On Monday, 13th February, 2023, the Governor of Oyo State and governorship standard-bearer of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), His Excellency, ‘Seyi Makinde, will resume his campaign activities to the local governments.
The campaign was suspended by the governor, a little over a week earlier, when the scarcity of fuel and new Naira notes became biting, leaving Nigerians with harrowing experiences.
True to Governor Makinde’s typification by the teeming majority of Nigerians as a friend of the masses and an administrator always ready to take the side of his people or if you may, a populist governor, he immediately announced the suspension of his campaign activities.
In his words: “Unfortunately, I will have no choice than to suspend our campaign…because there are protests in town and there is a lot of hardship with this issue of scarcity of the new Naira notes.
“I promised the people of Oyo State that I will continue to work for them till the last minute of the last day of my tenure. I am working for them and what this means is that if there is hardship and people are protesting, I should not be on the campaign trail. I should go there and look after their interests.”
He equally restated what has become his popular stand on legitimate protests- that peaceful protests are fine and that when things are not going how people want them to go, they have a right to protest. He, however, as he was wont to do as the Chief Security Officer of the state, also warned against violence, condemning the violence that erupted in some parts of Ibadan, the state capital.
The governor had also immediately matched his words with action by deploying the Omituntun Mass Transit Buses to more routes within the Ibadan metropolis to convey residents for free.
Immediately, upon seeing the commendations that trailed the decision of Governor Makinde to suspend campaign activities, several opposition candidates had quickly jumped on the bandwagon, with news flying about that they had also announced suspension of campaigns, even though residents of the state have never seen them campaign anywhere.
Now, on Monday, Sir Makinde (the governor is a Knight of John Wesley), who has become the Field Marshal in the political space of the state ahead of the 2023 governorship election, will return to the field to campaign. Having towered hugely above other contestants, who have proven adept at hiding and lagging behind in campaigning, proving right the insinuation that they do not have any meaningful plan for the state, Governor Makinde will start off from where he paused campaigns, rallying the people of the state to support him and other candidates of the PDP in the February 25 and March 11 elections.
Interestingly, the Field Marshal and captain of good governance in Oyo State will return to a familiar terrain, Iseyin, where his numerous achievements easily speak for him, had he chosen not to utter a word to campaign for another term in office. From the 65 km Moniya-Iseyin Road to the 34 km Oyo-Iseyin Road to the greenfield 76km Iseyin-Fapote-Ogbomoso road, which has attracted the biggest agribusiness investment to the area through the N300 Billion Brent Sugar Plantation and Factory, the Iseyin landscape has changed dramatically since Governor Makinde assumed office.
There is more, the agelong prayers of the people to have a government-owned tertiary institution was answered through Governor Makinde, who established a Faculty of the Ladoke Akintola University of Technology in the historical city, after several administrations had promised and failed the Iseyin people.
On Monday, when Makinde returns to Iseyin, to seek the support of the people for another term in office, his numerous positive achievements in the area will speak louder that any opposition shenanigans can fathom. His reference will be the past as a pointer to the present and the future to campaign with. He will talk about how he has completed/or still constructing roads, which the Accord Party governorship candidate, Bayo Adelabu, described as needless. He will also have a bragging right over the All Progressives Congress (APC), which produced the immediate past government that awarded the Moniya-Iseyin road in 2018, but failed to construct up to two kilometres after wasting at least N2 billion of tax payers’ money. The Governor may choose to remind Iseyin residents how life became unbearable for road users on the Iseyin-Ibadan Road and how their hopes were raised and dashed by successive governors over the promise of a higher institution.
Really, in all the 21 Local Government Areas Governor Makinde has campaigned, he has stood on the solid grounds of his quality service delivery across the four pillars of Education, Health, Security and Economic Expansion, to rally his people for another term of four years. The Governor has made verifiable claims about the development of the areas through the building of infrastructure, improvement of educational infrastructure, the over 250 newly-remodeled and equipped Primary Healthcare Centres out of the promised 351 PHCs in each of the 351 Electoral Wards of the state, improved security and expanded economy.
