INTERVIEW: My Opponents’ Plan On Coalition Will Fail, Favour PDP — Makinde


Oyo State governor, Seyi Makinde, is 55 years old today. Speaking with Tribune’s Board of Editors, he retells the story of how God has guided his every step, right from birth to adulthood, while also reiterating that the core basis of his mandate is to transform Oyo into a prosperous state inhabited by economically buoyant people. According to him, while his opponents are seeking a coalition to unseat him, he has already secured a coalition with the people of Oyo State.

Congratulations on your 55th birthday. If you look back at all the targets you set for yourself in life, did you at any point set a target to be governor or occupy any public office?

No. While growing up, I wanted to be a musician. Later, I thought I could be a boxer. I wanted to be a musician because of King Sunny Ade. He was probably the only one they used to show performing on television then. So, I asked my mother to buy a toy guitar for me and most times, I used to imitate KSA, thinking I would be a musician.

Later, I watched the bout between Dele Jonathan and one white guy and I thought I would like to be a boxer too. During my latter days in primary school, we were always kicking football around our neighborhood. I was quite good at dribbling and around 1976, IICC Shooting Stars FC won the African Cup Winners Cup for the first time. I went to the Liberty Stadium, during their trainings and I used to see SegunOdegbami, Best Ogedengbe, MudaLawal and the rest. So, I thought yeah, I would be a footballer.

I went to my father and told him I would like to be a footballer and he asked me which team I wished to play for and I said “Water Corporation.” I believe Sam Ojebode was with Water Corporation then, but my father was an ardent supporter of Shooting Stars and that was the end of my dream of a professional football career  because I mentioned the wrong club. Eventually, I still joined Greater Tomorrow at Yemetu and we played a number of matches together with some of my childhood friends who later went on to play professional football. But my father did not allow me to proceed with that dream. But by the time I got to Bishop Philips Academy, I played for the school team while I was in Form Two. The implication of that was that I was playing with older guys, but I still got into the first eleven of the team.

By the time I got to Form Three, where we started real work academically and had begun to look at which direction to follow: Arts, Commercial, or Science, the dream of being a footballer fizzled out. Back then, the best 30 students in Form Three would be taken to Science Class, which was always Form 4A. I was among the first three or so and I knew they would take me to Form 4A at that time. So I started thinking about what to do seriously. At that point, I thought of being a medical doctor or an engineer.

But then, I found out that I was not really enjoying Biology. At that point in time, I knew the subjects that I liked were Chemistry, Physics, Mathematics and Geography. So, I thought I would either be an engineer or a pilot, because my knowledge of Geography was very good and it reflected in the result of my WASC then. After writing JAMB exam, I discussed with my father and he wanted me to be a medical doctor but I told him, look, I really don’t fancy Biology and that I needed to choose a branch of Engineering. I wanted to be a Mechanical Engineer, not because I love the course or that I had an inkling of what its impact on the society was, but because those studying Mechanical Engineering  fancifully called it ‘mech engine.’ I was attracted by that funky name and I wanted to study it so that when people asked me about the course I was studying, I could also say ‘mech engine.’

I took the JAMB exam, and I got admitted to University of Lagos (UNILAG). Of course, I thought I was admitted to study Mechanical Engineering which I applied for, but my admission letter read Electrical Engineering. I felt bad, but my father thought maybe they sent me to the department because of my performance in physics. I scored almost 90 per cent in physics in JAMB; so that was his explanation. I got to UNILAG and started the registration into the Department of Electrical Engineering and just a day to the matriculation ceremony, I saw my name on the notice board that I should go and see the faculty admission officer. I went to him and he said that I was admitted to study Mechanical Engineering but that there was a mix-up in my admission letter. He said, ‘now that you are matriculating tomorrow, I will leave you in the electrical engineering department, because all engineering students in 100 level would mostly take the same courses, but when you are coming back in the second year, come to me so that we can regularise your admission and you can go to the Department of Mechanical Engineering.’

I matriculated under the Department of Electrical Engineering with the hope that at the end of that session, I would go back to the faculty admission officer but, lo and behold, one of the general courses we were to take as freshers in engineering was Engineering Drawing. I did not learn technical drawing in secondary school and it was a bit difficult for me to cope. As a matter of fact, I failed my first drawing exam, but I picked up by the second semester. By then, they had started telling me that in Mechanical Engineering, I would have to take drawing courses until my fourth year. On the other hand, I took a course, Fundamentals of Engineering, and I had A+ in that. So, by the end of the session, I didn’t go back to the faculty officer and he also didn’t ask of me. That was how I became an electrical engineer.

