One thing that even the strongest opponents of Governor Seyi Makinde acknowledge is that he has performed as governor. They may vary in how they rate him, but they can point to projects he has completed, which they envy. For example, Chief Bayo Adelabu, gubernatorial candidate of the Accord Party, scored Governor Makinde 70% for the Moniya-Ijaiye-Iseyin Road.
For a fact, Governor Seyi Makinde has raised the bar on governance in Oyo State. One remarkable way he has done this is by deviating from the usual practice of abandoning projects started by one’s predecessor. Roads such as the 12km Bembo-New Garage-Apata Road (aka Akala Express Way), the 9.7km Saki Township Road, the 7.2km Idi-Ape-Basorun-Akobo-Odogbo Baracks Road, the 65km Moniya-Ijaiye-Iseyin Road, the 65m General Gas Flyover and even the 110km Ibadan Circular Road were all started or abandoned by his predecessors. Still, he chose to complete them because, in his words, the people of Oyo State must benefit from all infrastructure projects that the state has at any time invested in.
In the same way, facilities that were left moribund or abandoned, some for upwards of 30 years, have been rehabilitated and put to use for the benefit of the Oyo State economy. One of these projects is Pacesetter Quarry and Asphalt Plant, Ijaiye, conceived by Governor Rashidi Ladoja and abandoned by all his predecessors until Governor Makinde came into office, completed the project, and the people of Oyo State are currently benefiting from its use. As Governor Makinde has confirmed, asphalt from this plant is being used in road construction in Oyo State.
Another moribund facility that has been rehabilitated is the Oyo State-IITA Youth Agribusiness Incubation Park Centre. This 210-hectare facility which used to be the Rural Community Development Centre (RCDC), Awe lay moribund. Today, it has been transformed into a training centre for youths in agribusiness. Oyo State has collaborated with various development agencies at this facility. As of the last count, 20 of the 117 beneficiaries of these programmes have gone ahead to establish their agribusiness enterprises, leading to the creation of 700 direct and indirect jobs.
We can also point to rehabilitating the Oyo State Agricultural Development Programme (OYSADEP) Headquarters, now the Oyo State Agribusiness Development Agency (OYSADA) Headquarters at Saki. This is not a headquarters in name only, as most OYSADA staff work out of this facility. This has brought development to Saki West Local Government Area.
Another facility undergoing rehabilitation is the Fasola Agribusiness Industrial Hub. This is one of the nine moribund farm settlements of over 1,100 hectares. This massive facility, over 80% completed, hosts residences, farms, processing centres, and other agribusiness facilities, putting Oyo State on the map as the agribusiness destination of Nigeria. The work in that facility has attracted 15 agro-industries, including Friesland Campina, which will be hosting a calf breeding and livestock pasture development hub there.
Of course, these are not the only moribund facilities that have been rehabilitated. We have Rontol Foods, presently occupying rehabilitated facilities at the Ilora Farm Settlement. This is one example of a private-sector-led-public-sector-facilitated project ensuring the use of Oyo State once moribund facilities. Another is the Equipment Fabrication Centre at Apata, which is now being rehabilitated by Niji Group. It is important to note that Niji relocated from Lagos State to work in Oyo State.
Last but certainly not least is the upgraded Lekan Salami Sports Complex, Adamasingba. This FIFA-accredited world-class main bowl has returned international football to Ibadan after almost three decades. While the Shooting Stars Sports Club (3SC) in Ibadan now have a home stadium to play in.
Let us not forget that Governor Seyi Makinde completed all these in less than four years, with over 11 months lost to the COVID-19 pandemic and the State FAAC at record lows. Is it any wonder that many have said Governor Seyi Makinde is the best Oyo State has had since 1999? Anyone with a counter-argument should come forward with the data. Governor Seyi Makinde has set new standards of governance in Oyo State.
Olamide Olorundare is the Special Assistant New Media to Governor Seyi Makinde.