By Olamide Adeniji
“We have promised the good people of Oyo State, that we will perform beyond their expectation. We are not unmindful of these promises and we are ensuring we take advantage of every PPP opportunities that come our way, as we strive to achieve our goals, as outlined in our manifesto. This administration is determined to confront head-on all the issues bedevilling our state.”
Those words have become the mantra of Oyo State Governor Seyi Makinde, at every given opportunity.
No doubt, the Ibadan-born politician is committed to renewing the hopes of the masses, especially as it concerns provision of infrastructure and needed amenities to make the Pacesetter State grow. Thus, as he marks his second year in office, let us take a stock of some of the giant strides of his noble administration.
Without being immodest, many have attested to the fact that Governor Makinde has not veered off his promises, running with the vision of remodelling Oyo State and leaving it better than he met it. This is evidently seen in the record of achievements we will soon start to enlist.
To discerning observers, his government is genuinely addressing key developmental issues in all sectors and the people are better for it.
In the education sector, Governor Mankinde’s administration has ensured many abysmal policies are suspended for the good of the public schools’ sector. Knowing that his administration is etched on the free education policy, Makinde distributed textbooks and note books to public secondary school students at no charge. His administration also organised free classes to indigent students preparing for the West African Senior Secondary Certificate Examination, WASSCE and the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Exmaination, UTME.
Annual payment of N500,000 bursary to each law student from Oyo State, as law tuition as well as payment of N200 million for accreditation of 15 programmes at the Polytechnic Ibadan are commendable.
The ultimate of it was winning the sole ownership of the Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, LAUTECH, from the initial joint ownership with Osun State as granted by the National Universities Commission, NUC.
With this, the governor approved a special release of N500 million to LAUTECH for self-sustainability and running.
Since inception, the state government has not reneged on its monthly subvention to all state-owned tertiary institutions.
Many will recall that on assuming the saddle of authority in the state, Makinde scrapped the N3,000 levy on public primary and secondary schools put in place by the previous administration in the state. His administration, no doubt, has given the education sector so much priority, moreso, considering the parlous state of the critical sector inherited by the administration.
In the basic education sector, being the foundation upon which these new generations will grow, the state government resuscitated the School Running Grants to all public primary and secondary schools. This administration has also constructed over 157 new blocks of classrooms across the state. This has enhanced enrolment and taken most of the state’s out-of-school children back to classrooms. The sector under the able supervision of a renowned educationist, Dr. Nureni Aderemi Adeniran, has renovated classrooms across the state. This has encouraged teachers and pupils to have a good learning environment.
The administration also built over 47 model schools, as it also completed abandoned construction of classrooms and has sunk motorised boreholes in public schools across the state.
This administration, with the support of Old Students’ Associations across many schools, has renovated various schools’ infrastructure, including hostels, dining halls, staff quarters, laboratories, examination halls and provided classroom furniture to over 120 schools across the state.
With the support of the World Bank and the Universal Basic Education Commission, UBEC, the state has mopped up out-of-school children and enrolled them into various learning centres established by the highly successful Better Education Service Delivery for All, BESDA, programme. Under the programme, learners received various instructional materials.
Skill acquisition training for 1,000 out of school children, school leavers and women among other ingenuine strides earned the state the Global Partnership in Education, GPE2, Grant, making Oyo State the only South Western state to earn such.
On infrastructure, Makinde is not unworthy of a new title, “Mr. Infrastructure”, considering his impressive focus on road construction, repairs and wholesome rehabilitation. This has added value to the economic development of the state. The government re-awarded the Moniya-Iseyin road network, a road that was in a deplorable state before.
Many stakeholders have come out to commend the Makinde-led administration for the pace of work on the Iseyin-Moniya road, professionals have also attested to the quality of the job done on the 76-kilometer long road.
This is followed by the state-wide re-construction embarked upon by the administration through the Oyo State Road Maintenance Agency, OYSRMA. Some of these include: Akobo-Idi Ape road, the rehabilitation of the NNPC/General Gas link road, Forte Oil/Ashi link road, premises and access road to Adeoyo State Hospital, Aremo-Orita Aperin road, among others, signifying that Governor Makinde is pertinent about the physical development of Oyo State
Road projects that will not stop people from marvelling include: the construction of 75-kilometre Moniya-Iseyin road, 21-kilometre Airport-Amuloko-Ajia road, 12-kilometre Apete-Akufo road, 12-kilometre Akala express road, 7-kilometre Idi-Ape, Akobo, Odogbo barracks road, 10-kilometre Saki township road, 45-kilometre Saki to Igboho road, 6-kilometre Sabo-Gedu-Oroki road.
