Fulfilling campaign promises

Campaign slogans have become a staple of democratic practice world over. Democracy requires that aspirants for various elective positions sell their candidacy to the people, obtain their trust and acceptance, then translate this trust and acceptance into votes on election day. Therefore, aspirants and their political parties draw up their campaign plans and create opportunities to communicate with the voting public. But with so many aspirants trying to reach the same set of people, slogans have become a vital way of distinguishing candidates jostling for attention. Hence, the importance of a catchy and effective slogan.

An effective slogan will sum up a candidate’s pitch to his electorate in a few words and be powerful enough to cut through the endless onslaught of information that bombards them to secure their votes. The chosen slogan must also cast the candidate as someone who understands his constituency’s woes and can guide his people through them. Omi Titun, Igba Otun, the chosen slogan of Engr Seyi Makinde for the gubernatorial election of March 9th, 2019 hits the mark on both counts.

‘Omi Titun, Igba Otun’ which can be translated in English Language into ‘Fresh Water, Renewed Time’ is apt on many levels. First and foremost, this slogan is relevant to all because everybody uses water and everyone can understand the difference between clean water and dirty water. Like Fela Anikulapo-Kuti sang, water has no enemies.

The phrase, ‘Omi Titun’ or ‘Fresh Water’ also personifies Engr Seyi Makinde, a candidate who was fresh off the blocks, had never held an elective position and is untainted by all the dirt and mud that are around an average Nigerian politician.

On another level, ‘Fresh Water’ promises a candidate with fresh ideas, new innovative and vigorous approaches to challenges and a departure from the ineffective circular reasoning of attenuated politicians. Finally, ‘Igba Otun’ or ‘Renewed Time’ holds forth the promise that Oyo State can experience a release from the arrogance and the high-handedness of the so-called progressives who had as at that time been in power in Oyo State for eight straight years, 2011 to 2019.

In choosing the slogan, Engr Seyi Makinde was promising a great deal, because the rot in governance had set so deep. Government and governance had become so opaque making it the exclusive preserve of a few in the corridors of power. There was an atmosphere of arrogance and impunity, illustrated by the riding rough-shod over everyone. Laudable projects of previous administrations were summarily abandoned and ignored outright out of political spite. Civil servants and organised labour being owed salaries had to take it or lump it! Students of Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, LAUTECH whose school had been closed had to be schooled about who the Constituted Authority was! Even the much revered traditional institutions and the process of ascending the Olubadan throne was not spared. By the end of the eight inversely progressive years, Oyo State was owing N99 Billion and foreign debt was 137 million dollars, despite the fact that the pre-2011 government of Governor Alao-Akala left N4.8 Billions in the coffers. And yet there were no significant improvement in education and primary health care deliveries. In fact, Oyo State’s position on the national education result charts dropped. The menace of One Million Boys reared its ugly head and became a constant challenge alongside clashes by rival factions of transport unions. To go ahead and promise, ‘Fresh Water’ and ‘Renewed Time’ against this background required great vision and courage by Engr Seyi Makinde.

But of course, talk is cheap! Anybody can promise anything. Indeed, anybody can formulate a lofty and catchy slogan to deceive the people and come into power knowing by the time the people find out that he was lying, it will be too late. Today, Nigerians are rueing the day they bought into the APC’s “Change” slogan because the change had been revealed to be not a change for the better but a change for the worse! Nigerians can’t wait until 2023 for the opportunity to, “Change The Change”.

On the other hand, the good people of Oyo State got it right with Seyi Makinde and the PDP. It takes a true democrat with a heart to serve the people to follow through on his campaign promises encapsulated in the ‘Omi Titun, Igba Otun’ mantra like he is doing. The fresh water of his humane and people oriented administration is flowing and renewing the time in all the facets of life in Oyo State. Now the common man on the streets in Oyo State has a government he can identify with. It started with the declaration of his assets, which was a campaign promise kept. He then went ahead, not minding the deriding epithet, ‘commissioning other people’s projects’ given to him by those enemies of progress in the opposition, to keep his promise of continuity in governance, extracting value for Oyo State’s money from the projects the previous administrations started by completing those projects and commissioning them. Civil servants and organised labour are being promptly paid as at when due without labour disputes. LAUTECH students are rejoicing over the resolution of the joint ownership crisis that had stalled their academics. Governor Seyi Makinde kept another campaign promise in the acquisition of the sole ownership of LAUTECH by Oyo State. He also restored 100% subvention to the institution. Elsewhere, the respect and reverence that befit the traditional institutions are being accorded them and the drive to diversify the Oyo State economy towards weaning it off dependence on federal allocation is in full gear. Gov Seyi Makinde while acknowledging the necessity of borrowing, espouses the understanding that borrowing should be done in such a way that it will be convenient to pay back and not to leave the cross for the upcoming governments to bear.

On primary health care delivery, every single one of the 351 wards in all the local government areas in Oyo State has been tapped to have at least one functional, state-of-the-art primary health care centre. Free education in primary and secondary schools had been restored and but for the resurgence of street crimes occasioned by the aftermath of the ENDSARS protests, street crime rate and gang activities had significantly dropped.

Beyond mere talk and catchy slogan, the promise of ‘Omi Titun, Igba Otun’ is being delivered. Engr Seyi Makinde, a rare breed politician keeps his word and fulfills his promises.

Oladipo sent this piece through

bunmidipo@gmail.com

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