After that, I just wanted to be a professional engineer. During my final year, my project was on Control System, which was a little bit innovative at that time. I remember my engineering dynamics lecturer would come to school and say ‘if you start your engine, I can know the revolution per minute.’ It was a big deal for me as a young engineering student. So, I realised that if you go towards the control side of things, you would be the one to determine how the whole structure will come together. So, I started thinking I may just specialise rather than just look at a broad engineering scope and go to the control system side of things. I did my final year project on Control Systems in engineering and, fortunately, when I got to Shell for my National Youth Service Corps, they sent me to Instrument Engineering Unit. And from there, I further specialised in Fluid and Gas Metering and that was the basis of everything I have done in life. That is also why I say that I am an expert on field and gas metering, because I went straight from the academic world to an area of the industry in Nigeria’s Oil and Gas sector that was in need of serious reform and technology and I keyed into it and the rest they say is history.

At what point did you then decide you were going into politics?

I did my youth service in 1990, got to Shell in Port Harcourt, 1990, started working as a Field Engineer after the service. So, by 1997, I had already started my own company and I made some money. The first set of money I made, I had the urge to give back to society. I remembered that during the 1998 Christmas celebration, I came to Ibadan to see my parents and I went to my alma mater, Bishop Philips Academy. One thing led to another and I decided to carry out a project in the school. I was going to renovate the block of classrooms where I studied in my Form One and my principal then, Chief KunmiAgboola, who is a member of the Oyo State Independent Electoral Commission (OYSIEC), told me the cost would not be much different from a new building  and advised that I could build a new structure. I approached him and told him what I had in mind and he gave me some pieces of advice. So, we decided that I would build a block of classrooms for them with a computer centre so that the students could have an appreciation of computer and all of that.

I started the project in 1999 and completed it in 2000. Baba Lam Adesina was the governor then and Chief Agboola was close to him. He invited the governor to come and commission the project. While we were at it, I sat beside the governor and told him about a new technology in vogue – micro turbine, and told him it should be good for the farm settlements and for the government to power stranded communities. He appreciated me for that and requested that I give my card to one of his close aides then. I was expecting a call from them because I wanted to try the technology here. But, I did not get any call.

Though I was operating in Port Harcourt before that time, by 2002, I had already moved the Head Office to Lagos. So, due to my nearness to Ibadan, I kept coming home nearly every weekend; my family had already moved to the United States. So, whenever I came to Ibadan during weekends, I always found myself talking to young professionals. I joined the Ibadan Recreation Club and sometimes, we would go there, sit at the squash corner, gisting. One thing led to the other and people were talking about 2003 elections and I shared with them my experience with Baba Lam Adesina.

Some of my friends formed the ‘Fortune Group’ and I joined them. The aim was to support somebody with business experience, maybe that would be a better deal for the people of Oyo State. So, we supported Governor RashidiLadoja at that time and, thankfully, he won. The next local government election after that, I sponsored and supported aspirants vying for the councillorship and local government chairmanship positions. And before I knew it, everybody kept saying since I have been supporting some other friends who won, I should also try it. So, I concluded I would give it a trial. The next morning, they came to my house and they were already calling me ‘Distinguished Senator’ and I thought that was really quick.

So, that was how I contested, for the first time, to go to the Senate in 2007. At that time also, we were looking at the Nigerian Local Content law, and I thought my experience in the Oil and Gas Industry might also help the country to fashion out the Local Content Act. I wanted to go and do that in the Senate in 2007 but I lost. I tried again in 2011 and still lost, but I was interacting with political gladiators like Baba Ladoja and the rest.

The first time I contested, it was under ANPP with the late former Governor Ajimobi, who was the sitting senator at that time, but had taken the governorship ticket. It did not work out. Between 2007 and 2011, I interacted with the late former Governor Alao-Akala, who was the sitting governor. And by 2015, I had interacted with all the gladiators and I felt, look, they are older than me in terms of age but we have had arguments, discussions on policy issues and I felt I could hold my own ground also. That was why in 2015, I contested to be the governor and I lost. But in 2019, I tried again and won.

