By Femi Salako
Since the later Premier of old western region, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, left Nigeria’s political climate, his kind has been practically none-existient, not even in those who professed his philosophies and political thoughts. It is such that the people were already getting despondent about such possibility until Oyo State gave us, recently, a man whose words and works typify the late Yoruba leader.
Engr. Seyi Makinde is he, the executive governor of Ondo State, who has been working wonders since his election into office, wowing all and sundry with his unprecedented ideologies and fine philosophies. He has done so well within a short stay in governance, and touched lives quite profoundly.
It was unheard off what the governor did lately. He donated his salary for the next four years to the Oyo State Teacher’s Pension Fund in fulfillment of his campaign promise. This has been described as truly striking and profound. Critics have challenged that another Governor who has done something close to this in the Federal Republic of Nigeria should be mentioned.
Marking 100 days in office as governor, the genius governor commissioned a block of 20 classrooms at the Baptist Secondary School, Oyo. The governor restated that his administration would remain committed to ensuring quality and free basic education for all and sundry in the state. He reminded that government will continue to influence and implement good policies that will bring total transformation to the state.
His words reverberate, “With the support of all, we shall record unprecedented achievements and thus leaving our footprints in the sand of time. It is worthy to mention that the present administration is not oblivious of the fact that childhood is filled with natural wonders and curiosity and that learning environment must reflect a classroom and outdoor space that inspire a sense of wanting to investigate and explore.
“We are appealing to all good-spirited and well-meaning Nigerians to partner with the government of the state in eradicating illiteracy and most especially in the area of infrastructural development in public schools. It is very important to reiterate the fact that the major responsibility of the government is to ensure that quality and free basic education is provided for school-age children, as they are the leaders of tomorrow.”
Beyond rhetoric, the performing governor Makinde has matched words with works, within the short stay in office, he has, among other feats, recorded lofty achievements that are of note and referral.
He is giving free primary and secondary education, including free exercise books and other materials for all school children; pensioners and workers get paid every 25th of the month and 23rd if the pay day falls on weekend.
The governor has launched Oyo State-Farmcrowdy Agribusiness Partnership to commence a three-year plan with 50,000 farmers in the state; 100 units of Kia Rio 1.4 Executive Automatic Transmission vehicles for the various security agencies and Criminalised Open Grazing in Oyo State.
The ‘Star Boy began e-registration of everyone living in Oyo State to determine the number of people living and doing business in the state; proscribed NURTW because of violence in the state and to this day, they are yet to be back, and awarded N500,000 bursary for every Oyo State indigene studying in the Nigerian Law School.
Apart from publicly declaring his assets, Makinde established Oyo State Financial Crimes Commission to fight graft in government, for which he is ready to waive his immunity if found to have stolen from government. The N3000 levy imposed on Oyo school children by Ajimobi was cancelled the second week Seyi took office and declared full free and quality education in the state. What’s more? The wonder governor declared his monthly salary as N650,000.
The governor has also flagged-off the light up Ibadan project, embarked on the deployment of smart LED street lighting technology to fight crimes in the state capital and other parts of the state, to improve the security of lives and position the state for socio-economic drive. The project is worth N1.772 billion, having gone through public procurement due process and due consideration of the Executive Council. It includes replacement of the existing underperforming street light fittings with improved modern technology street lights fitting and installation of new ones at the strategic routes.
Governor Makinde has also increased the car loan to civil servants from N500,000 to N750,000 and the housing loan from N2 million to N3 million in order to assist the civil servants in the state. He also approved a monthly grant of N20 million for car loan for the state workers; N15 million as car loan for Teaching Service Commission staff and N20 million for housing loan to ensure that more civil servants benefit from the schemes.
Makinde, however, maintained that despite the N1 billion increase in the wage bill, his government has been paying and will not waiver. He said, “Governance for us is beyond politics or religion. Nobody under my watch will be discriminated against because of political leaning or religion. So, those who want to divide us with political or religion sentiment should find another work to do.”
With this rare stuff of a leader atop the affairs of Oyo State and with support from the people of the state, total transformation can be taken for granted. By the time he is rounding up on his term of office, Eldorado may be only inches away.
*Salako can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org