The Governor has, without equivocation, been able to tell residents of each local government that of the close to N13 Billion that enters the economy of Oyo State on a monthly basis through the prompt payment of salaries and pensions, millions have entered their Councils and have helped to bolster the economy of the state and the purchasing power of thousands of households. In return, the people have continued to testify to how Governor Makinde has, indeed, brought hopes to communities in their domain. They showed him love, chanting “Seyi Leekansi” and trooping out to welcome and bid him goodbye as he entered and left each community, while the Governor shared souvenirs [by himself!].
As a testament to this fact, the Governor has also continued to be recognised and rewarded with honours across the Councils. In Ibarapa, he was honoured as Aare Atayese of Ibarapaland by the Olu of Igboora, Oba Jimoh Olajide, in recognition of the massive reforms he has brought to bear on Oyo State. It is instructive to note that the honour meant that Makinde’s developmental efforts in Ibarapa, including the ongoing limited rehabilitation of Igboora-Igangan-Elekookan-Iganna Road, the ongoing rehabilitation of Eruwa-Lanlate-Maya Road and the flag-off of the Ido-Eruwa Road as well as several health and education projects, are not unappreciated by the people of Ibarapaland.
Weeks earlier, the Oloje of Oje Owode, Oba Abdulrasheed Olagbemiro had conferred on Makinde the title of Aare Amulutoro, speaking to the peace, security and order that Oyo State has experienced in the last 44 months.
Though these two chieftaincy titles in Oje Owode and Igboora came a year after the Okere of Saki, Oba Khalid Olabisi, installed the Governor as the Atayese of Sakiland, all three bear testaments to the love the Governor has received on the campaign trail, where community after community applaud his good works and urge him on in his bid to consolidate on the achievements of the last four years.
Therefore, as Governor Makinde resumes campaign activities, it is abundantly clear that the stories will be more of the same; even as he will readily share with the people his vision of the upcoming Omituntun 2.0. Residents of the state in the remaining 12 local governments will show love and appreciation to the Engineer of Modern Oyo State for what he has done in their domain, while they will also ask for more as the Governor moves to begin the implementation of his Roadmap for Sustainable Development, the underpinning agenda for his Omituntun 2.0 vision.
Not one to dwell so much in the past, Governor Makinde had made it clear in all communities he campaigned that Omituntun 2.0 is a fairer haven, the consummation of all good things already experienced by the good people of the state. An upgrade of his Roadmap to Accelerated Development, 2019-2023, Governor Makinde will, as he has done in the 21 LGAs visited, convince residents of the state in Iseyin, Itesiwaju, Kajola, Iwajowa, Ido, Oluyole, Ona-Ara, Ibadan North, Ibadan North-East, Ibadan South-East, Ibadan South-West and Ibadan North-West, to espouse Omituntun 2.0. He will explain how the state will move unto sustainable development; that is development that puts the present in a good stead with a solid focus on making the future even better.
Already, Governor Makinde has been given a glimpse into the sustainable development agenda, convincing residents that the infrastructure development ongoing in the state is only a tip of the iceberg. He made it clear that communities and areas abandoned by previous administrations and seemingly cut off from development can heave a sigh of relief. In Egbeda Local Government, the Governor declared that the Erunmu-Egbeda Road will receive attention. In Irepo/Olorunsogo/Oorelope Federal Constituencies, he gave the good news that the three communities would be linked to Saki in order to create an economic hub in Oke Ogun II, as the ongoing Saki-Ogbooro-Igboho Road will be completed and extended to link Kishi and Igbeti.
On the economic expansion front, the governor made his administration’s readiness to move on to expanding the economy of Oyo State through solid mineral development quite clear. He provided further insights in his policy document, Roadmap for Sustainable Development, 2023-2027, stating that when he is re-elected, he would, among other things, sponsor regulation around the solid minerals sector in the state, build infrastructure around the existing solid mineral interests and attract investments into the solid mineral sector.
So, when you see my Principal, His Excellency, ‘Seyi Makinde, FNSE pass by in your locality in the coming days and weeks prior to the March 11 governorship election, please remember the 2010 hit song by award-winning hiphop sensation, Wizkid, ‘Holla at your boy,” by coming out to show love and support Sir Makinde, the Marshal, who despite his busy schedules in governance, is bestriding the political field, asking you for votes, while other Governorship Candidates take the people for granted. And, on March 11, my only request would be kindly “holla at your boy” by voting for the PDP.
Alao is Special Assistant (Print Media) to Governor ‘Seyi Makinde.