Looking back at your story and where you are now, would you say there has been some divine intervention in your life’s journey?

Well, everything that has happened has taken me closer to God and made me to also know that, as an individual, you can have your own aspirations, plans and all of that but divine plan will always prevail. I wanted to be a senator in 2007 and I would have won if the order of election was reversed, because in the first election, out of about 13 House of Assembly positions within my senatorial district, ANPP won nine, PDP won one only in Ibarapa North. But we lost the biggest prize of that election, which was the governorship. By second election, most ANPP people, because we lost the governorship, were really not ready to come out and I was left to carry the burden. But that experience brought me in contact with Governor Ajimobi as I interacted with him and after the ANPP fell apart and I returned to PDP, God also brought me in contact with Governor Akala.

So, by 2015, it was not difficult for me to take a decision on whether I could run for the governorship and make an impact or not. So, I don’t fret about anything; I just leave everything to God. I had same feeling in 2019, even this 2023; I have told people that, look, they should pray only for God’s will to prevail. Whatever is not of God, I don’t need it. I don’t want it. From my university days, there was no reason for me to have a letter of admission for Electrical Engineering, whereas in the admission list with the university my name was under Mechanical Engineering. My father supported Mechanical Engineering because he thought with Professor [Ayodele] Awojobi out there, I would be able to learn under a renowned professor but I ended up studying Electrical Engineering and here I am today.

Towards my final year, I could have taken the option in High Voltage and thought about going to work for NEPA [National Electric Power Authority]  but I chose Control System, which was not a popular sub-specialisation then. When I was to go for NYSC, I initially thought of serving in [the old] Bendel State in 1990. My aim was to go and work in the Oil and Gas Industry. Later I was taken to Rivers State, which is a one-city state. And as an engineer, you would definitely end up in the Oil and Gas Industry as that was the only industry there at that time. So, I was posted to Rivers State. When I got there, I was posted to Shell Nigeria. Along the line, after our test, we were to go and have lunch, and on our way, I was looking at the offices and the names on the doors. Suddenly, I saw Tony Oyegunle, Head of Instrument Engineering Unit. So, when we were to be posted, I told the man who wanted to do the posting to post me to that department, thinking I would be working under a Yoruba man and I was posted there.

Later on Shell was to recruit some of us youth corps members on a permanent basis as staff. We did an interview and eight of us got shortlisted as candidates who passed the exam. But seven of them received their appointment letters and I was the only one who did not receive a letter. I went to the recruitment unit to make enquiries and they told me that the same [Yoruba] man that I thought would protect my interest said he did not want me back in that unit. So, that was what led to the end of my career in Shell. But it also pushed me to where I decided I was going to form a company and take a different path in life.

So, I believe that, as a person, every major turn in my life has always seen the hands of God pushing me.

Why do you always celebrate your birthday in Saki and don’t you think that other zones will become jealous and feel excluded?

Well, if you look at the concept of this administration, we are trying to integrate the zones in the state,  give them a sense of belonging and let them also feel part of a wider system. We have seven zones basically, but five in reality. We have Ibadan City and Less City; we have Ibarapa and for Oke-Ogun, we have OkeOgun 1 and Oke-Ogun 2. Then, we have Oyo and Ogbomoso zones.

In OkeOgun 1, the biggest economy there is Iseyin, while the biggest economy in Oke-Ogun 2 is Saki and we have Saki West, Saki East, Atisbo, Irepo, Olorunsogo and Oorelope local governments. The biggest pool for those other five councils is Saki. If you get the economy of Saki right, you can pull the other local government areas to key into it. Suddenly, you would have succeeded in creating zonal hubs economically and that is what we are doing. For Oke-Ogun 1, we have Iseyin. So, those major cities are supposed to pull the satellite LGs around them together.

