By Seyi Makinde
MY Dear Good People of Oyo State. As we draw the curtains on 2019 and look forward with renewed expectation and hope to the New Year, I am delighted to deliver my first New Year message.
This past year was a year of mixed blessings. We started 2019 on the campaign trail, talking to you and convincing you to believe in us and trust in our Road Map for Accelerated Development in Oyo State 2019-2023, which would serve as a blueprint for all our activities in government.
You listened. And on March 9, 2019, you came out en masse and gave us your mandate. You showed, through your votes, that you have confidence in us and our ability to deliver on our promises.
Since May 29, 2019, we have been delivering on those promises, in little ways and significant ways. And you have stood by us, supporting, and defending us. You can rest assured; we will never take your loyalty for granted.
Indeed, irrespective of our political affiliations, we all want good governance: We want good governance so that we can have a decent standard of living; provide for ourselves and for those we love, give our children a good education and access quality healthcare.
These past seven months, our administration has taken on these challenges: We are revamping our education system. We have increased funding to the sector to improve the quality of the service provided and ensure access and participation for our children. Our goal is to make Oyo State the hub for education tourism in Nigeria, not just at the basic education level but at the tertiary level as well.
We are putting in the work in healthcare. We are determined to turn around the story of Oyo State public hospitals from mere drug prescription centres, to state-of-the-art facilities that provide top-notch services to our people. We have started renovating and equipping our hospitals and primary healthcare centres across the state, and we will continue with this, this year.
We are tackling insecurity. We have started the Light Up Oyo Project in Ibadan, and we will extend it to all major cities in our state this year. We are collaborating with all security agencies, by providing the necessary equipment and support required to ensure the safety of lives and properties for all living within the borders of Oyo State.
We are developing the economy of Oyo State through agriculture, small and medium-sized enterprises, SME, development, and infrastructure. We are aware that no economy grows through subsistence farming and so, we are investing in agriculture as a business and paying attention to areas of comparative advantage.
SMEs are one of the key drivers of our economy, contributing to internally generated revenue and creating employment for our teeming population. Therefore, we will focus on addressing the challenges that SMEs in Oyo State face, including multiple taxation.
In addition, we will also continue to develop infrastructure that will aid economic growth. To ensure that this is a reality, we have dedicated one-quarter of the 2020 budget to infrastructural development.
This year presents opportunities for further expansion of our economy with the new rail line, dry port and plans to revamp Ibadan Airport. This is the time to invest in our state to take advantage of these opportunities. As I have said since the start of our administration, Oyo State is open for business.
The beginning of the year is often a time of reflection. Like Janus after whom January is named, we can have one face that looks backwards to take lessons from the past and the other, forwards to apply those lessons and build a better future.
I am certain that a lot of us are engaging and will be engaging in these personal reflections. As you do, take a moment to think about how you can contribute to creating the Oyo State of our dreams. Let us think of one thing we can do differently; one thing we can do better.
On our part, as an administration with a mandate to serve, we remain firmly resolved: to do everything in our power to secure and protect the lives, means of livelihood and dignity of every man, woman, and child in Oyo State.
We have started strong, and we are determined to keep going strong.
May this year be kind to you, to your family and us all.
I wish you a happy and rewarding 2020.
Long live the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Long Live, Oyo State.