January 27, 2023

Vanguard Awards: Seyi Makinde, for a better Oyo State


Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State

By Jide Ajani, General Editor

WHEN the Harvard Business Review of July-August 2013, published an article where it was asserted that “before people decide what they think of your message, they decide on what they think of you,” the majority of the voters in Oyo State had no idea that they were going to effectuate that message with the emergence of Oluwaseyi Abiodun Makinde at the governorship poll in March 2019. His pedigree spoke volumes about his message.

In a system where blind sentiment, impunity, cronyism, nepotism, greed, and a culture of indolence in high places had all been packaged as a staple for the hapless people of Oyo State, such that salaries were being paid in ridiculous percentages, pension payment, and gratuities were wickedly kept on hold, and corruption had taken-up a life of its own, ‘Seyi Makinde arrived on the stage. But because the people of Oyo State made up their minds on what they thought of the person of Makinde, they accepted his message of hope and gave him the mandate to be their governor. His pedigree! His message! His intentions! 

Read Also: Vanguard Personality of the Year: Honouring pursuit of good over evil

Choosing Makinde as Governor of the Year 2022 was not a difficult task. Upon his assumption of office on Wednesday, May 29, 2019, he made his good intentions known by abolishing, with immediate effect and automatic alacrity, the burdensome N3000 education levy imposed on students in Oyo State. Other measures have since been put in place to demonstrate that his pursuit of power was to deliver the greatest amount of good to the largest number of residents of Oyo State.

Take, for instance, workers’ salaries and pension payments! Within its first six months in office, his administration had paid more than what his predecessor paid in eight years as pensions—to Makinde’s administration, a N55.9 billion debt in gratuities (there has been a steady and consistent payment of N535 million to retired state and local government workers on a monthly basis).  In just three years, over $18 billion in pension payments have been made. Salaries have not ceased being paid on or before the 25th of every month since June 2019.

But, whereas some may not really appreciate what prompt pension and salary payments engender for a society, the import is not lost on the beneficiaries, who now live like human beings and can plan their lives. The intangibles that would give birth to a better society are most important to Governor Makinde. His four pillars for accelerated development are intertwined because, according to him, opportunities for economic expansion can only be explored with a healthy body and a quality education, and this can only happen in a secure

environment.  In the areas of infrastructure, energy, healthcare, education, youth development, trade, and commerce, Makinde, has demonstrated that a good name is worth much more than aggrandisement. He is walking the talk. He is said to be a governor who acknowledges that there are gaps, and strives to fill them. And the people are said to appreciate this.

When Leon Trotsky (1879–1940) posed the question, “If the end justifies the means, what justifies the end?” he had no idea that a ‘Seyi Makinde would emerge in Oyo State in 2019 to announce to the world that the end, which is the output, is justified by the eventual outcome of a growing internally generated revenue, IGR, base; improved education and health infrastructure that engenders better academic performance and builds a healthy society; preservation of the primary healthcare space, over 350 Primary Health Care, PHC, centres are being built (one per ward) to cover the over 350 wards in Oyo State. Already, over 250 are in the last stages of completion, awaiting commissioning. The list goes on.

Governor Makinde continues to justify the end result as the outcome of the massive parks and interchanges at Challenge, Ojoo, and Iwo Road, which will allow for an organised flow of traffic and commerce around the edifices, the remodelled Lekan Salami Stadium, Adamasingba, which has been sanctioned by FIFA and is already driving sporting activities both local and international, and the street lighting project, which will improve night-time businesses.

So, when next someone says the end justifies the means and the question is posed: “What justifies the end?” you should have a ready answer to give. The Vanguard editors agreed that Governor Makinde of Oyo State is justifying the end because the people of Oyo State are living a better life, while he continues to fill gaps for even greater outcomes.