We have returned OYSADA to Saki and we are also trying to make that place live up to the expectation of a zonal hub. Iseyin is quite close to Ibadan and one can get there in 45 minutes. But Saki and OkeOgun 2 zones are the areas that need encouragement and support and it is a bit stretched out. You want people to see why they must come there to see what we are doing and also enjoy the place. That is the only way you can stimulate the economy. That happens to be the place we have looked at in terms of intra-zonal road network. We are linking the major zones of the state. But in Saki, I deliberately decided to put in the resources to say, look, I want Saki, which is already linked to Atisbo. It is 15 minutes on that way coming from Tede junction to Saki. Now, the other local government out there; Saki East is also linked somehow though the road is not as good as we want it to be, but the major axis to be linked to Saki first to have the benefit of a zonal hub is to link Saki with Ogboro to Igboho, and after then to Kishi and Igbeti. Once we are able to do that, then the zone is ultimately linked and the economy of Saki can lift the other ones. This is why, for the first time, we awarded the intra-zonal link and by the time we complete the projects, people can stay in Igbeti and in 45 minutes to one hour, they will get to Saki with a good road.

When you started as a governor, you started with a four-point agenda. How has your administration fared in three and a half years?

I believe we have done pretty well. Education, for instance, when we came in, I promised to get as many of our students that are out of school back into classrooms. And a major impediment was the payment of N3,000 levy that was imposed. We removed it and between then and now, we have been able to get about 60,000 out-of-school children back into the classrooms. Also, in terms of quality, we made a compendium for the students, gave them notebooks, textbooks. People tried to play sycophancy with me, I stopped it because they were going to put my picture on the textbooks because they did it for the former governor. But I said, look, just put the map of Oyo State on it. Now, we have seen a remarkable improvement in that sector. Of course, you have the decay, which has been there for several years. If you are not putting enough money into the sector, what you will get over several years is that the standard will nosedive and when you want to reverse it also, it is not magic as you have to put in the hard work, resources and it will also take a couple of years to stop the decay and that is exactly what we are doing.

We recruited 5,000 teachers and for the first time in the history of this state, they were not recruited based on political party affiliation or religion or anything but on merit. We conducted the interview and chose the best of the best and we are seeing almost immediate results from them. We are seeing that remarkable shift.

Also, when we came in, the joint ownership of LAUTECH by Osun and Oyo states was not working. Students were spending a period of eight years for a five-year programme. Thankfully, we were able to take sole ownership of LAUTECH and they have continued with more improvement and have taken their destinies in their own hands.

Recently, we saw the need to upgrade the Emmanuel Alayande College of Education to a University of Education and we did all the necessary things, put all the needed resources to help them function optimally. We have the approval already and we now have a University of Education.

When I came in, the First Technical University had issues, but when you buy a company, which is the same as taking over an administration, you take up both the liability and assets and we have been able to stabilise that. So, the meaning of all of that is: over the next 40 to 50 years, we have one conventional university that is sponsored by the state – LAUTECH. And you have two specialised universities – one looking after the educational needs of the state, producing graduate teachers who, in turn, would teach our students, and a specialised technical university looking at emerging economy based on technology. So, some of the templates for the state to actually excel at the tertiary education level have been set and the foundation has been laid for us to build on.

On healthcare delivery, we took it as a policy. When we came in, we had over 600 PHCs across the state. We visited some of them and discovered they were in a dilapidated condition and decided to tackle this head on. We identified in each ward a PHC and upgraded it to a category 3 primary health care centre. Now, you have the people being able to have primary health care centre within one kilometre radius to them and we have made good progress with that. All of the upgraded PHCs now have boreholes, clean water, good environment and generators. So, we believe we are doing well on that.

Concerning the expansion of our economy, a good indication of what we have been able to achieve is on the IGR. Before we came in, the IGR was about N1.8bn monthly but in November, 2022, we got an IGR of N3.8bn. It has been an average of N3.3bn to N3.5bn. There is a big aspect we have not even touched, which is the tenement rate for buildings. I never received any bill in my house until I got into government. So, I paid for the first time as the governor of the state. We are engaging the people and they are willing, because we are also holding ourselves accountable.

In terms of the infrastructure we need to drive our economy, we have been putting all of those things in place. Like I mentioned earlier, you can go from Moniya to Iseyin in 45 minutes, which used to about three hours; the same thing with the Oyo-Iseyin axis, where we have the Fashola Agribusiness Hub.

A brand new road is being constructed between Ogbomoso and Iseyin. Right now, we are attracting investments into the axis. Just about three days ago, we flagged off the Brent Sugar plantation and factory, which is on that particular road. Also, the only Sorbitol factory in the entire continent of Africa is located in Ado Awaye. If you are going there, you would see trucks of cassava going out there and the fixing of the roads would have made business easy for the factory.

