I am throwing an open challenge to Governor Seyi Makinde’s attackers, inside and outside Oyo State. Without trying to muddle up the waters with propaganda, falsehoods and outright lies, tell us what exactly Governor Makinde has done wrong? Why should we postulate about him losing the next elections before he completes two years in office?
Data shows that in February 2021, the global online search for Governor Seyi Makinde increased. The increase may be partly attributed to the various incidents in the state or to his activities in the past 22 months that have been yielding results. People don’t care about or talk about people who are not making an impact in their lives. A look at the online activity, however, shows that Seyi Makinde’s attackers are on overdrive. Unfortunately, data after data released by the Nigerian government show that the past 22 months have not been “audio” as they want us to believe.
Just recently, new damning data on inflation was released. Kogi (3.34%), Ondo (3.33%), and Ebonyi (3.26%) States topped the chart of the states that recorded the highest food inflation month on month in Nigeria. Oyo State trailed behind as the lowest in Nigeria with 0.09%. For those struggling to understand this data, the increase in food items such as bread, cereal, potatoes, yams, fruits, and vegetables, in Oyo State was not even up to 1%. People living in Oyo State do not have to pay so much more for food, while others in the same country struggle with much higher prices month on month.
While the attackers were still grappling with that, their mission took another hit. The external debt profile of Nigerian states over the past 16 years was released. The profile showed that contrary to what they have been touting, Governor Makinde is not plunging Oyo State into debt. In fact, the debt growth in 15 years has been -26%. And looking at the figures, Governor Makinde has reduced the external debt of Oyo State.
My question to Governor Seyi Makinde’s attackers is this – should we be thinking of his replacement in 2023 because he is constantly looking for ways to improve the economy in Oyo State? Is it for his collaborations with the private sector, such as the most recent collaboration with Awa Bike, a bike-sharing service seeking more business in Oyo State? Or his continuous partnerships with development partners, such as the massive work being done with the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) for agribusiness in the state? The rehabilitation of the Agbowo Shopping Complex, Ibadan, which has been abandoned for decades?
Is he to be removed because he has turned Oyo State into a huge construction site? Is it because he is simultaneously carrying out construction works all over the state? For what is he being maligned? The reconstruction of the 65 km Moniya-Ijaiye-Iseyin road? The reconstruction of the 45.3 km Saki-Ogbooro-Igboho road? The reconstruction of the 21 km Airport-Ajia-New Ife Express Road with a spur to Amuloko? The reconstruction of the 12 km Apete-Awotan-Akufo Road? The rehabilitation of 5.2km Gedu-Oroki-Sabo-Asipa road etc.?
Should we remove him because he is building/upgrading stadia in all the six geopolitical zones in the state? Who can claim they have not seen the ongoing upgrade of the Lekan Salami Sports Complex in Adamasingba? The Olubadan Mini Stadium, Ibadan? The mini stadiums in Igbo-Ora, Oyo and Ogbomoso? Or the Saki Township Mini Stadium, Saki?
Is the problem the construction of the four bus terminals at Challenge, Ojoo, Iwo Road and New Ife Road?
Are Governor Seyi Makinde’s attackers tearing their hairs out and ganging up towards 2023 because he rebuilt phase one of the Akesan Market, Oyo razed down by an inferno and is now completing phase two of the project? Could it be for the reconstruction and upgrading of Awotan Dumpsite? Or the return of moribund industries such as the Pacesetter Quarry and Asphalt Plant, Ijaiye, to working condition? Maybe they should visit and see some of the other projects Governor Seyi Makinde has embarked on.
Of course, no one expects everyone to be happy about the things that Governor Makinde’s administration is doing. Even His Excellency admits that his administration is not perfect. His attackers should be telling us what they will do different, not lie about what he has done. As someone rightly put it, “opposition should be issue-based.” Well-meaning members of society were rightly alarmed about the stories of insecurity emerging from Oyo State. But Governor Makinde has swung into action and shown that he is here for the long term.
Since the Ibarapa and Sasa incidents, he has inaugurated a State Security Task Force that holds weekly meetings. He has ramped up on intelligence gathering by involving the traditional rulers and other non-state actors in local policing. Amotekun is still running at full force. We are assured that in the next few months, the results of these actions will come to light. Meanwhile, even the Deputy Inspector General of Police admitted that talks of overall insecurity in Oyo State were sometimes exaggerated. Statistics show that Oyo State’s crime rates have dropped since Governor Makinde came into office.
Indeed, Governor Makinde has shown Nigerians what coming into office with a clearly defined plan and a will to implement that plan means. He is showing what empathetic leadership entails and raising the bar on governance. Anyone who plans to take over from him in 2023 must prove that they are a great choice. Interestingly, His Excellency has not said anything about wishing to run for a second term in office. Should he make that declaration in the nearest future, the people of Oyo State have evidence to make the best judgement.