Makinde and Oyo State’s Changing Fortune

Kemi Olaitan writes that Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State has continued in the drive to enhance infrastructural development in the pace setter state

That Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State has continued to be the poster boy of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the South West region by endearing himself to the people of the pacesetter state due to the massive development that the state has witnessed since he assumed office in May 29, 2019, can only be an understatement.

Makinde at his inauguration had assured the citizen that he was going to move the state from the level that it had found itself as a result of misrule by past administrations, to one that would be respected among the comity of states in the country in terms of provisions of necessary infrastructure.

To many skeptics this can only be realisable in the realm of dreams. However, five years into the life of his administration, Makinde who was elected for second term last year has continued to fulfil his promises not only in Ibadan, the state capital, but also in virtually all the major cities in the state such as Iseyin and Saki in Oke Ogun area of the state, Ogbomoso and Oyo.

While the governor has always insisted on being remembered for institution building and quality human capital development, what is not in doubt is that since his assumption of office, his administration has decided to confront the challenges of infrastructure frontally by summoning the courage to do what the past governments failed to achieve, thereby changing the fortune of the state for the better.

Indeed, five years down the line the Makinde’s administration can be termed to be on auto pilot drive from road infrastructure, agribusiness, human capital development, provision of conducive environment for businesses to thrive, provision of power, and to improvement in technology to drive industrialisation.

Some of the legacy projects so far constructed by the administration include the Moniya/Iseyin 65 km road, which though is in its fourth year, is devoid of potholes; the massive Ring Road aimed to save travellers’ travel time has been receiving accolades from the people of Oke Ogun area of the state.

There is also the Oyo/Iseyin road, which leads directly to the Fasola Farm, which was inaugurated by the former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo.

Then there is the 76.67km Iseyin-Fapote-Ogbomoso Road named Adebayo Alao-Akala Memorial Highway in honour of a former governor of the state, Otunba Adebayo Alao-Akala and inaugurated by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

Tinubu, who was represented by Vice President Kashim Shettima at the ceremony, while speaking on the project, said posterity would be kind to the governor for building such a huge legacy project that connects communities in Oyo State, opens the state to economic opportunities and also links the state to a major geopolitical zone of the country.

He added, “In governance, we must know that it is the convergence of many parts that forms a cohesive whole. A nation can only thrive when each state builds essential infrastructure to facilitate our daily lives. So, I want to appreciate Governor Makinde, on behalf of the President, for not only being a collaborative partner but for also erecting such a capital project. “Today, we gather to celebrate a tradition of excellence for which Oyo State is known. Governor Makinde has exemplified that well-constructed networks of road serve as the gateway to the economy of the nation.

“The 76.67km Alao Akala Memorial Highway, which we are here to commission, connects communities within the state and also serves as a vital link to another geo-political zone in our nation. This project will activate the economy of the surroundings by linking producers to markets, workers to job opportunities and students to schools.

 “I salute the governor for his dedication to leaving behind a legacy project. My brother, posterity will be kind to you.”

The inauguration of the road infrastructure that Makinde is putting in place is the 110 km Ibadan Circular Road which consists carriageways, eight lanes, seven bridges, five interchanges and 29 box culverts.

The project was started by the administration of late Alhaji Lam Adesina when he was Governor of the State, between 2005 and 2008, and was further re-designed by Governor Rasheed Ladoja. Similarly, other governors – Adebayo Alao-Akala and Senator Abiola Ajimobi – both of whom are late, also tinkered with the road.

The plan is to encircle Ibadan city around four sections – South East (32.2km), North East (20km) North West (33 km), and South West (24 km), and thus link the road to the Ibadan Ife Expressway, the Moniya Train Station, the Oluyole Free Trade Zone, and connect motorists to Ile Ife without passing through the notorious Iwo Road, reduce travel time thereby and make it easier to and from Lagos, by easing age-long traffic jam.

Makinde, while speaking on the road which 32.2 km stretch has been completed by his administration by March, 2024, had said, “I didn’t start this road as I met the design, but as an engineer, I am determined to deliver it. My administration may not be able to take it all the way down to the entire stretch of 110 kilometres, but we will do at least about 75 kms of it and whoever succeeds me, can complete the remaining 35 to 40 kms.”

What is common to the road projects is that they were constructed to opened up the State and also linked major towns.

One other area that political observers in the pace setter state could say that Makinde has deliberately decided to give special attention is agriculture.

The flagship of this interest in agriculture is the expansive farm called Fasola Agribusiness Hub, Oyo, located along the Oyo/Iseyin road, which the administration constructed.

According to the Executive Adviser to the Governor on Agribusiness, Dr. Debo Akande, no single kobo of the state government was in the project but that the government only made available the enabling environment and infrastructure.

Inside the Farm Settlement established by the late sage and Premier of the Western Region, Chief Obafemi Awolowo in the 1950s covering over 1,000 hectares of land and with about 10 agri-investor companies planting all kinds of agricultural produce are all kinds of activities from tomato nursery down to a ranch where there are fat cows feeding on lush green grass.

Makinde while explaining other activities in the Farm Settlement, said, “Over 100 hectares of maize has just been planted now. We are planting 300 hectares of maize, and it is not us as a state government. It is one of the private companies that is planting it.

“There is an area we call Gate 1, there is over 100 hectares of cassava that has been planted there, and it is all part of this farm. The cassava that has been planted there is a bit unique.”

For political observers it is an undisputable fact that in the last five years, Makinde has gone a long way in delivering the dividends of democracy to the people of the state, but time would indeed tell whether he would keep the momentum for the next three years that remain for his administration.

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