You have talked about the infrastructure projects linking Oke Ogun to Oyo and Ogbomoso, what about Ibarapa zone?

Right now, Ibarapa is being linked to Oke-Ogun. The contractor and his people are on the site working out there. Iganna to Igangan to Igbo-Ora is sorted. Now, between Ibarapa and Ibadan, APC people awarded the road to Chinese Global and we know where the company came from. I am going after them. They collected money and now, we are spending double of that amount; but we have concluded negotiations and I believe the paper work is being put together. The contractor will return to the site in a matter of days.

I was at Ibarapa for a town hall meeting and let me tell you the reaction from the people. We got there and asked the people what they have against the government and they lamented on the Eruwa-Ido road. I asked them to let us go and inspect this project, and we went on Eruwa-Lanlate-Maya road. So, about two-thirds of Ibarapaland has been linked, because with that road from Eruwa to Maya, you will get on that road that will take you to Igbo Ora and from there to Idere to Aiyete to Tapa and then to Igangan and to OkeOgun zone. I have been on the road from Iganna to Elekokan and it was smooth.

For Ibadan in particular, most of the major roads that were abandoned by the previous administrations, we have completed those that we know are critical to our economy. Roads like Idi-Ape to Akobo and then the General Gas flyover. People may also have forgotten that the road from Oke-Ado up to Iwo Road interchange was completed by this administration. The Akala way to Odo-Ona Elewe was not touched throughout the eight years of the late Ajimobi and now we have about only about 1.8km to link the road with the road going to Abeokuta. And that road, effectively, is the first circular road in Oyo State. Once you start at Challenge, you go all the way to Orita, take your right, go all the way to the road going to Abeokuta, take your right and then you get to Ring Road junction, take your right again. It is a circle, dualised, apart from the portion from the Ring Road Junction to Owode Junction. But we will dualise that as soon as possible.

If you are coming from Lagos and going to Owode, you don’t need to come to Ring Road anymore. So, we have the small circle and the big circle on the Circular Road itself. Those are major infrastructural projects we have carried out.

We also have the airport where we have put in an aviation fuel storage facility so that aircraft can stay overnight in Ibadan. The road from Gate to Onipepeye Bridge to Adegbayi is also being fixed. Massive work is ongoing at the underpass at Onipepeye  right now. To attract people to our airport from Osogbo and Iwo we have, with Osun State, flagged off the road from Iwo Road all the way to Iwo to Osogbo. That of Ajia to Airport, to Amuloko is also being fixed right now.

We also have the bus terminals at Challenge and Ojoo, which have been completed. The one at Iwo road, we just finalised with the contractor because inflation caught up with the project. But we have given him additional money to enable him to complete the project.  Ibadan being a major transportation hub, it is no-brainer that we have to do those things we have promised.

What is the economic philosophy behind the project you are putting up on the Circular Road towards Ile-Ife?

Ibadan has grown uncontrollably as a sprawling city. If you ask people how they planned most areas, you won’t get any satisfactory answer. So, we said, well, let us create a first world environment here as well. We did the acquisition of the 110km circle, which is half a kilometre on the right and half on the left. If you have 1km by 110 square km of a circular road, dual carriage, that is not stopping anywhere, with that massive and well-planned amount of land around it, in 20 years, it will be the new Ibadan. That is what the people will be seeing. There will be estates left and right, industries left and right. There will be plantations and all sorts. It will be well planned and that is just the keyword. It can be likened to what you see anywhere in the world. It will be like the N1 in South Africa going from Johannesburg to Pretoria or similar to London Orbital. So, we think we can achieve it.

The last leg is security. When we came in, Operation Burst could hardly boast of functional vehicles, as they were underfunded. Not only did we revive that, we also created our own local outfit, Amotekun Corps and we are funding them adequately. Three days ago, the additional 500 personnel we approved for them are now being deployed after they have completed their training.

I had a security council meeting today and, all over the country, they acknowledged that Oyo State has been relatively peaceful. Those elements committing crime at Onigaari, truth is they have been arrested. Our state has become a bad business for criminals. People travelling from Lagos to Ibadan have been telling us that, as soon as they get into Ibadan, they always see the difference because they see patrol vehicles, the police, Amotekun and the rest, and they have confidence in what we are doing.

