issue of appointments of professionals who have distinguished themselves in their various fields to come and join hands with him in taking the state to the next level. In fact, the governor publicly admitted that he had to go to some of these individuals and beg them to come and serve in his government, without asking them about their political leanings. Some of these appointees are Fatai Owoseni, former Commissioner of Police in Lagos and Benue States, who was appointed by the Governor as his Special Adviser on Security Matters.
Others include Prof. Oyelowo Oyewo, a former Dean Of the University of Lagos Law Faculty who is currently the Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice in the State. He also appointed Taiwo Adisa, a former Group Politics Editor of Tribune newspapers, who had also served as Special Assistant (Media Relations) to former President of the Senate, Senator Adolphus Wabara between 2003 and May 2005 as his Chief Press Secretary (CPS). Also worthy of mention is the appointment of Jide Ajani, former Sunday Editor of Vanguard newspapers as the Special Adviser on Media.
Speaking on his mission and vision for the people of the state, Makinde said “My vision is to make Oyo State the fastest growing economy in Nigeria. To achieve this end, we have to create an enabling environment for businesses to thrive. That is why one of the two Executive Bills we have so far, transmitted to the Oyo State House of Assembly is the Oyo State Investment Promotion Agency Bill. The bill is to initiate, promote and facilitate investments in the state”.
Affirming that his sole aim of seeking political power is to serve the people, he said “My life is a long-distance race. I run, mostly no for fame or fortune but for a cause. I know this concept might be alien to a lot of people. In my over five decades on earth, I have met many people whose only goal in life is to become wealthy and famous. I have also seen how unhappy some of them have turned out to be.”
“I am a marathoner, physically and metaphorically. With every sense of modesty, I admit that many consider me a traiIbIazer who is inspiring a new generation of Oyo people to aspire to a life beyond their present realities.
“People often ask me what drives my personal, professional and political passions. What keeps me running? I hope I have shown over time that my ultimate goal is to serve humanity with all the resources God has endowed me. Service to humanity is the number one driving force in my life. I firmly believe in the adage which says that when a man sends a gift to the market, the market will reward him with a gift in return.”
The Governor further declares that his believe in generosity and philanthropy derives from innate attributes that ensure he sees life as an avenue to help others live.
He stated: “My life values of philanthropy and generosity are evident to everyone. I have always been a great ambassador of myseIf, my family and my Oyo State. There is the likelihood that I will be spoken of glowingly even by my political opponents, a testament to my character and Values.
“I know the reputation that politicians have earned in Nigeria. I make bold to say that I am not your typical Nigerian politician. My political career has not been (and I promise that I will not be) tainted by thuggery or financial malfeasance. I come with my vaIues.
“Philosophers have long postulated about life and what gives life meaning. For me, the joy of living, what gives my life direction and drives my passions, is not accumulating material wealth but the giving to the people that I Love and care about, the experiences that having wealth often facilitates.”
“My vision of the future of Oyo State starts and ends with people. We will have a State that provides the right services through the right channels and at the right time.
“We will make the effort to identify succinctly the needs and wants of our people and employ evidence to deliver better outcomes. As some experts claim, if states responding to citizens’ needs was the old standard, our new operational philosophy will be to anticipate.
“Our future in Oyo State is now. We will have a Government that is accountable, transparent, productive, effective and efficient. We will move from “sick care” to the wellness of our people- through acute forces on education, health and economic posterity-so we can achieve live changing outcomes.”