Unlike previous administrations, road projects inherited from his predecessors were also continued and financed. The administration has also upgraded some roads within the capital and outside.
To complement the essence of the huge investment on roads, the government also procured 106 new mass transit buses for the Pacesetter Transport Service.
Likewise, the agriculture sector, which is the mainstay of the state economy, has enjoyed generous attention and funding by the Seyi-Makinde administration in the last two years. Those who are keenly interested in the sector, understand the governor’s special focus on this sector because of the embedded potentials in it. The governor approved construction of 10,000 metric tons capacity silo in Awe, Oyo State.
Farmers have received training and retraining on the use of manual irrigation, while just recently farmers from 10 local government areas were trained.
The government procured fertilizers, seedlings, cassava stem and other farm equipment and distributed to local farmers across the state.
This administration has also rehabilitated OYSADA centers in some local government areas with headquarters in Saki, Oyo State.
Among other achievements, Makinde’s government provided 30 new operational vehicles to security apparatus in the state, while it also equipped SRS unit under the Nigeria Police Force with over 100 vehicles across the length and breadth of Oyo State with plans to further equip with another 100.
The state government revamped the Oyo State safe city cameras (CCTV), to complement the massive light up Oyo State project. To ensure the lights stay on, the light up Oyo project has a tri-breed source of energy – inverter, national grid and generating sets. This lit up project has fought crime in the state and reduced it to the barest minimum.
The state government, with support from security apparatus, including the newly inaugurated Western Nigeria Security Network, codenamed Amotekun, has reduced banditry and kidnaps. A proactive government, Makinde’s administration established a war-room with CCTV across all borders, to monitor activities.
To foster peace and unity, the government also inaugurated peace and security committee in the state among all local government areas, while it established zonal base of Joint Security Task Force, otherwise known as Operation Burst.
Health is wealth; so, Makinde’s administration has touched this sector immensely, especially after the outbreak of the dreaded pandemic, Coronavirus. Observers will say, health is a crucial indicator of development in any state, for this purpose, Governor Makinde has invested hugely in the health sector.
Key achievements in this sector include, inauguration of the Omititun Free Health programme: Upgrade of 331 Primary Health Centres in each ward of the state; establishment of COVID-19 isolation centres.
Just recently, the governor approved establishment of special healthcare centres for the elderly. This will complement the present administration’s efforts at providing healthcare to the older ones.
Oyo State Health Insurance Agency, OYSHIA, has provided access and financial protection for about 200,000 residents across the 33 local government areas in the state. The agency has also provided employment for 105 graduates and health workers.
OYSHIA, has fully upgraded accredited PHCs with provision of alternate power supply in all. The agency also commissioned radio-diagnostic unit, modern theatre and automated laboratory at Ring-Road, Ibadan.
A proactive agency, OYSHIA also introduced community-based health insurance schemes in the state.
The Adeoyo State Hospital has been transformed to a modern tertiary health facility with state-of-the-art equipment, well equipped Intensive Care Unit, ICU, in the State Specialist Hospital.
Rural Development and the environment have also had a fair share in the state government’s revolution in good governance. On rural development, there have been a lot of activities including the Rural Access and Agricultural Marketing Project, RAAMP, which will construct over 500-kilometre of rural roads that will open up rural agricultural communities and provide easy access to market for people and their products; drilling of 89 hand pump boreholes in various rural communities.
The environment which is a challenging issue in Oyo State is getting the right attention from Governor Makinde. The Awotan dumpsite has been revamped and transformed to a landfill site.
The Makinde-led Oyo State government has also employed teachers under the State’s Teaching Service Commission, most of whom would be deployed to their places of primary duties soon. These ones would nurture the young ones under the state’s secondary education sector. The state would soon commence employment of over 1000 primary school teachers.
These are remarkable achievements that are visible and verifiable, attained within two years of the present administration. Though, like Oliver Twist, residents want more and their expectations are high that the future of Oyo State under Governor Makinde’s leadership will be brighter, we are certain that Oyo State is safe in the hands of a progressive man, who has judiciously expended the mandate of the people in just two years.
•Adeniji, a media officer and blogger writes from Ibadan, Oyo State.