So, security-wise, all these investments coming into Oyo State were made possible because we have put in the necessary investment in creating a safe and secure environment for our people. This is happening in the face of challenges in the wider scheme of the country in general.

Another thing that came out of the Security Council meeting was the commendation for the injection of about N13bn of salaries and wages into the economy of the state every four weeks, which is not concentrated in a particular zone. We have teachers, workers all over the state. For instance, when you go to Igboho or Igbeti, you have civil servants in there, nurses and others who go to the local markets to patronise them. In fact, artisans give government workers credit facility because they know that they cannot give excuses of not collecting salary on the 25th of every month. So, that has also helped us to keep crime down in the state.

Usually, this festivity period, you would have been hearing about all sorts of crime and robberies going on. We did analysis here today and observed criminal activities have gone down considerably this period. This is also an electioneering period; people are just relaxed and going about their daily activities. We have been campaigning and everyone has been conducting themselves very well. So, all of these have happened under our watch.

Your Ogun State colleague once talked about how the two states would deploy drones for surveillance and monitoring on Lagos/Ibadan Expressway. Can you shed more light on that?

Well, we got some drones temporarily but we are making arrangements for drones to be procured by Oyo State. Frankly, sometimes it is difficult to have that synergy between two states, but for us, we have tried to be super-focused on what we want to achieve. So, where things that we are doing can be complimentary to one another, we will reinforce that area.

Right now, they have a patrol from Ogere to the border with Oyo State while we also have from the toll-gate area to the border area, and at every appointed hour, they go and exchange information and move back and forth. So, we are collaborating but we prefer to do more action and less talk.

Your opponents have spoken extensively about your projects, which are parts of the covenant you made with the people. But some of them are saying you are wasting Oyo State’s resources and that they are ready to go into a coalition to defeat you. Are you afraid of a coalition?

The issue is, I like to do things based on logic and data. So, all the projects you have seen us embark upon are products of critical analysis.

The issue of coalition is something that is so easy to talk about, but the reality of what we did in 2019 is the fact that everybody waited until after the first election. There was no coalition for the first election and we said, okay, whoever wins the most seats in the first election; maybe there may be a need to rally behind that party. And we did the first election against a sitting governor;  with no single councillor at the local level, no local government chairperson, nothing at the state, no single commissioner and nothing at the federal level, no Minister, yet, we defeated the sitting governor and won one senatorial seat. Actually, we believe we won two seats because BisiIlaka’s senatorial district, we believe we won. The only place we knew we lost fair and the square was the Oyo North senatorial district, because we told the candidate at that time that she was not doing enough to reach out to the people. And we knew she could not have performed any magic. The difference in the first and second election in Oyo North was so obvious. Out of the 10 LGs in OkeOgun, we won only one. In the second election, we lost only one out of 10.

So, if they are talking about coalition, let them wait until the first election and they can go with whoever wins the most seats. That is one. But I am sure that whatever coalition they are planning is going to support the PDP.

Second, we came out with our roadmap for accelerated development from 2019 to 2023 and the document was out there, which was a pact with the people of Oyo State. Our true coalition was with the people of Oyo State. So, they should bring out what they want to do and document it. Let the people hold them by whatever they are willing to do, as it is not just enough to say that the Moniya-Iseyin Road we fixed should have been dualised. What is the logic and data? How many vehicles are plying the road at this time? Yes, the economic activities within the axis may grow to a point where you have to dualise it, but at this time, if you go on that road, you won’t see any need for dualisation. And we even altered the structure of that road around Aba Serafu, which used to be an L-shape curve that used to cause accidents. But we cut it off and you won’t even know when you get there anymore. So, we did all of those things to ensure a smooth drive on that road.

You can imagine somebody saying  he would turn the bus terminal we did to hospitals and the other one said he would turn them to libraries. They are jokers pretending to be talking to the people of Oyo State. They should stop criticisingMakinde, because when we were campaigning in 2019, we were deliberate on what we were going to do. We said the N3,000 for a session is about N1.4bn, and we said we would look for that money to put into the school grant system, and that will encourage out-of-school children to return to school. So, those were deliberate policies. I said we would get the Asphalt plant at Ijaiye back and running again and we concessioned it. People are buying bitumen and stone base there now. Some people are working there too.

We said we would link our zones. Between Iseyin and Ogbomoso, the road was not in existence before and it was our creation. We said we would develop estates through land swap deals and public-private partnership.

