Oyo State governor, His Excellency, Seyi Makinde, celebrated his 53rd birthday as he unearthed action plans for aggressive infrastructure development intending to replenish the glory of the state. Despite the weakening federal allocations to states inflicted by the decline in the crude oil price in the international market and the devastating outcomes of the Covid-19 pandemic, Makinde’s government is unfazed to execute and deliver its campaign pledges. As part of his programs for infrastructure development, Makinde has embarked on the edifice of ultra-modern bus terminals in Iwo Road, one in Challenge and another bus terminal in Ojoo, which according to him, would position the state as a new choice enterprise destination. GSM has reeled out his government’s ambitious programs and projects in a document, “GSM Infrastructure Revolution Begins,” which outlines his scorecards sector by sector in the last one year plus and also mapped out the preeminence of his administration in the next two years and months. Up to the time that regional system was pulled apart in 1967 with the creation of 12 states by General Yakub Gowon, Ibadan, the capital of Oyo State, was then the seat of political power for the Western Region that witnessed an unprecedented transformation in the First Republic, principally during the leadership of Chief Obafemi Awolowo.
Since its creation, Ibadan, has been a cloud of itself illustrated for its feeble public transport system, disused municipal domains, overstretched public infrastructure, the miserable community of waste management, and weak traffic regulation and enforcement authorities, and a host of others. Confronted with these stiff verities, Makinde initiated the ‘GSM Infrastructure Revolution’, a policy document that conveys programs and projects his administration has already inaugurated to make Oyo State a choice destination for business undertakings and a true center of marketing interchange. Makinde, in his preface, of one year in office has ensured that the current administration embarks on rehabilitating schools, repositioning public healthcare facilities, maintaining deplorable roads under zero pothole program, and bolstering the broadcasting services through obtainment and upgrading of equipment. Under the light-up project, the GSM government has lit up roads, neighborhoods, and markets to ensure the safety of lives and comfort of going around apart from patrol vehicles procured for the security agencies to make security architecture stronger.
In expansion to enhancing the state’s public order and safety, Makinde sets a premium on the right of every child to receive a quality education, a reason he has made public education entirely free; rehabilitated over 22 public schools statewide, and provided over 22,800 school furniture sets. He uncovers the prestige of the clean green initiative designed “to change people’s mindset and create the environment pleasant for all and boost public health. The physical well-being of the citizens/residents is related to community wealth. It is not surprising that community health is tied to how we manage wastes.” With these achievements in the last one year, Makinde, therefore, seeks public support for the next phase with a plan to execute modern-day and iconic projects “never seen before in the history of the state under his infrastructure revolution initiative. It is the promise I made, it is the promise I shall fulfill.” This has been the mantra of the soft-spoken governor. While recognizing the prospering population of Ibadan, about 60 percent of the people living in the state, Makinde has settled to create new town housing development schemes in the state capital and lessened procedures for processing Certificate of Occupancy within 60 days.
He has already disclosed that his administration “has created Ajoda New Town Housing Development, 340-unit medium low-cost houses. Also, to reduce the growing deficit in housing and boost the state’s real estate economy, his government has embarked on a massive housing program to meet the need of the accumulating urban dwellers. “With over 60 percent of the people living in the city and Ibadan being a major political, economic and commercial center in the Southwest, Nigeria, the government must ensure that inhabitants and visitors alike enjoy living and touring the city of Ibadan,” this is the submission of His Excellency. He, thus, elucidates the benefit of a residence program structured to position the state for the emerging real estate boom, resulting from the possible migration of urban settlers who will be induced by the completion of the new railway double gauge track linking Ibadan, Abeokuta with Lagos. With the completion of the railway project, GSM anticipates that a good number of people “will relocate to the Ibadan axis in search of affordable housing since the travel time between Ibadan and Lagos will be halved with the introduction of fast trains. For many, working in Lagos but living in Ibadan would be an age-long dream come true.”
He characterises his plan for urban renewal around the notion of smart cities, a programme that could no longer wait to happen to make major cities in the state centers of attraction for admirers, tourists, and visitors alike. GSM endorses this claim with the plan to create another central business district (CBD) along the Moniya-Lagos-Ibadan Railway Station/Dry Port Site in addition to Dugbe Central Business District, undergoing renewal. Apart from creating another central business district, Makinde has already created a vista for private participation, which has birthed the agreement to reactivate Pacesetter Asphalt & Quarry Limited and bring life to Bodija Recreation Centre through a concession agreement. Agbowo shopping complex is undergoing an ultra-modern facelift. Adamasingba stadium is wearing a new international look which when completed will not only be the cynosure of all eyes but a money generating venture to the coffers of the state, a sporting talents hunt for the gifted sports maestros among others. His administration has revolutionized the state’s agricultural sector by revamping Akufo and Eruwa Farm Settlements, thereby empowering over 30,000 farmers with the mandate to make the state a center of food production and help it achieve its food security objectives. He has accelerated agriculture and is seeking the greater possibility of bringing more into the SME funding net. With its antecedent as an agrarian society, Oyo State will benefit immensely from the government’s scheme to help the farmers increase their productivity.”
“Since agriculture traditionally employs the greatest portion of the population, many will be pulled out of the unemployment net. As farms become more productive, the wages earned by those who work in agriculture will increase. Agriculture would again occupy its pride of place as a major precursor to economic prosperity,”
GSM clarifies how he establishes a N1billion fund for boosting micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) at the height of the COVID-19 battle, noting that tailors benefited from this fund to produce face masks and personal protective equipment (PPE) for medical practitioners as parts of COVID-19 preventive measures.
The governor, therefore, points out the impact of the fund, noting that it “has helped tackle some socio-economic forces among the artisans and traders. The forces include poverty, either of the mind or material. It may be difficult to eradicate poverty in its entirety. However, according to him, the government can contribute its quota to alleviate this perennial challenge by providing practical assistance; first, by identifying individuals who are hungry for a lift, to energize their pet dreams. This explains the idea behind the N1billion for small businesses.
The civil servants would testify to the quintessential of prompt payment of salaries which may not be appreciated by the enemies of progress in the state. GSM has not failed in his “on 25th” payment plan and just recently he has approved the payment of the 13th-month salary despite the dwindling economic conditions of the country. He has massively supported the law students at the law schools.
While he appreciates his counterpart governor of Osun State, GSM promised to revive LADOKE AKINTOLA UNIVERSITY (LAUTECH) if elected as the governor. He has done than enough by ensuring the total take over and control of the institution by the pacesetter state. The students can now enjoy without the glitch of none payment of the staff salaries.
It is not surprising to many people when this man was adjudged the best-performed governor due to his sterling performance and milestone achievements. It is however pertinent to tell people not to disturb this God-sent forerunner for any national assignment the next eight years till he finishes his accelerated roadmap for the development of Oyo State.
- Aremu teaches at Fountain University, Osogbo, Osun State.
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