How Makinde’s early life shaped him for leadership

ONE of Governor Seyi Makinde’s popular quotes is “My life is an adventure, and I continuously look forward to the next phase.” He was born on December 25, 1967 to the family of late Pa Olatubosun Makinde and Mrs Abigail Omojolagbe Makinde at Oluyoro Catholic Hospital, Ibadan. He hails from inner Ibadan. His family house is called Ile Aigbofa in Oja’ba. Like most people from Ibadan, his family has a family house in the city and another in the village. As a matter of fact, the Makinde family is originally from Ajia village (Ona-Ara Local Government Area) which is about seven kilometres from Ibadan. Like many Yoruba families from Ibadan, the family is religiously mixed. Governor Makinde came from a humble background. His parents had five children in all, he was the third and middle child. They moved from house to house within Ibadan at least four times while he lived with them before finally relocating to Lagos. His family literally worked their way out of financial difficulties and constraints through focus, industry and determination. His father, Pa Olatubosun valued education so much that he gave whatever it took for his children to attend the best schools.

He was closer to his immediate elder brother- Muyiwa who is currently a barrister-at-law; because of the age gap of just two years between them. He and Muyiwa both attended St. Paul primary school, Yemetu and later Bishop Philips Academy for their secondary education. His father Pa Olatubosun was born in the year 1936 and went to school in the late 1940s and early 1950s. After his West African School Certificate Examination, he completed the teacher’s training programme at St Luke’s Demonstration in Molete before becoming a primary school teacher. He then prepared for and passed his ‘O’ and ‘A’ levels. He wrote and passed the qualifying examination administered from the United Kingdom by studying via correspondence at Winston Hall, London. He passed his AIB exams, and switched to working in a bank, WEMA Bank.  His mother, Mrs Abigail Omojolagbe Makinde (nee Omoregie), is an indigene of both Edo and Ondo states. Her father was a Benin man who married an Akure princess. In those days, it was the princess who married the man and not the other way round. In other words, his mum’s father became an Akure person through marriage. Her career was mainly as a telephone operator with the then Western Region Government. She retired as a telephone operator with the Oyo State government.

Governor Makinde did his compulsory national youth service with Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) of Nigeria in 1990, where he was later engaged as a pupil engineer. He served in different capacities; handling and partaking in several key projects between 1990 and 1992. From 1992 to 1997, he moved to Rebold International Limited, where he worked as a field Engineer (Eket Operations).  He was later made the Field Manager of the company in 1995. In 1997, Makinde established his first business, Makon Engineering and Technical Services Limited (METS), after working for five years (1992-1997) as the engineering manager with various international oil and gas companies. He was the Group Managing Director of Makon Group of Companies until 2018. In 2007, Governor Seyi Makinde aspired to be a senator by contesting for the Oyo South Senatorial seat under the platform of the now defunct All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP), but lost to the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) candidate- Kamoru Adedibu.  He moved over to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the platform that produced the candidate that trounced him in the 2007 Senatorial election.

Governor Makinde remained unshaken and undeterred by his first failed attempt at the senatorial race and in 2010 under the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), he aspired for the Oyo South 2011 Senatorial seat, but lost the primary to the incumbent Oyo South Senator. After the succeeding election cycle, four years later, Gov Seyi Makinde decided to upscale his ambition, for inexplicable reasons and aimed for the Oyo State 2015 governorship ticket under the platform of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).  In December 2014, upon the conclusion of the party’s primary election, PDP found it hard to grant the freshman its governorship ticket and he was hence denied the nomination ticket.  Piqued by the unholy turn of events at the 2014 governorship primary, Governor Makinde however remained true to his ambition and defected to the Social Democratic Party (SDP) believing that instead of being stuck under the big umbrella, an elegant stallion was more than able to ferry him to Agodi, the seat of Oyo State Government House.

He contested under this platform for the Oyo State 2015 gubernatorial election, but lost out in the end.  Despite his loss, against the run of play, he garnered much experience in the power game, having crisscrossed three political tendencies in the state.  His determination to serve and fresh ideas for turning the fortunes of the state had begun to catch the attention of electorate. In September 2017, the Caretaker National Chairman of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Senator Ahmed Makarfi visited him in Ibadan and this caused a major turnaround, leading to Governor Makinde returning to his former political party, PDP.  He maintained that joining the PDP was for the development of the state by finding lasting solutions to the array of problems facing the state and not for personal gains.  On September 29, 2018, Governor Seyi Makinde emerged as the gubernatorial candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for the 2019 general elections for Oyo State, after polling 2772 votes at the primary election that took place at Liberty Stadium, Oke Ado in Ibadan.

On March 9, 2019, Governor Makinde polled 515,621 votes defeating his closest rival, Mr Adebayo Adelabu of the All Progressive Congress (APC) who polled 357,982 votes. Gov Seyi Makinde was elected into the Office of the Governor of Oyo State and was sworn in as the 28th executive Governor of Oyo State. It is clear from this chronicle that Governor Makinde’s life has been an adventure. He has remained forward-looking all his life, looking for the next level for him to deploy his heart of service to the people. His untiring desire for progress is now being felt in the daily life of Oyo State residents.

  • Phiromaro, a social commentator, writes in from Ibadan

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