The first household at Lere Adigun GRA is planning to move in there on the 25th of December, that is today. It was not in existence before. The Senator RashidiLadoja GRA was not also in existence. Our industries all went down because of high cost of diesel and were not competitive. We said we would bring gas to them, and now, Shell, Nigerian Gas is out there. We have done the groundbreaking and work is progressing now.

I was at Oluyole two days ago and I inspected the bridge they said was done by Adold Engineering Ltd but it has given way. However, we are fixing it.

The Saki township road was awarded to the same company in 2016 and they did not complete it. We re-awarded it after we came in and the records are there. We saved over N1.5bn from their initial cost on that road project and that was the same thing with the Akobo/General Gas Bridge.

Even in sports, we have been able to achieve a greater youth employment, and engagement and we have really done very well. At a point when we were battling the COVID-19 pandemic, things were not moving as they should but Senator Folarin was there on radio saying we should lock down the state. If you had elected him, that was what he would have done. Some states are still trying to recover from the economic ruin of that lockdown. So, talk is cheap. We are running on what we have been able to achieve for the people. We are not in any way bothered with their planned coalition because we have been able to cement a solid coalition with the people of Oyo State.

But how do you want to bring back your party members who fell out with you during the course of your first term in office, with some of them making insinuations that you did not take care of the party people?

If you look at the document, I promised the people of Oyo State that I would manage their resources in such a way that they will be to the benefit of the residents and citizens. Gone are the days when you want to take government money without giving back the value to them. We have created opportunities for party members. Are they not the ones running the local government areas? The 351 councilors, the Special Assistants, and the commissioners, the majority of them are party people. So, if certain individuals are used to getting government money without adding any value, unfortunately, this is not the era in Oyo State. If they have value to add, they will soon get something from the government.

Your re-election materials have been carrying the theme Omituntun 2.0, what was the inspiration for that and what is it all about?                      

Right now, the world is having an energy shift; moving from fossil fuel to renewable energy. At some point, this issue of sharing oil money in Abuja will cease and I know it will happen in our own lifetime. Yes. So, for us, the idea is to start looking inwards and to develop an economy that is sustainable. That is what Omituntun 2.0 is about, sustainable development.

During this first tenure, we listed the four major pillars and we have been able to achieve certain things under that scope. Now, Omituntun 2.0, which is our roadmap for sustainable development between 2023 -2027 and beyond, we have to sustain this and this energy transmission is a major part of it. It is quite major. So, we are looking at the four major pillars as well as we continue to focus on education. We need to consolidate on some of the things we have achieved. We need to pay more attention to primary and secondary schools. Yes, we have recruited some teachers for secondary schools and we have to recruit some for primary schools.

In terms of education infrastructure, we have renovated almost 70 schools with 700 classrooms. We have to continue doing that because, from our own assessment, we require an investment of at least N46-N60bn to actually bring our classrooms and schools to standard. All these SUBEB, UBEC, how much are we spending every year? It is between N2bn and N4bn. We are talking about more than ten years to even get to scratch. So, we have to find different means to fund and achieve that.

As for healthcare, we are doing very well on the path to having the facilities covered but we have the secondary and the tertiary. With the French concessionary facility, which is about 55 million Euro that was given to us, we have selected some secondary health care facilities including Ring road, Oyo General hospital, Iseyin General hospital, the one at Ibarapa and Ogbomoso. Those facilities will be renovated. And at the tertiary level, the LAUTECH teaching hospital will have to be upgraded as well, to serve everyone in the state.

But we do have things we are adding. On the expansion of our economy, we focused on infrastructure and agribusiness, but now, we know that the state has the potential to go into solid minerals development. At the Security Council meeting today, we were told by NSCDC officials that they arrested a trailer with 25 tonnes of lithium. Yes, they are mining lithium, which is the new gold and Oyo State is a major lithium belt. So, we have to add solid minerals development to the mix and also tourism. I said tourism because every weekend, you can hardly get a hotel room in Ibadan. If you go to the hinterland, you will see that we are truly blessed and our environment is quite scenic. We have the suspended lake at Ado Awaye, OkeIyaMapo in Igbeti and the road network is getting better. We also have security out there.

So, we believe under Omituntun 2.0, we should have a world-class resort in Oyo State where people from all over the country will be proud to come and relax and I think we can do it.


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